Constrain The Power

Constrain The Power

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“Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism…Animal Farm was the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole,” George Orwell, [1984]. The criticisms and protests Orwell has against the dictatorship of Napoleon, a pig who tricked his animal society into believing equality was the greater evil, are vibrantly shown throughout the novel. The change of life citizens endured during their stay on Animal Farm enlightens its readers with the true purpose of the book.

“George Orwell’s whole life was spent in preparation of Animal Farm, and the text itself bears the dates November, 1943-February, 1944,” The Times Literary Supplement. In November of 1943 the United States controlled the first nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago. The Manhattan project was a success, and the country held the power to decimate any opposing power. However, with this achievement erupted much controversy. Was the use of atomic bombs humane and reasonable to end conflicts? Englishman, George Orwell, opposed any practice related to these weapons. Through his brilliant satire, Animal Farm, Orwell depicted a frightening view of the future. Even those deemed as national heroes were corrupt. It was uncertain at the time if overthrowing the government would ever change current society.

In essence, the United States is not run under totalitarian views. We are a democracy, a society where the people’s choice presides over that of one person. However, in smaller countries this could be overthrown very swiftly. In the book Animal Farm, two major leaders, Snowball and Napoleon, begin their journey to a successful society when Napoleon turns on Snowball. He sends his bodyguards, (portrayed as vicious dogs) after Snowball in hope to drive him off the farm. Once this was accomplished, he began to manipulate the minds of the animals on the farm into believing that Snowball was actually their enemy from the beginning. “Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL! he suddenly roared in a voice of thunder. Snowball has done this thing! In sheer malignity, thinking to set back our plans and avenge himself for his ignominious expulsion, this traitor has crept here under cover of night and destroyed our work of nearly a year. Comrades, here and now I pronounce the death sentence upon Snowball,” Animal Farm, pg.

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72. By doing this, Napoleon furthered his scheme of bringing the farm back into a dictatorship. The only thing left was to swindle the neighboring farms into a friendship.

Throughout the novel Orwell foreshadows the lack of camaraderie between the important animals, and those he blatantly describes as ‘stupid’. In the beginning, however, Snowball’s dire effort to preserve the rebellion attempted to prove otherwise. “And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?” asked Mollie. “Comrade,” said Snowball, “those ribbons that you are so devoted to are the badge of slavery. Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than ribbons?” Animal Farm, pg. 27. As the story progressed and Napoleon seized control, the views of the animal citizens changed. No longer were they referred to as ‘comrades’ of the farm, but the animals were also deceived into believing some of the practices human beings performed, were now acceptable among their society. “A few days later Muriel, reading over the Seven Commandments to herself, noticed that there was yet another of them which the animals had remembered wrong. They had thought the Fifth Commandment was “No animal shall drink alcohol,” but there were two words that they had forgotten. Actually the Commandment read: “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess,” Animal Farm, pg. 103.

Animal Farm is a “devastating attack on the pig-headed, gluttonous and avaricious rulers in an imaginary totalitarian state, it illuminates the range of human experience from love to hate, from comedy to tradegy,” the New York Times. Which of these political strategies has endured over the years? The characters in the book answer this question in the last few excerpts. “Today [Mr. Pilkington] and his friends had visited Animal Farm and inspected every inch of it with their own eyes, and what did they find? Not only the most up-to-date methods, but a discipline and orderliness which should be an example to all farmers everywhere. He believed that he was right in saying that the lower animals on Animal Farm did more work and received less food than any animals in the country,” Animal Farm, pg. 125.

While life following a dictator might have proved to be successful and reasonable for a short amount of time, after the actual conditions are understood by its inhabitants, it is almost impossible for it to prosper. The lack of voice and resources Napoleon provided for the other animals was simply leading to another rebellion. Power through the people is the only successful way for a society to prosper, as the people are the only ones who can complete the grudge work for the community to succeed.
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