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George Orwell

George Orwell's Animal Farm is a political satire of a

totalitarian society ruled by a mighty dictatorship, in all

probability an allegory for the events surrounding the

Russian Revolution of 1917. The animals of "Manor Farm"

overthrow their human master after a long history of

mistreatment. Led by the pigs, the farm animals continue to

do their work, only with more pride, knowing that they are

working for themselves, as opposed to working for humans.

Little by little, the pigs become dominant, gaining more

power and advantage over the other animals, so much so

that they become as corrupt and power-hungry as their

predecessors, the humans. The theme in Animal Farm

maintains that in every society there are leaders who, if

given the opportunity, will likely abuse their power.

The book begins in the barnyard of Mr. Jones' "Manor

Farm". The animals congregate at a meeting led by the prize

white boar, Major. Major points out to the assembled

animals that no animal in England is free. He further

explains that the products of their labor is stolen by man,

who alone benefits. Man, in turn, gives back to the animals

the bare minimum which will keep them from starvation while

he profits from the rest. The old boar tells them that the

source of all their problems is man, and that they must

remove man from their midst to abolish tyranny and hunger.

Days later Major dies, but the hope and pride which

he gave the other animals does not die. Under the

leadership of the pigs, the most intelligent of the animals,

they rebel against their human master managing to overthrow

him. After the rebellion, under the direction of Napoleon,

the most outspoken pig, and Snowball, the most eloquent pig,

the animals continue to work the farm successfully.

As with all societies, the animals have laws which

must be obeyed. Their laws stated that animals shall never

become like humans; cruel and manipulative. They shall not

wear clothing nor sleep in beds. Most importantly, they are

to respect one another's equality and killing another animal

is strictly forbidden.

Meanwhile, the pigs as leaders are taking bigger

food rations for themselves justifying their behavior as

something necessary for the "brains" of their animal

society. At this point we begin to suspect that the pigs

will abuse their positions and power in this animal society.

Mr. Jones tries to reclaim his power but the animals

prevent him from doing so in what they call "The Battle of

the Cowshed". After the battle, Napoleon drives Snowball

off the farm telling everyone that Snowball was on Mr.

Jones' side. Napoleon is further appreciated by the other

animals for exposing and removing the traitor, Snowball,

from their midst. Slowly, Napoleon gets a stronger and

stronger hold over the other animals, dominating their

every action.

The situation at "Animal Farm", the new name for

"Manor Farm", really starts to change now. Napoleon moves

into Mr. Jones' house, sleeps in his bed, and even wears his

clothes. In order to make his actions appear legal, the law

had to be interpreted differently, which Napoleon arranged.

In defiance of the original laws, Napoleon befriends Mr.

Pilkington, the human owner of a nearby farm. Napoleon had

such control over the other animals that they accepted such

a blatant disregard of their law about fraternizing with

humans.

The book ends with the pigs sitting at a table,

eating with humans. Napoleon announces to those around the

table that the name "Manor Farm" will be reinstated. The

humans and pigs converse while the other animals outside

look on. They, the lowly creatures according to the pigs

and humans, look from pig to man and from man to pig, unable

to differentiate between the species.

The theme throughout Animal Farm is presented

through the allegory of corrupt pigs and the passivity of

the other barnyard animals. The humans in the story

represent the Russian royal family and aristocracy, tyrants

who abused their power with no regard for the peasants who,

in essence, supported their royal lifestyle. The pigs

represent the Bolshevik revolutionaries who led the masses

in rebellion against the Czar and the entire royal family.

Unfortunately, as with the pigs, power corrupted and the

people were then oppressed by their "comrades" under the new

communist government. Orwell's message about power, in the

hands of a few, is corrupting and does nothing to benefit

the masses.

Word Count: 739

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