Animal Farm is an allegorical novel about the Russian Revolution and the resulting political system of the Soviet Union. Through this story which appears to be a simple fable on the surface, we see George Orwell’s beliefs about the nature of power and its seemingly inevitable corruption of noble ideas. Educated authority figures in the book bend the principles of communism to suit their own selfish needs and desires, all the while taking advantage of the uneducated masses, and easily manipulated them through propaganda and persuasion. Through this allegory of communism turned to totalitarianism, Orwell explores the dangers of a political system where leaders have no sense of social responsibility toward their subjects.
The first instance of corruption among the ruling class appears shortly after the revolution. The pigs, the new rulers of Animal Farm after the ousting of the tyrant farmer Jones, milk the cows to relieve them from of their discomfort. The animals, remembering how Jones would mix some of the milk into their mash, look forward to at least similar treatment from the pigs. However, the milk soon disappears and it is discovered later that the pigs have mixed it into their own mash without sharing it with the other animals, just as the windfall apples have been consumed exclusively by the pigs. Squealer, the political propagandist for the pigs, justifies this to the other animals by saying that the pigs need the extra brain energy, and then bolsters his argument with some fear mongering: “ Do you know what would happen if w pigs failed in our duty? Jones would be back!” (32).
The fact that this incident occurs so quickly after the revolution and at a time when all of the pigs are still present on the farm shows Orwell’s belief that the corruption is not only inevitable in a society where the ruling sector of the population is so much better educated than the rest, but that all of these members of the ruling class were potentially corruptible. As the story moves on Orwell shows us how power is corrupting more. Another of the major instance that occurs after the milk and apples is the ruling class moving in the farmhouse. As the commandment says no animal shall sleep in a bed. Some of the other animals were confused but as usual squealer came with his propaganda.