Literary Analysis by George Orwell
George Orwell, who wrote Animal Farm, went to Spain to fight for the Spanish government in the Spanish Civil war. While there he was in a Trotsyist outfit.
He then witnessed Stalinists (acting under direction from Moscow) seizing, imprisoning, and killing many of his fellow Trotskists, all under the pretense of insuring the success of the democratic Spanish government. This made Orwell determined to show the realities of life in Russia during and after the Russian Revolution. He did this by writing Animal Farm in which animals are used to represent Russian politicians as well as different parts of the working class. In Animal Farm Orwell used allegory to show economic, political, and social suppression in Russia. The working class animals were economically suppressed in several ways. They were exploited by the pigs who took their milk and apples.
Squealer, a pig, justified this by saying, “Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig.”(Orwell p.52). In addition, the working class animals were forced to work voluntary in overtime. Although the animals could chose not to volunteer, if they choose this action their rations would be cut and they would be made to feel guilty.
The chickens had to produce 600 eggs a week; if they didn’t their rations would be completely taken. The working animals were coerced through the use of psychological manipulation (including guilt) to work extra hours. The animals were politically suppressed when they were lied to in propaganda and weren’t given a choice of their leader. The animals were deceived by Squealer about an array of things including special dietary requirements, to providing inaccurate food production statistics and changing parts of the seven commandments. The dream Major had about equality and a human-free world could have worked if democracy had been instituted from the beginning.
Snowball tried to make committees to encourage participation among the workers. If the committees had worked it would have created more equality and maybe democracy. However after Napoleon exiled Snowball, he took over as the leader of Animal Farm and prevented any democratic elections. An example of this is, “There was only one candidate, Napoleon, who was elected unanimously.” (Orwell p.118).
Following his election, Napoleon decided to stop the Sunday meetings where the animals had discussed ideas about the farm. The last kind of suppression was social suppression. This began after Majors’ death when the animals were divided into social classes. The pigs made themselves the leaders and thought of themselves as privileged. This justified their hoarding milk and apples from the working animals and created an environment in which they raided their piglets separately from the other young animals.
Orwell showed this by, “They took their exercise in the garden, and were discouraged from playing with the other young animals.” (Orwell p.116). Next they appointed the dogs as their personal protectors and law enforces. Napoleon took the puppies, isolated them from the rest of the farm, and trained them to be his guards. Finally when the piglets weren’t allowed to play with the other young animals, this made the class divide stronger and become like a tradition through the generation.
In the book Animal Farm, the animals’ ignorance helped fuel the suppression. This was because they couldn’t see how they were treated overall. They couldn’t remember life before Napoleon became their leader and they couldn’t remember what animal farm was supposed to represent. As a result, Napoleon was able to take advantage of them. This way he was able to suppress them economically because they couldn’t remember how much food they had previously been given.
In addition, he suppressed them politically because, after a few months, they couldn’t remember that they had once had Sunday meetings. Finally he suppressed them socially because they couldn’t remember that, at one time. All the animals had been treated equally.