George Orwell's Attack of Social Institutions in Animal Farm Essay

George Orwell's Attack of Social Institutions in Animal Farm Essay

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George Orwell's Attack of Social Institutions in Animal Farm

'Animal Farm' is a novel from the 1950's. It was written as a reaction
to the major social and political changes occurring in Europe and
throughout the world in the first half of the twentieth century. The
greatest of these was communism, which was a revolutionary brand of
socialism that had taken hold in Russia. Orwell agreed with the
principles of Communism, which promoted equality and the removal of
social classes. However, he recognised that it would not work in
practice, as it had not in Russia under Stalin, because of human

The novel details the history of Communism in Russia, from the
revolution to the height of Stalin's regime, through a parallel
fiction about a farm where the animals rise up and take over. Through
this allegory, Orwell can criticise several social institutions that
are relevant to most societies. He comments on the nature of
leadership, hierarchies of social class and methods of controlling the
people. Characters in the novel become symbolic, representing many
ideas and figures from history.

Orwell is critical of all types of leadership in the novel. Farmer
Jones owns the farm before the revolution. He is weak and a drunkard
who lets the farm deteriorate and neglects the animals in his charge.
They are not fed properly and in the first paragraph of the novel we
learn he is too drunk to lock up the poultry for the night hence
putting their lives in danger.


The farm before the revolution is symbolic of a state that is governed
autocratically, or by a monarch. Such leaders achieve their position
by inheritance rather...

... middle of paper ...

...ame as the humans at the end. However, All these things come to pass
because the animals are passive and allow themselves to be manipulated
by Squealer and Napoleon. They never challenge what they are told and
when they do and are severely punished they never rise up against
their new oppressor. Orwell is showing that the workers never actually
recognise their collective strength and use it. The animals need to be
led. Consequently they are at the mercy of whoever is strong enough to
dominate and govern.

This is probably the most pessimistic message of the novel and the
most troubling for the reader. Can we ever control our own lives or is
human nature too flawed to allow utopia to exist? Orwell seems to be
suggesting that we have to accept this situation as history has shown
we make the same mistakes time and again.

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