Political Satire in Animal Farm


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Political Satire in Animal Farm

 

George Orwell, author of the highly acclaimed Animal Farm, wrote this fable

in hopes of informing not only children, but also the population as a

whole, of his views on the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism in

that nation. The fable, a literary composition conveying a moral truth,

clearly guides the readers through the steps and outcome of the Russian

Revolution. But instead of the battle being fought and won in the streets

of Russia, Orwell chooses to portray the happenings of the Russian

Revolution on a farm based during the beginnings of the Industrial

Revolution. The animals, unhappy with their day-to-day living conditions,

rise and revolt against the tyrant Jones, the cruel and drunkard owner of

the Jones' farm.

 

In Animal Farm, the barn was a place for the meetings that took place, and

alternatively served as a shelter for all of the animals, except for the

pigs. The schoolhouse was a place for the pigs, and rarely other animals,

to learn to read and write and therefore grow in social power over the

other less-intelligent animals that spent their days working in order to

bring in enough food to keep the revolution alive. The farmhouse was where

the Jones family resided, before the revolution that forced them astray.

According to the commandments set forth after the revolution, no animal was

to use the farmhouse for their own personal gain, however, the pigs were

able to distort this rule so that they were able to live in luxury in this

house meant for the humans. Building the windmill proved to be an important

icon and struggle for the animals of Animal Farm, as it was destroyed twice

and never quite brought the gleefulness and comfortable life that the

animals were led to envision before-hand and during the construction by the

sinister pig Napoleon. Each character of Animal Farm represented an

important character or type-of people in the Russian Revolution, a direct

comparison between Animal Farm, and a strong political movement that

shocked the world.

 

Comrade Napoleon, as he insisted the other animals called him, represents

Joseph Stalin, a cruel leader during and after the revolution, who exiled

other political leaders and forced mass-executions upon the people, just as

Napoleon does in Orwell's fable. Snowball, the opposing pig and leader of

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the farm to Napoleon, seemed a strong and just leader, until, Napoleon

expelled him from the farm and set-off rumors about Napoleon's false

attempt to destroy the civilization they had worked to build after the

revolution. Snowball links closely with the Soviet expatriate Leon Trotsky,

who was expelled from Russia under the leadership of Stalin. Major, the

wise pig that passed away days after he unveiled his plan for a new and

better life on the farm, seems to portray traits of both Karl Marx and V.I

Lenin. Marx, because like this political thinker, Major brought about and

created the idea of communism, or 'animalism', the Animal Farm version of

this system of thought. In a way, Major is associated with Lenin of the

Russian Revolution, the opportunist who brought and initiated the communist

way of life on this land when it needed a new system-of-thought to help

it's troubled economy and the way-of-life it's people were forced to live

out every day. Pilkington and Frederick, the human owners of neighboring

farms, represent various world leaders during the time of the revolution,

and the occurrences that happened between them and Russia, or between

Animal Farm and the other farms. Boxer, a strong dedicated horse of Animal

Farm, I believe represented all of the people of Russia. The poverty

stricken, the homeless, who still work hard in order to make the system of

communism or animalism work. Boxer is the representation of the workers who

are pushed around, who are taken for all they are worth, and who are left

for dead.

 

        In the end of the Orwell's tale, Animal Farm is much worse a place for

the common animals then it had been previous to the revolution. The food is

scarce, the leadership is harsh and unruly, the work-load is hard, and the

conditions of life for the common animals had changed for the worse. The

pigs, the leaders of animal farm, celebrate their victory and their

entrance into high-society, as the lowly other animals still left on the

farm look on. This is how history recorded the Russian Revolution, and

Orwell illustrated the political aspects of this in the fable Animal Farm.

 


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