Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Animal Farm: An Essay

Animal Farm: An Essay


            Animal Farm is a satirical fable by George Orwell.  In this book, animals on a farm rebel against their human masters and start running the farm themselves. Unfortunately, the pigs who become the new leaders of the farm are corrupted by power and become as or more unfair and self-serving than the humans. The story is an allegory of Stalin’s Soviet Union, the communist dictatorship that eventually developed from the destruction of Tsarist Russia. In Animal Farm, the character of Napoleon is a manipulative leader, and the character of Boxer is a blindly trusting follower; both of their behaviors lead to the loss of freedom and equality on Animal Farm.
            Napoleon, who represents Josef Stalin, is one of the pigs who immediately seizes power after The Rebellion and eventually becomes the totalitarian leader of Animal Farm. His manipulation of history and rules leads to the loss of freedom and equality on Animal Farm. Napoleon manipulates history by revising it for his own benefit. Also, he alters the Seven Commandments, which were established before the Rebellion, so that his misdemeanors will be in accord with the principles of Animalism, Animal Farm’s system of thought. In addition, Napoleon lionizes the leader and later outcast, Snowball (who represents Leon Trotsky), as a malevolent figure to keep the other animals in fear, thus making them see Napoleon as a protective figure and their defender against Snowball. As a result of Napoleon’s manipulation, the other animals on Animal Farm believe that he is a good leader and are blinded to the many transgressions he commits.
            Boxer, who represents the Russian working class, is an industrious, somewhat dimwitted horse who is one of Napoleon’s most faithful followers. His blind trust in Napoleon also contributes to the loss of freedom and equality on Animal Farm. Boxer’s repetition of the maxim, “Napoleon is always right,” is one example of his unwavering loyalty. His undaunted faith further reveals itself in his constant determination to work harder, such as his resolution to carry more and more loads of stone for the windmill that the animals build, and his conviction that hard labor is the solution to all the farm’s problems. As a result of Boxer’s blind trust, conditions on Animal Farm continue to steadily deteriorate, as his gullibility leads him time and again to work feverishly against his own interests and those of the other animals.
            In Animal Farm, both Napoleon, the leader, and Boxer, the follower, act in ways that erode the basic liberties of the animals. Napoleon manipulatively uses Boxer’s naiveté to achieve his own selfish ends, demonstrating how power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Orwell’s story shows that communism, while attractive in theory, does not stand up to its’ original ideals in the real world due to human (or, in this case, animal) flaws. The leaders of a communist government often follow closely in the footsteps of the leaders who they have overthrown, as is simply but ingeniously illustrated in Orwell’s quote; “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.” On the surface, Animal Farm appears to be a simple fable, but ultimately it seeks to reveal fundamental truths about human nature. 

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