George Orwell: Animal Farm

George Orwell wrote Animal Farm soon after resigning from his job at the British broadcasting corporation in 1943, otherwise known as the BBC, while working as the literary editor for the Tribune, in London. George Orwell didn’t write a single novel during the three years he was working at the BBC, and was having a difficult time writing all together, World War II was pretty active. Orwell managed to complete his novel Animal Farm in a short period of four months.

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It was about a year later where he finally found someone who would publish it, followed by another year before it was finally made public. Animal Farm is by far George Orwell’s most highly acclaimed piece of art.

George Orwell called Animal Farm the first in which I tried, with complete awareness of what I was doing, to spark political purpose and artistic purpose into one piece. As soon as Animal Farm was published, it was nothing but a huge success, and very soon after it was published, it was already established as a modern classic. A very short novel, written simply, effectively, and fluently, A completely drastic departure compared to anything George Orwell had produced or would produce.

The book was ahead of its time. The Soviet Union were fighting with allied forces in World War II, and the book was seen as a direct attack on Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. Soon later after World War II, the book was published to the public. In that time, the political situation was pretty different, and right at the brink of the cold war, is when Animal Farm came to light.

Animal Farm abounds with allegory, which begins with Old Major, (Representing Vladimir Lenin), who recalls Karl Marx. Every scene and character may be seen as a representation of a symbolic historical event and figure in Russia during the years 1917 between 1943. George Orwell mentioned that the books purpose was the destruction of the Soviet myth. The flag which is raised by the animals, with hoof and horn, is pretty similar to the Russian Soviet flag of a hammer and sickle. Napoleon is generally likened to Stalin. The way Snowball is, and the actions, are thought to resemble closely to those of Leon Trotsky. The name Snowball also recalls Leon Trotsky’s white hair and beard, and most likely also that he fell apart under Joseph Stalin’s opposition. The Scenario in which Snowball is hounded away from the farm is similar to Leon Trotsky’s ejection from Russia in 1929. The book is fantastically written with such precise subtlety and sophistication, although, someone who is completely unaware of Russian history might as well just see it as another nicely written animal story and not understand the truth behind it.

Reading the book strictly to find reference to Russian history misses a key factor, Orwell stated that the book is intended as a satire on dictatorship in general. The name of the ruling pig, Napoleon, is a reminder that there have been dictators outside Russia. Not only targeting Stalin in particular, but totalitarianism is the George Orwell’s enemy number one.

The problem here that George Orwell faces is how to combine power with ideals. How do the oppressed who rise above their oppressors manage to keep from becoming like the oppressors? That’s the question, with this book, Orwell gives an instance of the slave coming to resemble the master after attempting to overthrow him. There is not a happy ending in this one. Right from the beginning of the story, the dogs are against the rats, indicating an animal government in which social justice will never be obtained.

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