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Animal Farm Critical - George Orwell has written his novel 'Animal Farm' on three levels.

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Introduction

Animal Farm Critical George Orwell has written his novel 'Animal Farm' on three levels. It works not only as a fictional tale, which could be conceived as a children's story, but also as an allegory of the Russian Revolution and a political or social warning. 'Animal Farm' is set on 'Manor Farm,' an establishment run poorly by the lazy, drunken Mr Jones. The animals on the farm are badly treated; they are not fed, milked or shut in properly. Inspired by the last words of a wise and idealistic pig, 'Old Major,' the animals evict Mr Jones and his family and take over the running of the farm. At first the farm is run on the principle of 'Animalism,' with all animals having equal rights and all human-related objects and ideas being abolished. However, as time progresses the pigs (in particular the cruel and deceitful Napoleon) grow hungry for power and deceive the other animals on their way to taking total control of the farm. The novel could be regarded as a children's story for various reasons. The first and probably most obvious of these is the anthropomorphism used - giving animals the ability to talk. Many children's books centre on talking animals, and this is seldom found in an adult-aimed novel. The easy to follow, linear plot line is also typical of a children's story - adult books tend to be more complicatedly structured, and narration too is more complex. Another aspect typical of children's stories is the idea of 'Good versus Evil.' ...read more.

Middle

He deflects the animal's attention away from the milk, sending them to work in the harvest. While they are away working hard, he takes the milk and apples for himself. He takes a completely opposite attitude to Snowball, who is working in the harvest himself at this time. This is only the first of many deceiving steps Napoleon takes towards gaining complete control of the farm. The first major action he takes is to take Jessie the collie's puppies, and train them to be savages. They are primarily used to get rid of the opponent, Snowball, chasing him out of the farm. Napoleon then employs them throughout the book to scare and intimidate animals to do what he wants: "the dogs sitting around Napoleon let out deep, menacing growls and the pigs fell silent." He trains sheep, too, to bleat continuously to silence anyone who is complaining, and also, earlier in the book, during points made by Snowball in discussions and speeches: "It was noticed that they (the sheep) were especially liable to break into 'Four legs good, two legs bad' at the crucial moments in Snowball's speeches." Bleating sheep at this time distract the animals' attention away from the speech and they do not take in what Snowball is saying, therefore only remembering comments and arguments made by Napoleon. In contrast to Snowball, Napoleon does not make any attempt to tutor the less clever animals on the farm: "Napoleon took no interest in Snowball's committees. He said that the education of the young was more important than anything that could be done for those who were already grown up." ...read more.

Conclusion

The last sentence is one of the most salient: "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it is impossible to say which was which." Orwell is warning us about not letting greed get out of hand, and also about not letting one person take control of everything. He is warning us about dictatorship, and the consequences that occur when one person gains complete control of everything and no one else has a say in anything. He is teaching us to stand up for ourselves, not believe everything we hear and to make sure our opinions are heard. I think Orwell believes that this kind of situation could arise in the future, and is telling the readers to make sure it does not. Society today is reflected in the novel; in some countries dictatorship is still practised and one person has power over everyone. The system in Iraq, until recently, is an example of this. The social warning applies closer to home as well - there is an increasing wealth gap in Britain which is illustrated by the increasing inequality that developed between the pigs and other animals in 'Animal Farm.' In conclusion, I find the novel successful as an allegory and a social warning. It could never be just a children's novel; there is too much irony and political nature in the text. I think Orwell's message is clear and well presented, in a novel with a striking ending which serves to warn us of the corrupting influence of power, and clearly conveys what Orwell thinks could happen to society, should it be left to it. ...read more.

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