Animal FarmGeorge Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm, is a deceitfully simple story abouta group of farm animals who, tired of toiling for the benefit of humans, rebeland create their own way of life only to find themselves, several years later,toiling for the benefit of one of their own kind, the pigs.
Because of thesimplicity of this novel, many people consider it to be a children’s story. However, beyond it’s lighthearted surface, it is truly a satirical attackagainst Stalinism. “It is also a lament for the fate of revolutions and thehopes contained in them. ” Adding to the complexity of the book, it also showsman’s willingness to compromise the truth.
In the short scope of this novel,Orwell expresses many of his ideas about men and politics. Major, an elderly pig, is the one who plants the seed of rebellion inthe minds of the other animals by sharing with them a song which he had learnedas a young pig, but which he has just recalled during a dream. This song”Beasts of England” describes a peaceful life where all animals will live inharmony, no longer enslaved by humans. Riches more than mind can picture,Wheat and barley, oats and hay,Clover, beans and mangel-wurzelsShall be ours upon that day. Bright will shine the fields of England,Purer shall its waters be,Sweeter yet shall blow its breezesOn the day that sets us free.
(pp. 7-8)The character of Major symbolizes the Soviet Union leader, Vladimir Ilich Lennin. Lennin too had caused his comrades to rise up in rebellion against the Czaristform of government in the hope of creating a country where everyone would beequal. Before he saw his ideas fully enacted, he died.
After the death of Major, the power is left in the hands of two otherpigs, Snowball and Napoleon. Napoleon, who, without anyone else discovering,had raised a litter of puppies into fierce dogs, now uses them to chase Snowballoff the farm. This shares many similarities with the way a leader came intopower to succeed Lennin. Lennin’s choice was Leon Trotsky, but Stalin, who isrepresented by Napoleon, uses tactful maneuvers to work his way into governmentand establish a totalitarian system. As the only leader, Napoleon quickly begins to abuse his power.
Usinghis superior intelligence, he soon has the other animals doing all the farm workwhile he and the other pigs take on the roles of supervisors. The attitudes ofthe animals, especially Boxer, with his motto, “Napoleon is always right,” arerepresentative of the way people in a totalitarian state blindly follow theirleader. One of the most important reasons for this blind faith is fear. Napoleon creates this fear through the use of his dogs, who make sure there isno opposition to his rule.
Fear alone, though, does not keep the animals loyal;rather it is the combination of fear and the hope that their original dreamswill still come true. None of the old dreams had been abandoned. The Republic of the Animals which Major hadforetold, when the green fields of Englandshould be untrodden by human feet, was stillbelieved in. (p.
85)This is the general feeling of the animals and keeps them working hard to reachtheir goals. Over time, we see the pigs becoming more and more like humans. First wesee them sleeping in beds, then drinking alcohol, and finally walking on twolegs. Everyone of these things is strictly prohibited in the sevencommandments; however, Napoleon has bent the rules to help himself, so when theother animals check the rules, they have miraculously changed.
This is a traitinherent in most of mankind. . . they seem only to follow the truth when the truthsuits them. If it does not, they change it to meet their needs. What begins as a wonderful dream where animals would control their ownlives, free of human control, ends with the animals under the control of an evenmore oppressive ruler.
Lennin’s overthrow of the oppressive Czarist government,in the end, led to the tyrannical and totalitarian reign of Stalin. As long asthere are such beliefs as, “All animals are equal, but some animals are moreequal than others,” (p. 88) all rebellions for equality will fail because therewill always be some group to fill the role of superiority.