Animal Farm, a masterpiece novella by George Orwell was composed in 1945. It falls under novella as it is shorter and contains a less intricate plot unlike a novel. The crux thing of Animal Farm is all about how Czarist Russia evolved to communist Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Orwell used the animal farm because the backdrop representing Russia and the critters that dwelled in the farm as the who’s who in the Russian Revolution. The Animal Farm is an allegory-a narrative which uses literary devices to unveil concealed messages and meanings.
The Oxford Dictionary defines allegory for a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a political or ethical one. In addition to that, Animal farm can be a satire. The exact same Oxford Dictionary defines a satire as using humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to mock, expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other social issues. Animal farm fits into these two categories aptly.
At the time when the book was printed, it was not that popular, didn’t control a widespread reading because Russia was an ally of the West in their fight against German aggression under Hitler in World War II. In a clear sign of belittling the Russians and its communist leaders, the western world saw it as an act of non-goodwill if they popularized the book in droves.
The author himself wasn’t an anti-communist. Actually George Orwell is said to be a socialist who supported the belief that businesses should be under the control of the working class (employees ) for the benefit of everyone, not just benefitting the elites, who commanded these industries. However, he witnessed the tainted revolution of the communist in Russia, eventually leading to a change of perception.
Orwell was perplexed on how the communist had diverted, departed from their initial noble goals of looking for a classless society.
He was adamant to demonstrate the other side of communism when it was taken too far without a check and balance and how the leaders of this cause succumbed to worldly pleasures, the same class bound pleasures they despised on other ideologies; hence the world must witness the arrival of Animal Farm. Orwell had used allegory to the best of influence, to criticize the hypocrisy of communism, particularly its overzealous leaders, their actions and their thirst for merciless murders and mass killings to maintain their status quo.
Using pigs, of all animals, was the acme of this novella. In the thought of a layman, pigs are idle creatures, non-productive and gleefully end as meat in many taste buds. He utilized pigs because his protagonists and antagonists in Animal Farm for the very same reasons of how modern science had revealed quite surprisingly however, about these animals. Scientists want people to think of legumes as more than just meat. Among other talents, pigs are known to have excellent long-term memories and they’re proficient at completing mazes and recognizing symbols, just like our near cousins-chimpanzees. They also have empathy and can learn from each other in groups.
Besides that, Orwell had utilized pigs as an irony, debunking all the myths surrounding these fleshy animals as lazy but wise, gluttonous but conniving, immobile but strategist who is vivacious in thoughts, plotting and scheming a plan discreetly. Pigs are fleshy, sized creatures known for their slobs. Orwell was quick in equating some world leaders particularly from the communist ideology countries to pigs probably due to the state of hypocrisy that they lived their lives; floating in the wealth made by the proletariat who for a significant portion of their miserable lives remained poor and desolate, where else the leaders were fat, ugly and precariously healthy.
The Old Major in Animal Farm was a pig, depicted as wise and old, experienced and well-respected. This was relayed to the animals, who rejoiced in the prospect of preventing themselves from the clutches of the elites – the humans. Orwell used Old Important to signify Karl Marx, the founder of Communism and the Communist Manifesto, which is based on Marxism. The words uttered by Old Major represent Marx’s words on the evils of feudalism and capitalism.
The utterance also highlighted on the idealistic world of communism. Thereby, the Russian Revolution in 1917 was motivated by those who believed big from the doctrines of communism. In Marxist methodology, it initially used economic and sociopolitical inquiry to analyze and review the evolution of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change.
According to Marxist doctrines, class conflict within capitalism arises due to escalating contradictions between highly productive mechanized and socialized production performed by the proletariat (workers), and private ownership and appropriation of the surplus product in the form of surplus value (profit) by a small minority of private owners known as the bourgeoisie. In the Animal Farm, the bourgeoisie were represented by Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the people who owned the animals, frequently ill-treating them. Mr. and Mrs. Jones may also be equated in direct reference to the last Czar of Russia – Nicholas II and his consort Alexandria who were cheered by the Russians at that time for unnecessarily dragging Russia into World War I. Apparently, the animals exhausted their patience, began to rebel, eventually booting the humans out of the farm and took charge of their own destiny.
Besides Old major, another pig character was Snowball. Snowball rose as one of the leaders in Animal Farm. Snowball was depicted as a vivacious and an ingenious character. He was given the job of spreading the attained glory of Animal Farm through the area.
However, fate had it differently when both Snowball and Trotsky were expunged by ruthless and corrupt individuals who craved for power more than anything else.
Napoleon was another pig personality who rose as a pioneer in the novella. As opposed to influencing other creatures and working through consensus, he covertly raised nine dogs into ferocious man-eating animals. These nine puppies were his private army of bodyguards which he manipulated and used to achieve his goals, no matter how treacherous and brutal they were.
The KGB carried out all of Stalin’s commands religiously without fear or favour.
The false confessions of disloyalty in Animal Farm, and the subsequent executions were modeled at Stalin’s great purge in the 1930s in which anyone who’s seen as a counter-revolutionist was murdered mercilessly.
Squealer, another character in Animal Farm is a pig who always spread persuasive messages encouraging the leader’s goals and objectives. Squealer is an embodiment of hypocrisy and propaganda. He reinvents the history and rules to be able to confuse the other animals in the farm. He could also signify Pravda- the communist newspaper in Russia which was the official propaganda mouthpiece of the party in the 1930s. Together with his wizardry like manipulative and words articulation, Squealer kept the public (the creatures ) calm and under control with his frequently misleading and crooked messages and announcements.
Animal Farm serves as a reminder of how humans crave for unlimited power to rule the lives of innocent people through’divide and rule’ and’manage by fear’ approaches to achieve their personal targets. Along that line, some made it into the history books as either being exemplary or loathed.
Students will not only learn the English Language, but also the various literary devices – allegory, satire, irony, metaphor and personification that include it. The novella contains lots of humour from which the writer mocks the actions of their leader and students will also be able to apply their thoughts out of the box to identify why some individuals had managed to receive power, how some maintained this power whatsoever, how some misused the power entrusted on them for their own personal gains and agenda, how some abused their power using violence and threats, and how some had lost to the people-power insurgencies.
Apart from that, the historic events representing this novella will provide an insight of Communism and Russian history.