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Social Criticism In Literature Essay

1848 words - 8 pages

Many authors receive their inspiration for writing theirliterature from outside sources. The idea for a story could come fromfamily, personal experiences, history, or even their own creativity.For authors that choose to write a book based on historical events,the inspiration might come from their particular viewpoint on theevent that they want to dramatize. George Orwell and Charles Dickenswrote Animal Farm and A Tale of Two Cities, respectively, to expresstheir disillusionment with society and human nature. Animal Farm,written in 1944, is a book that tells the animal fable of a farm inwhich the farm animals revolt against their human masters. It is anexample of social criticism in ...view middle of the document...

Almostovernight we would become rich and free.'" (Orwell, 10) The otheranimals take this utopian idea to heart, and one day actually dorevolt and drive the humans out. Two pigs emerge as leaders: Napoleonand Snowball. They constantly argued, but one day, due to a differenceover plans to build a windmill, Napoleon exiled Snowball. Almostimmediately, Napoleon established a totalitarian government. Soon, thepigs began to get special favours, until finally, they wereindistinguishable from humans to the other animals. Immediately thereader can begin to draw parallels between the book's characters andthe government in 1917-44 Russia. For example, Old Major, who inventedthe idea of "animalism," is seen as representing Karl Marx, thecreator of communism. Snowball represents Trotsky, a Russian leaderafter the revolution. He was driven out by Napoleon, who representsStalin, the most powerful figure in the country. Napoleon thenproceeded to remove the freedoms of the animals, and established adictatorship, under the public veil of "animalism." Pigs represent theruling class because of their stereotype: dirty animals withinsatiable appetites. Boxer, the overworked, incredibly strong, dumbhorse represents the common worker in Russia. The two surroundingfarms represent two of the countries on the global stage with Russiaat the time, Germany and England.Orwell begins his book by criticizing the capitalists and rulingelite, who are represented in Animal Farm by Mr. Jones, the farmer. Heis shown as a negligent drunk, who constantly starved his animals."His character is already established as self-indulgent and uncaring."(King, 8) Orwell shows us how, "if only animals became aware of theirstrength, we should have no power over them, and that men exploitanimals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat."(Gardner, 97) What was established in Russia after the BolshevikRevolution was not true communism ("animalism"), which Orwell approvedof, where the people owned all the factories and land. Rather, "statecommunism" was established, where a central government owned them.Orwell thought that such a political system, "state communism," wasopen to exploitation by its leaders. Napoleon, after gaining completecontrol, did anything he wished - reserved the best for the pigs, andtreated the animals cruelly. The animals could not do anything, unlessthey again realized their strength in numbers against their own kind.Unfortunately, they were too stupid to realize this and accepted the"status quo." It began when the milk and apples were appropriated tothe pigs, and continued to when the pigs could drink and sleep onbeds, until finally the pigs were the "human masters" to the rest ofthe animals. Orwell criticized Germany, representing it as PinchfieldFarm, which betrayed Animal Farm by paying for lumber with counterfeitmoney. In real life, this represents the Soviet-Germany non-aggressionpact during World War II which Germany eventually broke. Eventually,towards...

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