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Animal Farm as a Fable

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Everyone has encountered Aesop's fables at some point in their life. Aesop is the most renowned author of fables; a fable can be any “short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters” (“Fable”). For example, Animal Farm by George Orwell can be considered a fable. In this novel, the animals on Manor Farm rebel against their oppressive dictator, Mr. Jones, forming Animal Farm. However, after the rebellion, the animals allow the pigs to take over, who become the oppressive dictators who abuse the animals; Animal Farm has come full circle. It is rather obvious that the characters and events in Animal Farm are parallels to the rise and revolution of Communism in Russia. But why would Orwell write a fable instead of a political novel? One reason is prominent among many. By writing a fable, Orwell is able to incorporate traditional morals from well-known fables into his novel, Animal Farm; The morals from “The Ass and the Old Shepherd,” “The Hawk, the Kite, and the Pigeons,” and “The Lion’s Share.”

Orwell uses the universal moral from “The Ass and the Old Shepherd” to defend a similar moral on government. In Animal Farm, the story opens on Manor Farm, which is run by the oppressive Mr. Jones. The animals are “born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty” (Orwell 28). The animals rebel and form their own farm: Animal Farm. They drive Jones out, and allow those of a higher intellect (the pigs) to take over. One dissolute pig named Napoleon now has absolute power over the farm, an...

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...“The Hawk”), and “You may share the labors of the great, but you will not share the spoils”(“The Lion's”). These morals can also be found in famous fables by authors like Aesop or La Fontaine, which proves their validity. If the same moral can be applied in two different situations, (the fables and the novel) it is more likely to impact other situations outside of literature, in the lives of the readers. This is why Orwell decided to use a fable; he wanted to be able to include the morals that could affect real people. He wanted to warn lower classes everywhere of these important points in a novel that a plebeian might actually read. By writing a fable, Orwell is able to support the morals in his novel by incorporating traditional morals; “Mr. Orwell has worked out his theme with a simplicity, a wit, and a dryness that are closer to La Fontaine and Gay” (Wilson 51).
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