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Animal Farm By George Orwell – A Novella Of Didactic Language And Political Ideology

Animal Farm, a masterpiece novella by George Orwell was written in 1945. It falls under the short story as it is shorter and contains a less complex plot as opposed to a novel. The main theme of Animal Farm is how Czarist Russia evolved into Communist Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Orwell used Animal Farm as a backdrop to represent Russia and the animals that inhabited the farm as a who’s who of the Russian Revolution . Animal Farm is an allegory – a narrative that uses literary devices to reveal hidden meanings and messages.

The Oxford Dictionary defines allegory as a story, poem or image that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, usually moral or political. Not only that, Animal Farm is also a satire. The same Oxford Dictionary defines satire as the use of humour, irony, exaggeration or ridicule to mock, expose and criticize the stupidity or vices of people, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other social issues. Animal Farm fits both of these categories nicely.

At the time the book was published, it was not that popular, not widely read, because Russia was an ally of the West in its fight against German aggression under Hitler in World War II. In a clear indication of the underestimation of the Russians and their communist leaders, the Western world saw it as an act of ill will if they distributed the book to the masses.

The author himself was not an anti-communist. In fact, George Orwell is said to be a socialist who advocated the belief that industries should be under the control of the working class (workers) for the good of all, not just for the benefit of the elites, who controlled those industries. However, he saw the corrupt communist revolution in Russia, which eventually led to a change in perception.

Orwell was perplexed as to how the Communist had deviated from his original noble goals of seeking a classless society. Orwell’s belief was that he owed the world a warning about how destructive unchecked power was.

He was adamant in showing the other side of communism when it was too far without checks and balances and how the leaders of this cause succumbed to worldly pleasures, the same class pleasures they despised in other ideologies. Hence, the world witnessed the birth of Animal Farm. Orwell had used allegory in the best possible way, to criticize the hypocrisy of communism, especially its overzealous leaders, their actions and their thirst for merciless murder and mass murder to maintain their status quo.

The use of pigs, of all animals, was the highlight of this novella. In a layman’s mind, pigs are lazy animals, unproductive and pleasingly finished as meat to most taste buds. However, Orwell was way ahead of his time. He used pigs as his protagonists and antagonists in Animal Farm for the same reasons as how modern science had revealed quite shocking things about these creatures. Scientists want people to think of pigs as more than meat. Among other talents, pigs are known to have excellent long-term memories and are adept at completing mazes and recognizing symbols, just like our close cousins ​​the chimpanzees. They are also empathetic and can learn from each other in groups.

Besides, Orwell had used pigs as an irony, dispelling all the myths surrounding these fleshy creatures as lazy but wise, gluttonous but peaceful, immovable but a general who is lively in thought, plans and designs a plan discreetly. Pigs are fleshy, large animals known for their loins. Orwell was quick to equate certain world leaders, especially from the states of communist ideology, to pigs, possibly because of the state of hypocrisy in which they lived their lives. they float on the wealth produced by the proletariat, which for a large part of its wretched life has remained poor and desolate, where elsewhere the leaders have been fat, ugly and precariously healthy.

The Old Major in Animal Farm was a pig, depicted as old and wise, experienced and respected. Old Major had a dream where “all animals are equal”. This was transmitted to the animals, who rejoiced at the prospect of relief from the clutches of the elite – humans. Orwell used Old Major to represent Karl Marx, the founder of Communism and the Communist Manifesto, which is based on Marxism. The words spoken by Old Major represent Marx’s words about the evils of feudalism and capitalism.

The expression also emphasized the idealistic world of communism. Thus, the Russian Revolution in 1917 was inspired by those who strongly believed in the tenets of communism. In Marxist methodology, he initially used economic and socio-political research to analyze and critique the development of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change.

According to Marxist doctrines, class conflict within capitalism arises due to the escalation of contradictions between the highly productive mechanized and socialized production carried out by the proletariat (workers) and the private ownership and appropriation of the surplus product in the form of surplus value (profit) by a small minority of private individuals called the bourgeoisie. In Animal Farm, the middle class was represented by Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the people who owned the animals, who often mistreated them. Mr. and Mrs. Jones can also be equated in direct reference to the last Czar of Russia – Nicholas II and his wife Alexandria who were disliked by Russians at the time for needlessly dragging Russia into WWI. Apparently, the animals ran out of patience, began to rebel, eventually driving the humans off the farm and taking control of their own destiny.

Besides Old major, another pig character was Snowball. Snowball emerged as one of the leaders in Animal Farm. Snowball was portrayed as a lively and intelligent character. He was given the task of spreading the acquired glory of Animal Farm throughout the neighborhood. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky – Lenin’s second-in-command in the Russian Revolution and the leader of the “Red Army” in the subsequent Russian Civil War.

Trotsky also wanted to spread the word about communism to other nations. However, fate had it differently when both Snowball and Trotsky were wiped out by ruthless and corrupt individuals who craved power more than anything else.

Napoleon was another pig character who emerged as a leader in the novel. Instead of influencing other animals and working with consent, he secretly raised nine puppies to wild man-eaters. These nine pups were his personal army of bodyguards, whom he used and manipulated to achieve his goals, no matter how treacherous and brutal they were. Napoleon represents Josef Stalin – the General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party from 1922 until his death in 1952.

The nine puppies were an analogy to the KGB – the secret police of the Communist Party, known for its cruelty. The KGB carried out all of Stalin’s orders religiously without fear or favor.

The false confessions of infidelity at Animal Farm and the subsequent executions were modeled on Stalin’s great purge of the 1930s, in which anyone deemed a counter-revolutionary was mercilessly killed.

Squealer, another character in Animal Farm is a pig who always spread persuasive messages supporting the leader’s goals and objectives. Squealer is an embodiment of hypocrisy and propaganda. He reinvents the rules and the story to confuse the other farm animals. He could also represent Pravda – the Communist newspaper in Russia, which was the official mouthpiece of the party’s propaganda in the 1930s. With his magic like words and manipulative articulation, Squealer kept the audience (the animals) calm and in control with his often misleading and wrong messages and announcements.

Animal Farm serves as a reminder of how humans crave unlimited power to rule the lives of innocent people through divide and conquer and “management through fear” tactics to achieve their personal goals. Along these lines, some have entered the history books as either exemplary or scorned. This novella is great to use as a reading resource for middle and high school students.

Students will not only learn the English language, but also the various literary devices – allegory, satire, irony, metaphor and personification that come with it. The novel contains a lot of humor from which the author makes fun of the actions of the leader and students will also be able to apply their thoughts to identify why some people managed to gain power, how some people maintained this power at all costs. how some abused the power entrusted to them for their own personal gain and agenda, how some abused their power by using violence and threats, and how some had lost to popular power uprisings.

In addition to this, the historical events that represent this novel will provide an insight into communism and Russian history. Marxism then gained support in much of Europe and under the control of the Bolshevik Party, a communist government seized power during the Russian Revolution, leading to the creation of the Soviet Union, the world’s first Marxist state, in the early 20th century century.

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