”Animal Farm” by George Orwell Essay Sample
- Word count: 2928
- Category: marxism
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”Animal Farm” by George Orwell Essay Sample
The book Animal Farm by George Orwell is a novel which describes how animals were able to take power away from men and start a new society. The story shows that the teachings of an intellectual pig were used posteriorly to start a revolution in which its leaders, Snowball and Napoleon, claimed to guarantee freedom and equality between the animals. Nonetheless, one of the leaders was corrupt and he was more interested in gaining power in the farm and consequently becoming “man”, the enemy. This novel is clearly an allegory to the Russian Revolution, in other words, it is a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden political meaning, since the characters of Animal Farm have similar actions and characteristics to the people involved in the Revolution in Russia
Mr. Jones is a character from “Animal Farm” which can be compared with Czar Nicholas II due to their similar personalities, such as stubbornness and persistency to not to change.
When Nicholas II assumed the throne, he was deeply influenced by his father and had a broad education. Nevertheless, “he found it much more difficult to grasp the complexities of economics and politics […] and felt profoundly unprepared for the responsibility that was thrust upon him (Nicholas II)”. In the novel Animal Farm, most of the times “Jones would lounge in his Windsor chair in the kitchen, reading the newspaper, drinking, and occasionally feeding Moses on crusts of bread soaked in beer, […] the fields were full of weed, the buildings wanted roofing, the hedges were neglected and the animals were underfed (Orwell, 1819)”. In brief, Mr. Jones shows irresponsibility and lack of determination when running his farm, the same way the Czar acted when he was in power.
Nicholas was dealing with a tough beginning of his reign and, to worsen the situation, public dissatisfaction resulted in peaceful conflicts. Nonetheless, the response was violent: “Public celebrations were held at Khodynka, but the huge crowds that gathered there got out of hand and several thousand people were crushed to death (Nicholas II)”. In the novel, Mr. Jones treats his animals in a similar way, so ruthless that “no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end […] as for the dogs, when they grow old and toothless, Jones ties a brick round their necks and drowns them in the nearest pond (Orwell, 0)”. All in all, as the Russian people, the animals also suffered with their leader’s mistreatments and indifference.
After a conflict in which many of Russian people died, the royal family did not seem to care about their reign’s future, as “that night the newly crowned emperor and empress appeared at a ball, apparently oblivious to the catastrophe. The image of Nicholas II enjoying himself while many of his subjects lay dead gave his reign a sour start (Nicholas II)”. Jones is likewise an idle man. He exploits the animals, “sets them to work, he gives them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest […] have all gone to market to bring in money for Jones and his men. (Orwell 8).” Both of them seem to be unconcerned about their country or farm, as they are enjoying themselves meanwhile their people are starving or being killed.
Nicholas’s weakness was exposed since his troops were losing quality. After arguing with some ministers, the Czar remained absent “after August 1915, and he spent most of his time at headquarters away from Petrograd (Nicholas II)”. Likewise did Jones and his men, who “after only a moment or two they gave up trying to defend themselves and took to their heels (Orwell 20)”. Although for different reasons, both Jones and Nicholas were absent during tough times in their region.
As previously described, Mr. Jones and Czar Nicholas II are similar in the way they act, such as administrating badly their region, mistreating their people and being absent during tough times. Karl Marx was a philosopher whose ideas of socialism can be compared to that of Animalism proposed by Old Major from Animal Farm. Karl Marx claimed that the dictatorship of the proletariat was a necessary revolution that would give political power to the lower classes, and control of production. He believed that “the first step on the path to the worker’s revolution is the elevation of the proletariat to the position of ruling class. […] It would allow the working class to consolidate political power, suppress all opposition, gain control of the means of production, and destroy the machinery of the bourgeois state (Dictatorship of the Proletariat)”. The “working class” in Animal Farm is composed by the animals, which have all their production stolen by the humans. Old Major claims that “man is the only enemy we have. Remove man from the scene and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever (Orwell, 7).” In brief, both Marx and Old Major supported the idea that the workers must be in power, once all production is a result of their effort.
Furthermore, Marx believed that the battle against the old traditions would be lengthy and tough and it also could be violent or peaceful. Lenin developed the praxis of Marxist doctrine and, accordingly to him, “the dictatorship of the proletariat is a stubborn struggle – bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative – against the forces and traditions of the old society (Dictatorship of the Proletariat).” Likewise, Old Major advised his animals to keep up the struggle even if it’s difficult and long because it will be worth having fought. In his speech, he said: “Rebellion! […] It might be in a week or in a hundred years. […] Pass this message of mine to those who come after you, so that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious (Orwell, 9)”. Thus, both of them believed that it is necessary to fight for this revolution even though it could be exhausting.
Next, Marxists claimed that people will need to be reeducated under the dictatorship of the proletariat, as a lower class was in power and it would change everybody’s life. Marxists believed that “it will be necessary to reeducate millions of peasants and small proprietors, hundreds of thousands of office employees, officials, and bourgeois intellectuals (Dictatorship of the Proletariat)”. This idea was similar to that of Old Major’s followers, who decided to teach the animals the principals of Animalism, their new “theory” of “socialism”. They “had elaborated old Major’s teachings into a complete system of thought. […] Several nights a week they held secret meetings in the barn and expounded the principals of Animalism to the others (Orwell, 16)”. All in all, they believe that a different lifestyle that would come with these revolutions requires a new way of thinking, the Socialism or Animalism, which must be taught to the population. Last but not least, Marxists, principally Lenin, supported that this form of dictatorship would end the upper class rule and give the exploited class democratic rights and freedom. “Lenin saw this form of dictatorship as putting an end to ‘bourgeoisdemocratic Trotsky was a Russian theorist who defended Karl Marx ideas.
In the novel Animal Farm, Snowball plays a role similar to that of Leon Trotsky, as he believed in Old Major teachings. First of all, Trotsky had good qualities for a leader, as he spoke well in public and had great ideas for his country. He “was a manysided personality, a man of action as well as a theorist, a prolific author and an orator of genius (Leon Trotsky).” Likewise, Snowball showed his ideas through excellent speeches; he also “was a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive (Orwell, 16)”. Therefore, their personalities were similar and excellent for a new leader of the nation. Furthermore, Leon strongly believed that communism would spread internationally in a chain reaction that cannot be interrupted. “No single phase of this revolution […] can be regarded as selfcontained or selfsufficient. The process of society’s transformation is in the nature of a chain reaction that cannot be arbitrarily interrupted or arrested. The revolution develops intensively, by “deepening” and affecting the whole structure of society, and extensively, by assuming international scope (Leon Trotsky).”
Snowball also had strong feelings that the Revolution would become true and powerful. He explained that the green of their flag represented the fields, “while the hoof and the horn signified the future Republic of Animals which would arise when the human race had been finally overthrown (Orwell 3132).” Thus, both Trotsky and Snowball believed in the greatness that the nation they were fighting for would achieve. Also, one of Trotsky main ideas was to change the social and economic model of Russia in order to guarantee equality. Trotsky viewed that this transition “as an immense succession of socioeconomic and political upheavals leading to the establishment of an international classless and stateless society (Leon Trotsky).” In the same way, “Snowball busied himself with organizing the other animals into what he called Animal committees (Orwell 32)” in order to interact with the animals, discuss the ideas and emphasize the importance of a society based on equality. Thus, equality was a theme that both Trotsky and Napoleon wanted to highlight in order to avoid any type abusive state control. Moreover, although Trotsky’s and Stalin’s ideas were both based on Marxism, they disagreed constantly about the implementation of them.
“The great ideological controversy in the Bolshevik party after Lenin centered on the doctrinal opposition between two theories: Trotsky’s permanent revolution and Stalin’s socialism in a single country (Leon Trotsky).” The same situation happened in Animal Farm between two pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, whose ideas were contrasting. They “were never in agreement: whatever suggestion either of them made, the other could be counted on to oppose it (Orwell, 31).” This controversy between leaders resulted in a power struggle that brought about a dictatorship in which Trotsky and Snowball were eliminated. As previously explained, Leon Trotsky has many qualities and actions similar to Snowball, as they believed in the same ideas and fought for them until they were defeated. Joseph Stalin was Russia’s socialist dictator, such as Napoleon from Animal Farm. They are similar in the ways they used to be the leader as in the way they administrated their region. After Russian Revolution, Stalin was a powerful man that controlled many of the country issues.
Even before Lenin’s death, “the strength of Stalin’s position in the government and in the party was anchored probably by his secretary generalship, which gave him control over party personnel administration – over admissions, training, assignments, promotion and disciplinary matters (Joseph Stalin)”. It can be compared to Napoleon from Animal Farm because he also possessed great power in the farm administration. For example, he would end Sunday Meetings and “in future all questions relating to the work of the farm would be settled by a special committee of pigs, presided over by himself. These would meet in private and afterwards communicate their decisions to the others. The animals would still assemble on Sunday mornings to salute the flag, sing “Beasts of England”, and receive their orders for the week; but there would be no more debates (Orwell, 54)”.
In brief, both Stalin and Napoleon controlled everything and everybody in their nation or farm. Moreover, Stalin’s committee aimed to eliminate his opponents in order to be the leader of the country. Stalin had a “successful attempt to discredit Leon Trotsky and to make it impossible for him to assume party leadership after Lenin’s death (Joseph Stalin)”. Likewise, Napoleon blamed Snowball for all the problems in the farm and encouraged the animals to distrust Snowball in order turn the animals against Snowball and thus remain in power. He usually claimed: “Comrades, do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL! (Orwell, 6970)”. All in all, Stalin and Napoleon were dictators that were eager for power and therefore they would do anything for it, such as eliminating opponents. Furthermore, Stalin was a cruel man who would take revenge on anyone who he did not trust or agree with. “His cunning, distrust, and vindictiveness seem to have reached paranoid proportions. In political life he tended to be cautious and slowmoving.
His style of speaking and writing was also ponderous and graceless (Joseph Stalin)”. Similar to Stalin, Napoleon also took revenge on the animals that supported Snowball by forcing them to confess and after he kills them, such as what happened to the four pigs that had protested against Napoleon’s unfair decisions. “The four pigs waited, trembling, with guilty written on every line of their countenances. Napoleon now called upon them to confess their crimes. They were the same four pigs that that had protested when Napoleon abolished the Sunday Meetings (Orwell, 83)”. Also, while Stalin was struggling for power, he acted as if he disagreed with all Trotsky plans. When he expelled Trotsky, however, he uses these plans. After he defeated left opposition, he “adopted much of its domestic program by initiating a 5year plan of industrial development and by executing it with a degree of recklessness and haste that antagonized many of his former supporters, who then formed a right opposition.
This opposition, too, was defeated quickly, and by the early 1030s Stalin had gained dictatorial control over the party, the state, and the entire Communist International (Joseph Stalin)”. Likewise, Napoleon criticized Snowball’s plan about the windmill as it was foolishness. He walked around the shed, “[…] looked closely at every detail of the plans and snuffed at them once or twice, then stood for a little while contemplating them out of the corner of his eye; then suddenly he lifted his leg, urinated over the plans, and walked out without uttering a word (Orwell, 50)”. Posteriorly, however, he decided to build it and claimed that it was initially his idea that was stolen by Snowball. In brief, they are selfish souls that steal others ideas in order to be more powerful. As previously described, Joseph Stalin and Napoleon have similar personalities, such as vindictiveness and selfishness, which influenced in the way they act. The KGB was the Russian police at the time of Stalin’s dictatorship. In the novel Animal Farm, the dogs can be compared to the Russian police, as they obeyed Napoleon directly and supervised internal issues.
Firstly, the KGB was a secret committee of security service of Russia, “which included the operations of the NKVD – Soviet Secret Police (KGB).” In the same way, the dogs were created in secrecy as “they were the puppies whom Napoleon had taken away from their mothers and reared privately (Orwell 53).” This shows that both KGB and the dogs were part of a secret organization in the government of their nation. Secondly, the KGB can be considered a weapon for Stalin because it defeated all opposition and secured communism. “It was to secure Communist rule, supervise and eliminate all internal opposition (KGB).” The same were the dogs for Napoleon, as they expelled Snowball from the farm in order to eliminate Napoleon’s adversaries and keep him in power. “Napoleon stood up and, casting a peculiar sidelong look at Snowball, uttered a highpitched whimper […] and nine enormous dogs […] dashed straight for Snowball. […] He was running as only a pig can run, but the dogs were close on his heels. […] Then he […] slipped through a hole in the hedge and was seen no more. (Orwell 53).” Thus, eliminating opponents was one of the roles of KGB and the dogs.
Moreover, other important KGB role was to discipline the population. To do it, they had to “eliminate all internal opposition, […] and control the state administration and bureaucracy (KGB).” Likewise, the dogs were used to enforce discipline when someone disagrees with any of Napoleon’s decisions or opinions. “Four young porkers […] uttered shrill squeals of disapproval […] but suddenly the dogs […] let out deep, menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent and sat down again (Orwell 54).” Therefore, KGB and the dogs were essential for their leaders to reinforce their decisions. In addition, the KGB used tactics to threaten the people and discourage disobedience in order to be more effective. Andropov improved it by creating some “[…] new techniques such as the use of psychology against dissidents (KGB).” The dogs in Animal Farm also used psychological menacing in order to achieve silence.
“The four pigs […] raised their voices timidly, but they were promptly silenced by a tremendous growling from the dogs (Orwell 63).” Thereby, psychological threat was an effective way that both the Russian secret police and Napoleon’s dogs had to achieve control of the population. On the whole, the KGB and the dogs were a secret “police” that were extremely loyal and obedient to their leaders. In conclusion, it stays clear that the characters in the novel Animal Farm can be easily compared to the ones involved in the Russian Revolution. As an allegory, the novel uses metaphors and symbolic meanings in order to relate to the events that happened in the real world. Thus, George Orwell wrote this book in order to warn the democratic West Europe against a dangerous and alienating form of “socialism” and to show people the real and ruthless Soviet regime in which propaganda easily controlled the opinion of enlightened people.