Animal Farm and 1984, two novels both written by George Orwell, were both ways for Orwell to express his anti-totalitarian standpoint. Animal Farm gives a specific example of an oppressive government by using animals to represent real life characters during the Russian Revolution. 1984, on the other hand, is a general warning against the dangers of following a dictatorial government. Overall, both novels utilize the parallels of the characters and the changing of the past, develop the general theme of the two novels that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The most obvious similarities in characters in 1984 and Animal Farm are Big Brother, the leader of the people of Oceania, and Napoleon, the leader of the animal rebellion on Manor Farm. Both Big Brother and Napoleon are authoritarian rulers who use absolute power as a means of gaining and keeping supremacy. Note: Big Brother can also represent the Party itself because the novel, 1984, never really makes clear who Big Brother really is (for all we know, he can be a character made up by the Party as a medium to publicize its intentions).
Both Big Brother and Napoleon work behind the scenes rather than openly sharing their objectives with their subjects. They also give extra effort in trying to abolish any opposition to their rule, whether it be banishing Snowball or castigating Rutherford. Likewise, they place emphasis on elaborate ceremonies/gatherings as a way to give periodic updates on their orders and to keep their subjects from thinking freely for themselves. This is important because it takes away freedom from the people, which is the right to believe that 2+2=4.
Without freedom to believe what you want, the ruler has the power to make you believe whatever he wants to. In Animal Farm, Napoleon uses the windmill by which he exerts control. He uses it to direct the animals attention away from the shortages/inadequacies on the farm, and the animals ignorantly concentrate all their efforts on the windmill. Napoleon and Big Brother s characters demonstrate the corruption that comes with having absolute power. Ironically, the characters that are willing to do whatever their superior says ends up being victims of their authority.
Parson and Boxer are characterized by their loyalty to the government and by their blind, unquestioning faithfulness to their master. Boxer works vigorously to build Snowball/Napoleon s windmill wile Parson labors continually organizing for Hate Week. Unfortunately, because their work can easily be replaced, the two face the same fate at the end. The reader can safely assume that Parson is vaporized, and Boxer is sent to Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughter and Glue Boiler, Willington, Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied.
Boxer and Parson represent the devoted portion of society that are betrayed by the by absolute power. The changing of guiding regulations and history used throughout both Animal Farm and 1984 are evidence of how absolute power can corrupt. In both cases, Big Brother/Party and Napoleon have worker(s) to reformat rules as a method of gaining more power and taking freedom away from their followers. In Animal Farm, for instance, the Seven Commandments are written on the side of a tarred wall in white letters to set a basis of a new government after the rebellion.
As the book progresses, the commandments are slightly altered making the animals believe that they have understood another Commandment incorrectly and justifying Napoleon s actions. Similarly, in 1984, the Ministry of Truth was set up to change history so that the Party s actions will be acceptable, because the people of Oceania will assume that it was either their fault for misunderstanding or blame the Brotherhood for any incongruities.
Animal Farm and 1984 are mediums with which George Orwell expresses his views of totalitarianism through the use of animals that represent major individuals during the Russian Revolution in Animal Farm, and in 1984 by using the Party and Big Brother as a general warning against absolute power. The similarities in the characters of both novels and evidence of rulers altering regulations and history develop the main theme of both books in that absolute power corrupts.