LITERARY ESSAY : Animal Farm – George Orwell
TOPIC : Animal Farm does not represent a very optimistic view of human life. Typical weaknesses and faults (displayed by the animals) are emphasized. Discuss exactly how George Orwell achieves this end.
Animal Farm is a satire of totalitarian governments in their many guises, however this book was composed for a more specific purpose: to serve as a cautionary tale about Stalinism. The allegorical characters of the novel represent specific historical figures and different factions of Imperial Russian and Soviet society. These include Karl Marx (Old Major), Vladimir Lenin (Old Major), Leon Trotsky (Snowball), Joseph Stalin (Napoleon), Adolf Hitler (Frederick), the Allies (Pilkington), the peasants (Boxer and Clover), the elite (Molly) and the church (Moses). From the very beginning of the novel we become aware of the role of education in stratifying Animal Farm’s population. Following Old Major’s death, the pigs, who represent the Bolsheviks, are the ones that take on the task of organising and mobilising the other animals because they are ‘generally recognised as being the cleverest of the animals’. At first, the pigs are loyal to their fellow animals and the revolutionary cause. However, it is not long before the intelligence and education of the pigs turn from tools of enlightenment to implements of oppression. The moment the pigs are faced with something material that they want, they abandon their morals and use their superior intellect and knowledge to deceive the other animals. The intelligence and education of the pigs allow them to bring the other animals into submission through the use of propaganda and revisionism. Squealer represents Stalin’s propaganda agency, ‘Pravda’. Eloquent to a fault, he can make the animals believe almost anything. This fact is especially clear in Squealer’s interactions with Clover and Muriel. Each time Clover suspects that the Seven Commandments have been changed; Squealer...
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