How does Orwell use the fable form to explore ideas about power in Animal Farm?
Remember to write about the society in which the stories are set.
Orwell wrote this play to illustrate the Russian revolution. He used the animals to symbolise the main characters in the Russian Revolution. The moral of this fable is that power can corrupt anyone if they are not careful.
Animal Farm is used to represent Russia in the time when Stalin was ruling Russia. Orwell represents the populations of Russia through the animals. Boxer is used to represent the community of Russia that did just as Stalin liked and didn’t question his word. When the dogs attacked him he held them down with his hoof with ease. “Boxer looked at Napoleon to know whether he should crush the dog to death or let it go.” He doesn’t understand that the dogs were sent to attack him by Napoleon. This shows just how imprudent Boxer is. He is not as clever as Napoleon at all. If Boxer had a brain as good as a pig he would have been a great leader of the farm.
Snowball is meant to symbolise Leon Trotsky and how he tries to do good for the country. Snowball has many attributes. He is a very helpful character and tried to help all the animals on the farm.” He formed the Egg production Committee… the clean Tails League…, the wild Comrades’ Re-education Committee” This shows that Snowball is dedicated to spreading the word of Old Major’s revolutionary ideas and teaching the animals to run the farm themselves.
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However he is not all good as he agrees with the other pigs to steal the sugar for themselves and not to share with the other animals. “We have no means of making sugar on this farm. Besides, you do not need sugar. You will have all the oats and hay you want”. It shows how decisive Snowball can be as well as a kind-hearted character. His ruthlessness is shown when he says “the only good human is a dead one”.
Snowball’s ruthlessness makes us wonder how different the revolution would have been under him. Although the one thing that was Snowball’s greatest downfall was his innocence to Napoleon. It was the same case for Trotsky he was naïve about Stalin and this lead to his death. The same happened to Snowball his innocence to Napoleon’s cunning plan of using the dogs which in turn led to his exile from the farm. Snowball is a good character to see how if power is used in the right way then is can bring great prosperity with it for all.
Napoleon is a very brutal character in this novel and is used to signify Joseph Stalin. They share many qualities. Joseph Stalin was not a good speaker and neither was Napoleon. When Snowball was around he always won the votes of the meetings. Napoleon did not like Snowball opposing him o he simply exiled him from the farm with the help of his guard dogs. Napoleon may not be a good speaker but he was certainly good at tricking the population into thinking that whatever he said was correct. A good example is Boxer’s motto “Napoleon is always right!” This is a great example of a character that was power hungry. Napoleon went to such extents to have power. He killed anyone that opposed him just like Stalin did. Squealer helped him get to his position of being head of the farm with his clever use of words.
I think this is very ironic the way Orwell uses and makes the pigs seem like the clever one when in real life we think that pigs are dumb and don’t have much importance. He made his point very clear to the reader that all humans are entitled to their own freedom and rights. He uses this point even further. “All animals are equal.” Then he cleverly changed it to show the reader how Stalin came along and cleverly change the way Russia was ruled and thought. “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” This shows just how much he must have brain-washed the other animals into thinking that he was the only animal on the farm that mattered.
This exactly what Stalin did in Russia he brainwashed the people of Russia to believe that he was the best and the only thing that mattered and without him they wouldn’t exit and can’t live without. He uses the seven commandments made by the animals on the farm to the sheep are a very good example of the people in Russia oblivious to what is actually happening in the farm. IT also shows that power has a clear line but very thin line and it is very tempting to use the wrong way and unfortunately for Napoleon he fell into that trap.
Orwell links the Russian revolution tactfully with the story of Animal Farm. Every event that happened on Animal Farm has a meaning or symbolises something that happened in real life in the revolution. Old Major’s last words before he died were on Animalism. He had dreamed of a day when no animals were bounded by man and treated as second best and didn’t have to give what they produced to a human. These ideas echo many of Marx’s theories. After the rebellion the pigs attempted to create Major’s ideal society. Trotsky and Lenin established a Communist society where all wages were split equally between individuals. The battle of the Cowshed represents when the Tsar’s loyal forces tried to regain Russia again but Trotsky’s brilliant command over the Red Army meant the Bolsheviks stayed in power.
Overall we see power and the ways in which corrupt figures can gain and manipulate power for their own purposes. We see how the tyrant, Napoleon makes Snowball seem like an evil, manipulating and corrupt character when the real evil person is himself. Dictators like to rewrite history in order to flatter themselves and that is exactly what Napoleon did. He awarded himself two awards for bravery and claimed that the windmill was all his idea and how Snowball had stolen it from him. He also says how the victory of the Battle of the cowshed was all thanks to him and Snowball takes all his credit. “And do you not remember, too, … Napoleon sprang forward with a cry “Death to humanity!” and sank his teeth in Jones’s leg? Surely you remember that, comrades?” exclaimed Squealer frisking from side to side”. This shows how well Squealer manipulates the animals’ thoughts and memories.
Weighing up the evidence we can see that this fable doesn’t use characters that behave in a realistic way but are symbolic of certain attitudes. Although unlike most fables, the ending of Animal farm is ambiguous. There is no clear sense of how life will turn out for the animals. Even though no clear moral is stated Orwell’s message throughout the text is clear.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
A good piece of analysis that considers many of the links between the book and its characters and how they are used to represent Communist Russia. Although considering this comparison, I would like to see more specific analysis of language, structure and form and links made within the text. 4 Stars