Animal Farm: Orwell’s True Intent
A wise boar, Old Major, expresses a dream of a world where animals live with no human oppression to the rest of the animals in Manor Farm. However, only three days after his speech, he dies, leaving three younger pigs to take over his place and lead the other animals toward Major’s dream. They create the Seven Commandments of Animalism, which set values against acting human-like, and paint them on the wall of the barn. One night, the animals succeed in rebelling against Mr. Jones, the owner of the farm. Initially, farming goes well after the rebellion. However, one of the power-hungry pigs, Napoleon, begins to run a totalitarian dictatorship with an eloquent pig, Squealer, by his side. He also trains puppies, whom he takes from their parents, into vicious guard dogs and uses them to enforce his plans. One by one, the Seven Commandments are broken and altered by Napoleon, who gradually acts more and more human-like. Finally, only one rule remains on the barn wall, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” (Orwell 133). Napoleon and the other pigs eventually walk upright, wear clothing, indulge in alcohol, and even sleep on beds (all of which were originally forbidden in the Seven Commandments), while the other animals work all day with little food. By the end of the book, the other farm animals can no longer tell the difference between the pigs and humans when other human farmers are invited over for dinner. “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” (Orwell 139).
Animal Farm was written by George Orwell and first published in 1945, immediately after the second world war. Orwell intended it to be an allegorical piece of the rise and fall of socialism and the emergence of the Stalinist government thereafter. Joseph Stalin, the leader of Soviet Russia at the time, implemented an official ban of the book as soon as it was translated into Russian (Blair). The book was banned for criticizing the government’s methods and ideology; it should have been taken as a proposed amendment rather than an attack on the government.
One of the reasons this book is considered so controversial is its close parallelism to the Russian Revolution. The main characters of Animal Farm each represent its major participants. Mr. Jones acts as the former czar, Napoleon assumes the role of Stalin, who, as in the book, seizes power and runs a totalitarian regime, Napoleon's dogs takes the place of Stalin's secret police, and Squealer represents the Soviet newspaper, Pravda (used as propaganda). Although all the farm animals work hard to approach their utopian society, Napoleon manipulates them for his own greed and uses his vicious dogs to suppress any opposition, just as Stalin rid of opposition with his secret police in the “Great Purge” and manipulated the people for his own capitalistic...