Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
-- Marilyn Monroe

Monday, June 13, 2011

Animal Farm by George Orwell

"Soon or late the day is coming, Tyrant Man shall be over thrown, And the fruitful fields of England, Shall be trod by beasts alone." (Animal Farm, page 22) I thought that Animal Farm, written by George Orwell was a fabulous "fairy story" as Orwell himself called it. It showed the dark side of politics of war in a clever allegory. It was fabulous because it got the message Orwell was trying to send to the reader in an indirect creative way that made the reader think. He also used many symbols. Orwell used different objects, people, and creatures to portray types of individuals, famous figures, and events that happened in World War II and are still happening today. He challenged the world with his revealing tale that uncovered the ugly truth of politics and war with deadly accuracy, but made it accessible to millions of people everywhere.

In Animal Farm, the animals of Manor Farm are tired of being underfed, beaten, and nearly worked to death. They then plan a revolt and succeed in overthrowing the humans of the farm. Animalism has begun. Rules are made and leaders are chosen. The pigs are the supreme leaders and the most intelligent. The politics of Animal Farm quickly become dirty as sabotage and threats get more and more common.

Animal Farm was excellent because Orwell managed to get an important message across to the reader in a creative way. The message basically explained what goes on behind the scenes of politics. The reader was let in on all the little secrets and terrible deeds the leaders did to each other while the animals were manipulated to believe one thing and then the other. He let the reader see the horrors and lies that are being told and done to nearly anyone who opposes another.

What Orwell did that was clever was also show the animals who were being led to believe something that had never happened. For example, Snowball, one of the first and main leaders of Animal Farm, created the Ten Commandments. One was, "No animal shall kill any other animal." After Snowball was overthrown, Napoleon, the rival pig, took over. Napoleon at one point in the story, held an execution where he killed many innocent animals. It had been a couple of years since the commandments had been created and hardly any of the animals could read or remember them. When one animal was heard questioning what Napoleon did, the commandment was secretly changed by Napoleon right hand man, Squealer. The law now read, "No animal shall kill any other animal without cause." The animal who had questioned the law before saw no difference and found her challenge had been irrelevant.

The symbols used to represent people, famous figures, and events were one of the key elements that made Animal Farm such a phenomenal classic. Many of the well known and major characters in the story represented some of the distinguished figures in World War II. Old Major, an old pig that first introduces the idea of Animal Farm and establishes the anthem, Beasts of England was created to represent Karl Marx who was a revolutionary socialist and political theorist. Napoleon, the pig who is a rival to Snowball and who later becomes the chief of Animal Farm was made to epitomize Joseph Stalin. Stalin was a conspicuous politician who was for communism. He was also a member of the main government of the Communist party. Snowball, the pig who had the farm's best intentions at heart and who was against Napoleon and his ideas portrayed Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was Russian political figure who supported Marxism and was against communism.

Some of the battles in the book are believed to have been symbolizing some of the more famous battles in World War II. The animals were also used to represent different types of people. Boxer, a hard working but knowingly stupid horse, represented the workers in the world. Clover, a kind mare who was practically the mother of the farm, portrayed the mothers and families. Benjamin, who was a donkey, exemplified the people who were intelligent and knew what was going on but didn't feel the need to get involved.

During the story, Snowball, the original leader, was chased out by Napoleon and his league of vicious dogs. This is quite like what happened in an episode of the popular children's show, SpongeBob. In SpongeBob there are two retired super heroes, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. Barnacle Boy, the sidekick is tired of being second in command. He goes to the dark side and overthrows Mermaid Man with his powerful new friends, who are quite like the dogs. This is just one example of a coupe that is similar to that found in Animal Farm.

After Snowball is overthrown, the reigns of Animal Farm are thrown into the filthy trotters of a selfish, clever, and intelligent beast, Napoleon. Napoleon has only his problems on his mind. He starts working the animals harder. He makes the farm slowly go bankrupt. He is also slowly changing the commandments and changing the past so that he makes sure that no one questions his intentions and authority. Slowly, but surely the pigs are turning into humans. What the animals of Animal Farm were thinking was freedom from their life with the humans is turning back to what it began with.

Animal Farm was at first banned from being published. Orwell found it hard to find a publisher. Why? Because of the idea his story was portraying and the way he was showing the war and politics. He was trying to get it published during World War II and during the time it became apparent that anti-Soviet literature was not popular. He mentioned the "Freedom of the Press" and challenged it talking about how he had a right to express his opinion. He succeeded.

George Orwell did a stupendous job in writing Animal Farm, because of the clever way he got his message across, his use of symbols and his determination to reveal the truth behind politics and war. I thoroughly enjoyed his book. "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." (Animal Farm, page 128)

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