Lord Bryon once said, “Fools are my theme, let satire be my song”. A satire is a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision,or ridicule (dic.com). A well recognized satire is George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Orwell wrote this allegorical novella in England when the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union was at its height and Stalin was held in highest esteem in Britain both among the people and government. George Orwell wrote Animal Farm to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole, thus addressing the downfall of the Russian Revolution which was caused by its corrupt leaders and ignorant citizens.
George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair. He was born on June 25th 1903 in Bengal, India to a British colonial civil servant. About a year after his birth, Orwell was brought back to England by his mother along with his older sister. He began writing poems at the age of four, ultimately getting one of his poems published in a local newspaper. In 1911 he went to St. Cyprian’s, on a partial scholarship, in the coastal town of Eastbourne, where he got his first taste of England’s class system. There he began to read the works of Rudyard Kipling and H. G. Wells. He was exceptionally intelligent that he received a scholarship to study at Eton college. After graduating, Orwell joined the India Imperial Police Force in 1922. After five years, he resigned his post and returned to England. He wanted to try his luck as a writer.
He would spend his time between England and Paris, thus writing his first major work Down and Out in Paris and London. He felt that it would embarrass his family, so he published it under the pseudonym George Orwell. He was not successful and began to take up any job offer just to make ends meet. He later published Burmese Days, which offered a dark look at British colonialism in Burma, then part of the country’s Indian empire. Orwell’s interest in political matters grew rapidly after this novel was published. In 1937, Orwell traveled to Spain, where he joined one of the groups fighting against General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
He was injured and left back for England. For years, Orwell had periods of sickness, and he was officially diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1938. Later, he landed a job with the BBC as a producer and in 1943 he became the literary editor for a socialist newspaper. Orwell is best known for two novels, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, both of which were published toward the end of his life. Animal Farm was published in 1945 and Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949. Orwell, however, was not able to enjoy his success due to his battle with tuberculosis. He died on January 21, 1950, in a London hospital.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, while the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separate it from continental Europe. It has a population of 53,013,000 inhabitants. The official language is British English. Christianity is the most widely practised religion in England. The major form of Christianity practised is Anglicanism. English folklore is big part of English Culture. Some of the characters and stories are present across England, but most belong to specific regions.
Common folkloric beings include pixies, giants, elves, bogeymen, trolls, goblins and dwarves. Since the Early Modern Period the food of England has historically been characterised by its simplicity of approach and a reliance on the high quality of natural produce. Traditional examples of English food include the Sunday roast, featuring a roasted joint served with assorted vegetables, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing and gravy. Other prominent meals include fish and chips and the full English breakfast.
Various meat pies and sausages are consumed by the British. Lancashire hotpot is a well known stew. Frequently consumed alcoholic drinks include wines, ciders and English beers, such as bitter, mild, stout, and brown ale. England has a strong sporting heritage, and during the 19th century codified many sports that are now played around the world. Sports originating in England include association football, cricket, and rugby. The basic political system in England is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary system. Today England is governed directly by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II and the prime minister is David Cameron MP.
Animal Farm was published by Orwell on August 17th , 1945. This novel shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people’s government is not achieved. The novel starts out with Old Major, a prize-winning boar, gathers the animals of the Manor Farm for a meeting in the big barn. He tells them of a dream he has had in which all animals live together with no human beings to oppress or control them. He tells the animals that they must work toward such a paradise and teaches them a song called “Beasts of England,” in which his dream vision is lyrically described. The animals greet Major’s vision with great enthusiasm. When he dies only three nights after the meeting, three younger pigs—Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer—formulate his main principles into a philosophy called Animalism.
Late one night, the animals manage to defeat the farmer Mr. Jones in a battle, running him off the land. They rename the property Animal Farm and dedicate themselves to achieving Major’s dream. At first, Animal Farm prospers. Snowball works at teaching the animals to read, and Napoleon takes a group of young puppies to educate them in the principles of Animalism. As time passes, however, Napoleon and Snowball increasingly quibble over the future of the farm, and they begin to struggle with each other for power and influence among the other animals. After chasing Snowball away, Napoleon assumes leadership of Animal Farm and declares that there will be no more meetings.
From that point on, he asserts, the pigs alone will make all of the decisions—for the good of every animal. Napoleon orders the animals to construct a windmill, and the animals devote their efforts to completing it. One day, after a storm, the animals find the windmill toppled. Napoleon claims that Snowball returned to the farm to sabotage the windmill. He uses this as an excuse to rid the farm of various animals who have allegedly participated in Snowball’s great conspiracy by giving them instant death at the teeth of the attack dogs. With his leadership unquestioned, Napoleon begins expanding his powers, rewriting history to make Snowball a villain. Napoleon also begins to act more and more like a human being by sleeping in a bed, drinking whisky, and engaging in trade with neighboring farmers.
The original Animalist principles strictly forbade such activities, but Squealer justifies every action to the other animals, convincing them that Napoleon is a great leader and is making things better for everyone even though the other animals are cold, hungry, and overworked. Mr. Frederick, a neighboring farmer, cheats Napoleon in the purchase of some timber and then attacks the farm and dynamites the windmill, which had been rebuilt at great expense. After the demolition of the windmill, a pitched battle ensues. Napoleon then sells his most loyal and long-suffering worker, Boxer, to a glue maker in order to get money for whisky. Years pass on Animal Farm, and the pigs become more and more like human being by walking upright, carrying whips, and wearing clothes.
Eventually, the seven principles of Animalism, known as the Seven Commandments and inscribed on the side of the barn, become reduced to a single principle reading “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Napoleon entertains a human farmer named Mr. Pilkington at a dinner and declares his intent to ally himself with the human farmers against the laboring classes of both the human and animal communities. He also changes the name of Animal Farm back to the Manor Farm, claiming that this title is the “correct” one.
Looking in at the party of elites through the farmhouse window, the common animals can no longer tell which are the pigs and which are the human beings. The story is meant to symbolize the downfall of the Russian Revolution and the corruption of Stalin. Old Major represents Karl Marx, as he originated Communism, hence Animalism. Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, while Snowball represents Leon Trotsky. The attack dogs represent the Red Army, while Boxer represents the soviet workers.
The rise of Stalin after the Russian Revolution inspired Orwell to write Animal Farm. It is satire on equality, where all barnyard animals live free from their human masters’ tyranny. Inspired to rebel by Major, an old boar, animals on Mr. Jones’ Manor Farm embrace Animalism and stage a revolution to achieve an idealistic state of justice and progress. A power-hungry pig, Napoleon, becomes a totalitarian dictator who leads the Animal Farm into “All Animals Are Equal / But Some Are More Equal Than Others” oppression. As an English author, Orwell traditionally used fictional characters to represent actual humans. The novel is an exceptional work of satire and meets its purpose of portraying the truth about the Soviet Union and turning point of the Russian Revolution.
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