Critical Review of Animal Farm

“Animal Farm” Bibliography: Orwell, George. “Animal Farm. ” New York: Penguin Books Ltd, 1989 Introduction and Summary: Animal farm is an animal fable with a deliberate purpose. It is very realistic about society and its politics. There are a number of conflicts in Animal Farm: the animals versus Mr. Jones, Snowball versus Napoleon, the common animals versus the pigs, Animal Farm versus the neighbouring humans, but all of them are expressions of the underlying tension between the oppressors and oppressed classes and between the naive ideals and harsh realities of socialism.

In the novel, the animals throw off their human oppressors and establish a state called Animal Farm; the pigs, being the most intelligent animals in the group, take control of the planning and government of the farm; Snowball and Napoleon engage in ideological disputes and compete for power. Napoleon runs Snowball off the farm with his trained pack of dogs and declares that the power to make decisions for the farm will be exercised solely by the pigs.

Squealer emerges to justify Napoleon’s actions with skilful but double-dealing reinterpretations of Animalist principles; Napoleon continues to consolidate his power, eliminating his enemies and reinforcing his status as supreme leader while the common animals continue to obey the pigs, hoping for a better future. Evaluation and Analysis: The book does flow very smoothly. It affected me because on reading it, I waited impatiently to see if the animals would eventually revolt or leave the farm for real equality. But unfortunately, they conformed and adjusted to mistreatment.

The story is told from the point of view of the common animals of Animal Farm, though it refers to them in the third person plural as “they. ” The writer style is omniscient. He analyzes the characters and tells the story in a way that shows that he knows more about the characters than they know about themselves. The tone of the novel is objective, stating external facts and rarely deviating from the animals’ expectations of equality. The tone of the story was to show the obvious irony; they wanted a more just policy, but their own leaders became what they revolted against in the first place.

Animal Farm shows that the author does not appear conspicuously as a narrator or major character. The anonymous narrator of the story is almost a nonentity, and was not bias in relating the story. Animal Farm is set in an unspecified time period and it shows that the book can be contemporary. I believe it is a lesson or a philosophical insight of how power can destroy a country’s democracy. What I observed in this novel and one of the novel’s most impressive accomplishments is its portrayal not just of the figures in power, pigs, but also of the oppressed animals themselves.

Animal Farm is not told from the perspective of any particular character. Rather, the story is told from the perspective of the common animals as a whole. Gullible, loyal, and hardworking, these animals give Orwell a chance to show how situations of oppression arise not only from the motives and tactics of the pigs but also from the animals’ unawareness of being oppressed. When presented with a dilemma, Boxer prefers not to puzzle out the implications of various possible actions but instead to repeat to himself, “Napoleon is always right. ” I believe that was his comfort to any wrong or doubt that may arise.

Animal Farm demonstrates how the inability or unwillingness to question authority condemns the working class to suffer the full extent of the ruling class’s oppression. It is also impressive that Orwell showed how the pigs used a tactic to abuse language as an instrument to abuse their power. Language was manipulated as an instrument of control. In Animal Farm, the pigs gradually twist and distort the commandments of the revolution to justify their behaviour and decriminalize the pigs’ treacheries and to keep the other animals in the dark. The animals’ most elusive destination was Sugarcandy Mountain.

Sugarcandy Mountain is used to symbolize the Christian concept of Heaven. All the animals aspire to go there. Moses, the special raven of Mr. Jones, and later Napoleon, is the vehicle from which the working class hears about this land where clover and sugar is unmeasured and free to everyone and inequality is non existent. Alcohol on the Animal farm was originally seen as a grave evil of the new regime. Old Major repeatedly warns the animals against taking on Man’s ways, but his concerns are not heeded. Really it was the issue of alcohol that made many of the animals suspicious of the pigs.

Thus, Napoleon had Squealer change the commandments. The reason Jones lost control of the farm and began being cruel to the animals was because of alcohol. It symbolizes, more than anything, a corrupt government, a government drunk on prosperity which never goes down to the common animal. Jones lost power over the animals when he became drunk and lazy; hopefully even Napoleon will eventually be overthrown because of the alcohol he intakes. When the pigs moved into the farmhouse it represents in many ways the very place where greed and lust dominate.

Unlike the barn, which is the fortress of the common man, the genuine concept of socialism, the farmhouse, where Napoleon and the pigs take over symbolises their betrayal. What I also observed with the book are the type of animals Orwell used to take over the other animals; pigs and dogs. Pigs are generally very greedy animals and Orwell used pigs as a metaphor to show the type of leaders we have in some societies. Dogs are ‘master’s best friend’ and this shows how they obeyed their master no matter what the circumstances without thinking.

The only reason people in contemporary society would call their leader a pig is if they lead selfishly. It was a brilliant idea to use the pigs as the selfish, lazy and greedy leaders in Animal Farm to demonstrate leaders in a capitalist government. Character Analysis The key characters in the book are Napoleon, Old Major, Snowball, Boxer and Squealer. Snowball appeals to me the most because Snowball emerges as a fervent ideologue who throws himself, heart and soul into the attempt to spread Animalism worldwide and to improve Animal Farm’s infrastructure.

His idealism, however, leads to his downfall. Relying only on the force of his own logic and rhetorical skill to gain his influence, he proves no match for Napoleon’s show of brute force. Orwell describes Snowball as a pig very similar to Napoleon— at least in the early stages. Both pigs wanted a leadership position in the “new” economic and political system (which is actually contradictory to the whole supposed system of equality). But as time goes on, they both eventually realize that one of them will have to step down. Orwell says that the two were always arguing. These two disagreed at every point disagreement was possible. ” Although Orwell depicts Snowball in a relatively appealing light, he refrains from idealizing his character, making sure to endow him with certain moral flaws. For example, Snowball basically accepts the superiority of the pigs over the rest of the animals. Orwell suggests that we cannot eliminate government corruption by electing principled individuals to roles of power; he reminds us throughout the novel that it is power itself that corrupts. Napoleon is Orwell’s chief villain in Animal Farm.

Napoleon, the pig, is really the central character on the farm. Comrade Napoleon represents the human frailties of any revolution. Orwell believed that although socialism is good as an ideal, it can never be successfully adopted due to uncontrollable sins of human nature. For example, although Napoleon seems as first to be a good leader, he is eventually overcome by greed and soon becomes power-hungry. Orwell explains, “Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer–except, of course for the pigs and the dogs.    Napoleon gave me the impression from the very beginning of the novel that he emerges as an utterly corrupt opportunist. Though always present at the early meetings of the new state, Napoleon never makes a single contribution to the revolution—not to the formulation of its ideology, not to the bloody struggle that it necessitates, not to the new society’s initial attempts to establish itself. He never shows interest in the strength of Animal Farm itself, only in the strength of his power over it.

Thus, the only project he undertakes with enthusiasm is the training of a litter of puppies. He doesn’t educate them for their own good or for the good of all, however, but rather for his own good: they become his own private army or secret police, a violent means by which he forces his will on others. Squealer is an intriguing character in Orwell’s Animal Farm. He’s first described as a manipulator and persuader. He is the link between Napoleon and other animals. Throughout his career, Orwell explored how politicians manipulate language in an age of mass media.

In Animal Farm, the silver-tongued pig Squealer abuses language to justify Napoleon’s actions and policies to the other animals by whatever means seem necessary. Orwell narrates, “He could turn black into white. ”  This means he could make every complaint and doubt sound trivial and package it so neatly and pretty that the animals themselves are brainwashed into thinking that they are over exaggerating the situation and treatment. He tries to show that Napoleon is always right and whatever Napoleon decides to do, it is for their (the animals) best interest.

He tends to mask evil intensions of the pigs so the other animals will give very little resistance and believe that they were initially wrong. Squealer, by complicating language unnecessarily, he confuses and intimidates the uneducated and he uses high vocabulary of false and impenetrable statistics, bringing about in the other animals both self-doubt and a sense of hopelessness about ever accessing the truth without the pigs’ mediation. Squealer’s name also fits him well: squealing, of course, refers to a pig’s typical form of vocalization.

At the same time, to squeal also means to betray, demonstrating Squealer’s behaviour with regard to his fellow animals. Squealer’s lack of conscience and unwavering loyalty to his leader, alongside with his use of words, make him the perfect animal for any tyranny. Old Major is the first major character described by Orwell in Animal Farm. This “purebred” of pigs is the kind, grand fatherly philosopher of change. Major, serves as the source of the ideals that the animals continue to uphold even after their pig leaders have betrayed them.

It’s interesting that Orwell does not mention Napoleon or Snowball anytime during the great speech of old Major. This shows how distant and out-of-touch they really were. It almost seemed as though the pigs fed off old Major’s inspiration and then used it to benefit themselves instead of following through on the old Major’s honest proposal. Though his portrayal of Old Major is largely positive, there are a few small ironies that I noticed about the pig’s motives.

For instance, in the midst of his long lists of complaints about how the animals have been treated by human beings, Old Major is forced to concede that his own life has been long, full, and free from the terrors he has vividly sketched for the animals. He seems to have claimed a false brotherhood with the other animals in order to garner their support for his vision. Unfortunately when Napoleon and Squealer take over, old Major becomes more and more a distant fragment of the past in the minds of the farm animals. Boxer is the most sympathetically drawn character in the novel.

Boxer and Clover, the lower class is naturally drawn to Napoleon because it seems as though they will benefit most from his new system. Since Boxer and the other low animals are not accustomed to the “good life,” they can’t really compare Napoleon’s government to the life they had before under the Mr. Jones. Also, since usually the lowest class has the lowest intelligence, it is not difficult to persuade them into thinking they are getting a good deal. Boxer and Clover are also quite good at convincing each other that all the pigs’ ideas are good ideas.

Orwell supports this contention when he narrates, “Their most faithful disciples were the two carthorses, Boxer and Clover. Those two had great difficulty in thinking anything out for themselves, but having once accepted the pigs as their teachers, they absorbed everything that they were told, and passed it on to the other animals by simple arguments. ”   Truly Boxer is the biggest poster-child for gullibility and naivety. Boxer represents all of the best qualities of the exploited working classes: dedication, loyalty, and a huge capacity for labour.

He also, however, suffers from the working class’s major weaknesses: a naive trust in the good intentions of the “intelligent” pigs and an inability to recognize even the most blatant forms of political corruption. Boxer’s pitiful death at a glue factory dramatically illustrates the extent of the pigs’ betrayal. Mollie is one of Orwell’s minor characters, but she represents something very important. Mollie is the animal who is a vain, flighty mare who craves for attention of human beings and loves being groomed and pampered.

She doesn’t care much about the politics of the whole situation; she just wants to tie her hair with ribbons and eat sugar, things her social status won’t allow. Many animals consider her a traitor when she is seen being petted by a human from a neighbouring farm. Mollie characterizes the typical middle-class skilled worker who suffers from this new communism concept. No longer will she get her sugar (nice salary) because she is now just as low as the other animals, like Boxer and Clover. Mollie is used to characterize the people after any rebellion who aren’t too receptive to new leaders and new economics.

There are always those resistant to change. Conclusion As a reader in contemporary society, it is amazing to read a book that subtly describes how capitalism in certain countries is run by government. In this book it represents how unfair and unjust politics can become. Even though it may not be evident to the society, it happens. Power seems to be of more importance than morale. In my country, corruption is its middle name and the thing about the people is that they know and are aware that corruption occurs but the people are too timid and coward to act.

We are brilliant at speculating and talking but an amateur in acting positively to actually lead and not continually follow corruption and talk. What I liked most about the book is that it can show all societies how easily it is for our minds to be brainwashed. It can also demonstrate to government that power can only make you look and smell like a pig; greedy and selfish. I would recommend this book to anyone who is very individualistic and opinionated and who tends to take the initiative into doing something not for only themselves but for the greater good for their fellow brothers. All men are equal, non are more equal than others.

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