The Irony of "Animal Farm"
Animal Farm is a novel by George Orwell. It was first published in 1945. This book shows the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 in allegorical form. All the characters can be compared to real people, who had a place in human history.
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Animal Farm begins with a collection of animals in the chicken coop, a general description of the main characters and a fiery speech of an elderly pig. The hog named Major shared the great wisdom with all animals gathered in the place. Major said, “That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet, that eventually justice will be done. Fix your eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives! And above all, pass on this message of mine to those who come after you, so that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious.” (Orwell) A few days later the hog-messiah died of old age. Major is a symbol of the leader who gave a great idea to people. The author based him on Vladimir Lenin, the revolutionary leader.
After Major’s death, animals managed to raise a spontaneous revolt and take power into their own hands. Since that, the farm "Manor" was renamed to "Animal Farm." Animals had their own anthem, flag, and list of laws. The flag was green, decorated with horns and hooves. There were seven commandments:
- Anyone who walks on two legs is the enemy.
- Anyone who walks on four legs or who has wings is a friend.
- Animals do not wear clothes.
- Animals do not sleep in their beds.
- Animals do not drink alcohol.
- Animal cannot kill another animal.
- All animals are equal.
Not all animals could understand the changes. The most stupid inhabitants of the farm were sheep that have not been able to memorize the Seven Commandments. They knew only one slogan "Four legs good, two legs bad!" (Orwell) The whole farm was walking towards a brighter future; even the people started cheering, as the animals themselves coped with the harvest and internal problems. Animal Farm is not a children's fairy tale, it becomes clear after the emergence of two pigs with equal strength who wanted to get the power on the political scene. The pigs’ names were Snowball and Napoleon. Napoleon was the personification of Stalin; Snowball was the personification of Leon Trotsky. There appeared the first signs of class stratification in the "society of equals." Napoleon and Snowball had different directions. The first one used military force to control the animal society and defend the territory from people. The second one was intelligent, eloquent and passionate. He had authority over the animals.
Soon the raid by the former owner to the farm happened. Animals won this battle. Soon after that, by juggling the facts and fight on the sidelines of the brutish power, Napoleon became the leader of the animals. Snowball had to leave the farm. There came the inevitable criticism of Snowball’s cult of personality. Napoleon blamed him for all the failures that happened on the farm. There came a new slogan, "Napoleon is always right", and the skull of Major was placed on a tree stump so that all were inspired by the idea of equality. There is a parallel between the Soviet Union and an animal farm. Stalin became a leader, Leon Trotsky run abroad, and the mummy of Lenin was placed to the mausoleum.
At some point, Orwell turned from critic to the prophet. Things were not as simple as they seemed at first sight. Strange things began to happen on the farm, such as the falsifications of the commandments, words of lies and false information. The stupid pig named Squealer popularized Napoleon’s propaganda, convincing the animals of the truth of the new values. Every commandment was broken or rewritten according to the pigs’ ideology. "The animal cannot kill another animal" turned into "The animal cannot kill another animal without cause", which caused a number of public executions. Residents of all farms suffered and worked hard. "All animals are equal. However, some animals are more equal than others.” (Orwell)
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All the lies had to fall on the day when Napoleon walked through the village on two hind legs with his entourage. “Out from the door of the farmhouse came a long file of pigs, all walking on their hind legs. Some did it better than others, one or two were even a trifle unsteady and looked as though they would have liked the support of a stick, but every one of them made his way right round the yard successfully. And finally, there was a tremendous baying of dogs and a shrill crowing from the black cockerel, and out came Napoleon himself, majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side, and with his dogs gamboling around him.” (Orwell)
A key scene of the book was the last two paragraphs. There was a moment of the card game between noble pigs and notable. Farm animals watched it through the window. “Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.” (Orwell) That was a symbolic and even somewhat ambivalent end of Animal Farm. Pigs were political prostitutes. They were not better than people. The human form became the same as the pigs. Orwell in his book, written in 1945, told the story from the beginning of the twentieth century to the last decade of the last millennium.