Animal Farm by George Orwell is about a group of animals on Manor Farm. This book tells how the animals form a system of government, Animalism. Animals try to form a government where everyone is dependent upon everyone else. The book conveys the message that no matter how equal the people are suppose to be, there will always be people who corrupt the system to gain advantage over others.
The novel, Animal Farm by George Orwell, takes place on the Manor Farm, which is owned and operated by Mr. Jones. One night the white boar, Old Major, tells all the other farm animals about his dream. He realized that the unhappiness of their daily lives is all due to the cruelty of human beings, and that if they did not have to work for the humans their lives will become easy and comfortable.
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After Old Major dies, the pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, start teaching his ideas which they called, Animalism, to the other animals. A few months later, Mr. Jones gets drunk and forgets to feed the animals, who become so hungry that they rebel and drive the human beings off the farm. They rename the farm ‘Animal Farm’ and write the Seven Commandments of Animalism up on the wall of the barn. Jones comes back with a group of armed men and tries to take the farm back, but the animals, led by Snowball, defeat the men.
Snowball and Napoleon argue over every plan for the future of the farm, and never agree, especially over a windmill which Snowball wants to build to provide the farm with electric power, and which Napoleon laughs at. Napoleon calls in nine dogs that he has specially trained and they chase Snowball off the farm. Squealer, the very persuasive pig who passes on the most of Napoleon’s decisions to the other animals, tells them that Snowball was a traitor who was working with Jones, and that the windmill was really Napoleon’s idea.
The animals work hard, work on the windmill is slow and they rely heavily on Boxer the cart-horse, who is very strong and hard-working. Napoleon begins trading with nearby farms, and the pigs move into the farmhouse and sleep in the beds there, even though sleeping in beds like humans was forbidden by the original principles of Animalism.
The winter is difficult, the animals have little food. Napoleon and Squealer blame Snowball for everything that goes wrong on the farm, from bad crops to blocked drains. Then Napoleon’s dogs attack four pigs, who then confess to plotting with Snowball and start a series of confessions of various ‘crimes’ from other animals – all of those who confess are slaughtered by the dogs, leaving the survivors shaken and miserable.
The windmill is finally completed and to get money to buy the machinery for it, Napoleon decides to sell a pile of timber, after insecurity between the two neighbouring farmers Pilkington and Frederick; he sells it to Frederick only to discover that he has been paid with worthless forged banknotes. Frederick and his men then come on to the farm and blow the windmill to pieces with explosives, although the animals manage to drive them off the farm again after a bloody battle. A few days later the pigs find a case of whisky in the farmhouse cellar and get drunk. Boxer is injured while working on repairs to the windmill, and Benjamin notices that the van Napoleon calls to send him to the vet, has ‘Horse Slaughterer’ painted on the side. After Boxer has ‘died in hospital’ under care of the vet, the pigs mysteriously find money to buy another case of whiskey.
After many years, life is just as hard as it ever was. The pigs start walking on two legs. None of the old Commandments are left on the barn wall. A group of human farmers come to see the farm, they quarrel with the pigs over a game of cards, and the animals discover they can no longer tell which is human and which one is pig.
Mr. Jones who was the farmer and the owner of Manor Farm is similar to Czar Nicholas II who was the leader of Russia during the revolution. Czar Nicholas II and Mr. Jones are both poor leaders and irresponsible when it comes to their duties. Mr. Jones was cruel, who left the animals with small rations of food. After Mr. Jones irresponsibly forgets to feed the animals, he comes out and whips them for opening the store-shed which stored the animals’ food. Czar Nicholas II is also cruel to his people. When a Czar of Russia was to be coroneted it was a custom that free gifts were to be given out. But rumours started that there was not going to be enough for everyone, which caused the crowds to get out of control. Some were hurt and some were killed. But when Nicholas II was going to do something for the people killed in that riot, he easily changed his mind to go to a party to celebrate his coronation. When Mr. Jones was still at the farm things were going better. The animals had to do less work and had more privileges than when the pigs were taking over the farm. A similarity with Czar Nicholas II was when power went to the Bolsheviks. There was a food shortage when a revolt broke out on the Bolshevik government.
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Napoleon’s characteristics and actions were related to Joseph Stalin. Often, both Stalin and Napoleon got what they wanted to achieve. Also, after the revolution happened, Stalin got rid of Trotsky, his main opponent. Like Stalin, Napoleon ran his opponent Snowball off the farm. Stalin then removed any other opponents and adopted some of their ideas. Likewise, in Animal Farm Napoleon made sure no other animals would dispute him, and he took credit for Snowball’s idea of building the windmill. Because Stalin and Napoleon both wanted their nations to be great, they made plans to make their territory better. While Stalin tried to industrialize the Soviet Union, Napoleon made plans to build the windmill to provide electricity. Both also tried to get as much work as they could from their workers. Stalin used collectivization to make the farms more profitable, but this process caused a huge food shortage. In Animal Farm Napoleon had the animals work long hours and reduced their food. Furthermore, these leaders killed any possible enemies and frightened their workers so they would not stand up against them. Right before World War II, Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Germany and trusted Hitler to honour the terms. However, Stalin was deceived, and Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, in Animal Farm Napoleon also trusted someone he should not have. Napoleon sold timber to Mr. Frederick, who deceived him by paying for the wood with false bank notes. Mr. Frederick and other farmers then tried to overrun Animal Farm, but they did not succeed.
Snowball represents an early figure in communism, Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was influenced by Karl Marx and wanted to improve life of every Russian. Similarly, Snowball was influenced by Old Major and wanted to improve life for all animals. Both of them had excellent speaking abilities. Trotsky’s speaking and writing helped him rise within the Russian government and his political parties. Snowball’s better speaking skills allowed him to gain popularity among many of the animals and to obtain their support. Because they both had power, they were both in charge of organizing their countries’ armies. Trotsky formed the Red Army, which proved to be successful during the Russian Revolution. Likewise, Snowball led the animals when the humans attacked the farm, and the animals defeated their enemies. Unfortunately, the two revolutionists were both chased away because of another clever leader. Because they never returned to their land, they were blamed for all the faults happening.
The Old Major symbolizes Karl Marx. The revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx are the same as the opinions that Old Major has about a revolution in Animal Farm. The speech that Old Major gives in the barn to the other animals is like Marx’s philosophy on a perfect society. As Old Major says, the animals have been living their lives just to help Mr. Jones. This belief is similar to the beliefs of Karl Marx, who believed that a minority of people holding the power was a main flaw of capitalism. Old Major told the animals he envisioned a time when all of the animals could gain the rewards of their labour. Marx also believed that a socialist society, where everyone receives equal amounts of goods, was the best economical philosophy. Also in Animal Farm the animals revolted after Old Major’s death just as the Bolsheviks revolted after Marx’s death. Old Major’s speech influenced the pigs, especially Napoleon, to begin to prepare for a revolution. Marx’s philosophy influenced Lenin and Stalin to begin the Bolshevik Party. The ways which Napoleon uses Old Major’s ideas are similar to the ways Stalin uses Marx’s ideas. Both Napoleon and Stalin distort the philosophies for their own use. The final results of Old Major’s and Marx’s ideas are very extreme instances of what they envisioned to be a perfect society.
Squealer is a very persuasive, short, fat pig. Squealer is in charge of telling the other animals that Napoleon is a great leader and that all of the animals should defend and be proud of him. He assures them that Napoleon will keep Jones away since”there is no one among [then] who wants to see Jones come back” Squealer is the only animal on the farm that can totally twist the truth. He is ordered, by Napoleon, to lie to the other animals. Squealer is very similar to the Russian newspaper, Pravda. They are alike because they lied to keep someone in power. Both Squealer and Pravda distorted the truth to make the citizens feel better about what was happening in their land. Just as Napoleon sent out Squealer to use propaganda to make himself look better, Stalin used Pravda to make himself seem like a better man. The use of propaganda made Stalin and Squealer more powerful and allowed them to do many horrible things that involved the people but the citizens did not know it was going on or why. The people were manipulated and made to think that everything was being done for their own well being, when in fact, it was hurting them.
Animalism taught by Old Major is similar to communism invented by Karl Marx. Animalism was about the equality between all animals. This corresponds with Marx’s vision of the end of class distinction between the owner of capital and the workers. With animalism, animals will no longer work for humans, and all animals will be equal. With communism, workers will no longer work for capitalists, and all workers will be equal. “Nobody stole, nobody grumbled over his rations, the quarrelling and biting and jealousy which had been normal features of life in the old days had almost disappeared.” This quote shows how communism in theory insures equality.
Through the novel, Animal Farm, George Orwell conveys his message using allegory. The themes of power, corruption, and ignorance are used to show the Russian revolution. He uses the pigs to prey upon the remaining ignorant, gullible animals. This shows how the powerful take advantage of the weak. In the novel, the pigs were mean creatures who told lies to achieve their own goals at the expense of the other animals. That shows how societies contain individuals who seize power for their own use, and that not all members of a society are treated equally. From a Marxist point of view, this book relates to Social issues, which was the Russian revolution, as you can see through the symbols.
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