Animal Farm, by George Orwell (Eric Blair), was published in 1945 and is a political satire on Soviet Russia. The author wanted people to think about brutality, injustice and the way to bring about true socialism. The theme of this novel is frustration of human ideals and challenges. The story may be read at various levels; as an attack on Russian dictatorship, interpreted as a warning against the corrupting force of power or as a children’s story. Orwell also points to the errors of valuing intelligence above character.
The satire in this novel takes the form of an animal fable.
Orwell used allegory, when he tells us that the pigs slowly gathered all kinds of rights, he really means that the Communist Party leaders developed into a superior and advantaged sort. The book is full of symbolism. Orwell associates certain real characters with characters of the book. For example, Snowball was very similar to Napoleon in early stages: both Snowball and Napoleon wanted leadership in the “new” economic and political system.
As time goes on both eventually realise that one of them will have to step down. They were always arguing. When differences become bigger Napoleon decides to eliminate Snowball.
Napoleon tells all the animals on the farm that Snowball ruined their windmill, on which they had worked for ages. Snowball is exiled from the farm. Snowball represents Trotsky, the archrival of Stalin (Napoleon in Orwell’s novel). Trotsky was also exiled from Russia to Mexico where he was murdered by the NKVD (the Russian internal police.
) Another important character in Animal Farm is Boxer. Boxer’s name is cleverly used by Orwell as a metaphor on the “Boxer Rebellion” which started communism in Red China in the 20th century, and was much like Stalin’s distorted view of socialism.
Boxer is used to represent the unskilled labour class in Russian society. This class was naturally drawn to Napoleon because it seemed as though they would benefit most from the new system, as they were not accustomed to the “Good Life” and so couldn’t compare Napoleon’s government to their previous life and the rules of Jones (the Czars). As Boxer had great difficulty thinking for himself, once he accepted the pigs as his teacher he did as he was told. Later on Boxer becomes ill. When the pigs know that he is of no more use they let a glue truck come and take him away.
In the novel there are many quotes, below I have listed two of my favourites with explanations. 1) “At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs wearing brass studded collars came bounding. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws. ” These words describe Snowball’s violent removal from Animal Farm, which parallels the split between Stalin and Trotsky. Napoleon, who is clearly losing contests for hearts and minds of lower animals to Snowball, turns to his private police force of dogs to enforce his supremacy. )
“If you have your lower animals to contend with,” he said, “we have our lower classes! ” This, said by farmer Pilkington to Napoleon and his cabinet during a well catered retreat in the farmhouse, makes clear the process of corruption of ideas that has taken place throughout the novel. Pigs and farmers share a need to keep down their labouring Classes. This quote serves to stress the significance of Animal Farm as a social commentary, cementing the abstract link between the downtrodden animals and the working classes of the world. My conclusion is that Animal Farm clearly is a remarkable story.
I think the pigs’ behaviour was totally out of order. The pigs knew they had an advantage over the other animals because they could read and the other animals couldn’t, so, whenever they changed the rules on the end barn wall, none of the others realised because they were too ignorant. The pigs killed and starved animals and deprived them of their rights – but they kept telling them it was for their own good and the animals didn’t argue. In my opinion the book appeals to a more mature audience but still it was nice to read such a well written novel.