Analysis Of Animal Farm By George Orwell And Klee Wyck

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Knowledge of the past is integral to both one’s understanding of the present and one’s progression into the future. In their respective novels, Animal Farm and Klee Wyck, George Orwell and Emily Carr examine the means by which history is both written and re-written by those in positions of racial and class based privilege. Within these texts, figures of power use language and education to manipulate and erase the past. More specifically, the cultural appropriation and deliberate silencing of Native history as a means of integrating Indigenous people into “civilized” (Carr 113) society in Klee Wyck parallels the reconstruction of memories to suppress defiance in Animal Farm. By speaking to the problematic effects that arise when the past is…show more content…
In the beginning of the text, “all animals are equal” (Orwell 6) and are united under the common goal of freeing themselves from “the tyranny of human beings” (5). However, life on the farm progresses in a manner contradictory to this initial belief, and ultimately does not benefit the masses. Rather, it is driven exclusively by and for the privileged elite, “the cleverest of animals” (9): the pigs. Napoleon and his supporters are able to impose their authority upon the “lower animals” (92) by using language to create “the seven commandments” (15), and consequently re-creating them when they see fit. For example, it was declared in the Commandments that “no animal shall kill any other animal” (61). Yet, when the very pigs that created the law break it, it is re-written such that “no animal shall kill any other animal without cause” (61). These subtle manipulations take place consistently throughout the story, until all previous laws are eradicated and replaced with one overarching commandment: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” (90). Here Orwell highlights the fact that by re-writing the past, those in power are able to directly control the future. By monopolizing language, they monopolize progress. Without “the words to express” (59) their opposition, the animals lack agency and are effectively silenced, forced to accept what is written “on the…show more content…
A primary example of this is when they abolish the singing of “Beasts of England” (59), a song that was initially a symbol of the Rebellion. However, once the pigs established their own system of government, the song had served its “purpose” (59), and was now perceived as an act of defiance. Removing the song from popular culture can thus be seen as an attempt to censor the thoughts of the masses, quashing any aspect of the past that could challenge the elite’s dominance in the future. The physical removal of history ultimately results in an internal reconstruction of the animals’ own memories, such that in the end “a time came when there was no one who remembered the old days before the Rebellion.” (85). With this, Orwell speaks to the dangers that arise when those with absolute power, erase history, as doing so allows them to effectively create a population whose minds they control. Devoid of any knowledge of the past that is not fabricated by the regime that oppresses them, the animals hold nothing that “they [can] compare their present lives” (87) to. In the end they ultimately have no choice but to adopt a way of thinking that is not their

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