: Animal Farm

: Animal Farm

It is the history of a revolution that went wrong and of the excellent

excuses that were forthcoming at every step for the perversion of the

original doctrine, wrote Orwell in the original blurb for the first edition

of Animal Farm in 1945. His simple and tragic fable has become a world-famous

classic of English prose.

George Orwell is the pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair. The change of the name

corresponded to a profound shift in Orwells life-style, in which he changed

from a pillar of the British imperial establishment into a literary and

political rebel.

Orwell is famous for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four. In

1944 Orwell finished Animal Farm, a political fable based on the story of the

Russian Revolution and its betrayal by Joseph Stalin. In this book the group

of barnyard animals overthrow and chase off their exploitative human masters

and set up an egalitarian society of their own. Eventually the animals

intelligent and power-loving leaders, the pigs, subvert the revolution and

form a dictatorship whose bondage is even more oppressive a heartless than

that of their former masters.

Orwell derived his inspiration from the mood of Britain in the 40s. Animal

Farm confronted the unpalatable truth that the victory over Fascism would in

some respects unwittingly aid the advance of totalitarianism , while in

Nineteen Eighty-four warns the dangers to the individual of enroaching

collectivism. In these last, bleak fables Orwell attempted to make the art of

political writing in the traditions of Swift and Defoe. The most world-known

Gullivers Travels. This satire? First published in 1726, relates to the

adventures of Lemuel Gulliver, a surgeon on a merchant ship, and it shows

the vices and defects of man and human institutions. So far as satire has

become the subject of our research-work, it is necessary we look at the

nature and sources of comic.

What is comic? Similar considerations apply to the historically earlier forms

and theories of the comic. In Aristotles view laughter was intimately

related to ugliness and debasement. Cicero held that the province of the

ridiculous lay in the certain baseness and deformity. In 19th century

Alexander Bain, an early experimental psychologist, thought alone these lines

not in physical effects alone, but in everything where a man can achieve a

stroke of superiority, in surpassing or discomforting a rival is the

disposition of laughter apparent. Sidney notes that while laughter comes

from delight not all objects of delight cause laugh. We are ravished in

delight to see a fair woman and yet are far from being moved to laughter. We

laugh at deformed creatures, wherein certainly we can delight. Immanuel Kant

realized that what causes laughter is the sudden transformation of a tense

expectation into nothing. This can be achieved by incongruity between form

and content, it is when two contradictory statements have been telescoped

into a line whose homely, admonitory sound conveys the impression of a

popular adage. In a similar way nonsense verse achieves its effect by

pretending to make sense. It is interesting to note that the most memorable

feature of Animal Farm the final revision of the animals revolutionary

commandments: All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than

others, is based on that device.

Other sources of innocent laughter are situations in which the part and the

home change roles and attention becomes focused on a detail torn out of the

functional defect on which its meaning depends. A birds wing, comrades, is

an organ of propulsion not of manipulation. Orwell displaces attention from

meaning to spelling. One of the most popular comic devices is impersonation.

The most aggressive form of impersonation is parody, designed to deflate

hollow pretense, to destroy illusion and to undermine pathos by harping on

the weaknesses of the victim. Orwell resorts to that device describing

Squealer: The best known among them was a small fat pig named Squealer with

very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements and a shrill voice. He

was a brilliant talker:

A succession of writers from the ancient Greek dramatist Aristophanes through

Swift to George Orwell, have used this technique to focus attention on

deformities of society that, blunted by habit , are taken for granted. Satire

assumes standards against which professions and practices vicious, the ironic

perception darkens and deepens. The element of the incongruous point in the

direction of the grotesque which implies an admixture of elements that do not

march. The ironic gaze eventually penetrates to a vision of the grotesque

quality of experience, marked by the discontinuity of word and deed and the

total lack of coherence between the appearance and reality. This suggests one

of the extreme limits of comedy, the satiric extreme in which the sense of

the discrepancy between things as they are and things they might be or ought

to be has reached to the borders of the tragedy.

Early theories of humor, including even those of Bergson and Freud, treated

it as an isolated phenomenon, without attempting to throw light on the

intimate connections between the comic and tragic, between laughter and

crying. Yet these two domains of creative activity form a continuum with no

sharp boundaries between wit and ingenuity. The confrontation between diverse

codes of behavior may yield comedy, tragedy or new psychological insights.

Humor arouses malice and provides a harmless outlet for it. Comedy and

tragedy, laughter and weeping yields further clues of this challenging

problem. The detached malice of the comic impersonator that turns pathos into

bathos, tragedy into travesty. Comedy is an imitation of common errors of our

life, which representeth in the most ridiculous and scornful sorts that may

be.

Surely satire reflects changes in political and cultural climate and it had

its ups and downs. George Orwells satire of the 20th century is much more

savage than that of Jonathan Swift in 18th century. It is only in the mid

20th century that the savage and the irrational have come to be viewed as

part of the normative condition of the humanity rather than as tragic

aberration from it. The savage and irrational amount to grotesque parodies of

human possibility, ideally conceived. Thus it is the 20th century novelists

have recognized the tragicomic nature of the contemporary human image and

predicament, and the principal mode of representing both is the grotesque.

This may take various forms. In Animal Farm it takes a form of apocalyptic

nightmare of tyranny and terror.

The satire in Animal Farm has two important aims both based on the

related norms of limitation and moderation. First, Animal Farm exposes and

criticizes extremist political attitudes as dangerous. On the one hand, it

satirizes the mentality of the utopian revolutionary the belief at through

the conscious effort of a ruling elite a society can be suddenly severed from

its past and fashioned into a new, rational system. Implicit in Snowballs

vision of high technology modernization is the extirpation of the animals

resent agricultural identity as domesticated creatures and if Boxers goal of

improving his mind is any indication , their eventual transformation into

Houyhnhnms. Instead, Snowballs futuristic incantations conjure up the

power-hungry and pleasure-loving Napoleon.

An allegorical view of reality the thing said or displayed really meaning

something elsesuited the Marxist-oriented social criticism of the

1930s,which was indefatigable in pointing out an economically self-serving

motives underlying the surface features of modern bourgeois society. One

form of allegory is the masque, a spectacle with masked participants.

Analyzing the novel we can hardly determine comedy from tragedy. We cant

find those sharp boundaries which divide these two. Orwell can be called the

true expert of mans psychology. Cause only a man who studied psychology of

the crowd could create such a vivid image of characters, which we see in

Animal Farm. Describing the characters Orwell attaches great significance to

the direct remarks which help the reader to determine who is the victim and

who is hunter in the novel. The features of the animals are : A white stripe

down his nose gave him somewhat stupid appearance, Mollie , foolish, pretty

white mare. Stupidity becomes a kind of leitmotif in the description of the

animals. Pigs on the contrary are represented as very clever animals: the

pigs were so clever that they could think of the way round every difficulty,

with their superior knowledge...

The author creates the image of the crowd which plays a very important role

in the novel. What is a crowd? This is not only mass of individuals if to

look deeper from the psychological point of view we shall find out that

crowd is a gathering of people under the definite conditions which has its

traits, which differ from that of single individual. The conscious person

disappears , besides feelings and ideas of everyone who forms that gathering

which is called crowd, receive united , indivisible direction. Orwell

ridiculed that vice of the society. In this respect it takes the form of

innocent laughter. Old Major found an answer to all problems of the animals

and opened the thing on which the support and pleasure of their days depend

on. It is summed up in a single word Man. Man is the only real enemy we

have. That episode makes the reader laugh but at the same time this very

moment can be considered the tragic one, as the victim of the crowd has been

chosen and pointed out and now nothing can stop the proces. 'It is not

crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the ivels of the life of ours spring

ffrom the tyrany of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our

labour would be our own.Almost overnight we can become rich and free.

Major provides animals with scapegoat. In the nature of individual the image

of an enemy excites aggressiveness but in the dimensions of the crowd the

hostility increases thousands times. S.Moskovichy wrote in his book The

machine that creates Gods, that society is ruled by passions on which one

should play and even stimulate them in order to have an opportunity to rule

them and to subordinate to intellect. Having read that episode we dont pay

attention to its deep psychological sense, but simply enjoy the humor with

which the author speaks of it.

Orwell uses very popular device he gives the description of the character

and at the end he gives a short remark which completely destroy the created

image: Old Major was so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite

ready to lose an hours sleep in order to hear what he had to say... they

nestled down inside it and promptly fell asleep,she purred contentedly

throughout Majors speech without listerning to a word of what he was saying.

He uses the same device in the situation when Old Major is telling the

animals about the song : Many years ago when I was a little pig, my mother

and other sows used to sing an old song of which they knew only the tune and

the first three words I had known that tune in infancy , but it had long

since past out of my mind, last night however it came back to me in my

dream. The reader is carefully prepared to hear some kind of patriotic march

but instead of that the author in one sentence breaks down the created image:

It was a stirring tune something between Clementine and La

Cucaracha.Through those short remarks we learn the attitude the author

towards what is going on in his novel. He laughs at his heroes pretending

that the things he speaks about to be very important while making the reader

understand the contrary thing.We can see hear again an integral part of any

kind of humour-incongruity between the reality and the situation as it is

said to be. The lack of coherance between things in its turn lead to the

very invisible boundary between comedy and tragedy.

Orwells novel is always balancing between tragedy and comedy. In Animal Farm

Orwell is exposing the selfish power-hunger of the few behind a collectivist

rhetoric used to gull the many . And in at least two Orwells allegorical

exposure is also an exposure of allegory. Because the surface fiction tends

to be considered of lesser importance than the implied meaning , allegory is

inherently hierarchical , and the insistence on the dominant meaning makes it

an authoritarian mode.

If allegory tends to subordinate narrative to thesis, the structure of

allegory, its dualistic form, can be emphasized to restore a balance

between fictional events and conceptual massage. In Animal Farm there are

signs of a balance struck between satiric devices allegorically martialed to

expose and assault a dangerous political myth and collateral apolitical

elements the latter akin to the solid objects and useless scraps of

information.

Orwell allows the reader to fix disgust at cruelty, torture and violence on

one leading characterNapoleon. The way Orwell presents the figure is

structural, in that the figure of the Napoleon clarifies his political

intent for the reader. There is no doubt about the way the reader feels

toward Napoleon, but Orwells handling of him is all the more effective for

combining humor with the disgust.Napoleon was a large, rather fierce

looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker

but with the reputation for going his own way.

Orwell presents Napoleon to us in ways they are, at first amusing as, for

example, in the scene where he shows his pretended disdain at Snowballs

plans for the windmill, by lifting his leg and urinating on the chalked

floor. One day ,however, he arrived unexpectedly to examine the plans. He

walked heavily round the shed, looked closely at every detail of the plans

and snuffed at them once or twice, then stood for a little while

contemplating them out of the corner of his eye; then suddenly he lifted his

leg, urinated over the plans and walked out without uttering a word. The

increasing tension of description is broken down immediately this makes the

reader smile. Besides the author speaks of Napoleons ridiculous deeds in

such a natural way, as that is the normal kind of behavior that we just

cant stand laughing. Napoleon produced no schemes of his own, but said

quietly that Snowballs would come to nothing. Napoleon is seen to have no

respect for Snowball who creates the plans. This is most apparent in his

urinating on them which emphasises his brutal and uncivilised character.

Animals urinate on objects to mark their territory. This is symbolic as

Napoleon later takes the idea for the windmill as his own.

On the allegorical level the differing views of socialism held by Trotsky and

Stalin are apparent. In contrast with Snowballs speeches, Napoleon merely

makes the minimum response and when he does speak it is usually to criticise

Snowball. Speech becomes less and less important to Napoleon. The sheep with

their mindless bleating effectively silence the opposing opinions as no-one

else can be heard. It was noticed that they were specially liable to break

Four legs good, two legs bad in the crucial moments of Snowballs speeches.

Snowballs reduction of Animalism for the benefit of stupider animals and the

way the sheep mindlessly take it up , parodies the way socialist ideology

reduces itself to simply formulas that everyone can understand, but which

stop any kind of thought. In the Communist Manifesto, for example, there is

the following sentence : The theory of the communists may be summed up in

the single sentence: Abolition of private property. Set this beside the

basic principle of Animalism: Four legs good, two legs bad. Orwells

feelings about dangers of over simplification are clear. The more short the

statement is the more it is deprived from any kind of provement, the more it

influences the crowd. The statement exert influence only if it is repeated

very often, in the same words. Napoleon said that there is only one figure

of the theory of orators art,which deserves attention repetition. By the

means of repetition an idea installs in the minds so deeply, that at last it

is considered to be the proved truth.

What the truth is? The Russian dictionary gives the difinition of truth

as:the truth is ,what corresponds to the reality. But is it always so? Very

often it happens so that we exept as the true the false things which we want

to be true, or the things that someone whant us to exept. That is one of the

most intresting perculiarities of mans psychology, that Orwell

ridicules.There is one univerce truth , but the man has a strange habit to

purvert truth.

Napoleon appears to have gained the support of dogs and sheep and is helped

by the fickle nature of the crowd.

From the start it seems, Napoleon turns events to his own advantage. When the

farm is attacked in the Battle of Cowshed, Napoleon is nowhere to be seen.

Cowardice is hinted ft and his readiness to rewrite history later in the

novel shows the ways in which Napoleon is prepared to twist the truth for

his own ends. The Seven Commandments in which are condified the ethnical

absolutes of the new order, are perverted throughout the book to suit his

aims.

There is an interesting thing to notice about Seven Commandments. That is an

important device to use the lucky number to deepen the impression of

animals misfortune. Every time the changing of the commandment takes place,

we see an example of how the political power , as Orwell sees it, is prepared

to alter the past in peoples minds, if the past prevents it from doing what

he wishes to do. Firstly the fourth commandment is altered in order that pigs

could sleep comfortably in warm beds. A simple addition of two words does it.

read me the fourth commandment. Does it not say something about sleeping in

beds? With some difficulty Muriel spelt it out. It says that no animal

shall sleep in the bed with sheets. Whenever the pigs infringe one of

Majors commandments, Squealer is sent to convince the other animals that

that is the correct interpretation . you didnt suppose , surely, that there

was ever a ruling against beds? A bed merely means the place to sleep in. A

pile of straw in a stall is a bed, properly regarded. The rule was against

sheets, which are a human invention.

Napoleon secures his rule through an unpleasant mix of lies distortion and

hypocrisy / there are two scenes where Napoleons cruelty and cold violence

are shown in all their horror : the scene of the trials and the episode where

Boxer is brought to the knackers. The veil of mockery is drown aside. In

these episodes humour is absent, the stark reality of Napoleons hunger for

power, and the cruelty< and death it involves are presented. Orwell reminds

of the heavy stink of blood, and associates that smell with Napoleon.

And so the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a

pile of corpses lying before the Napoleons feet and the air was heavy with

the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since the expulsion of

Jones.

Napoleon in the novel stands for Joseph Stalin, and of course we cant omit

the way the author skillfully creates this character. Everything from

purvation of communist ideology to the cult of personality of Stalin, found

its reflection in the novel.

Orwell in the cruelest kind of parody gives to Napoleon such titles as: Our

,leader, Comrade Napoleon, The Farther of all animals, Terror of Mankind,

Protector of the Sheepfold, Ducklins Friend.

The novel mainly is based on the historical facts, and even the relationships

of Soviet Union and Germany are shown in that fairy tale. For the all

cleverness of the Napoleon, though, he is fooled by Frederic of Pinchfield (

he stands for Hitlers Germany) who gets the timber out of him, pays him

false money, then attacks the farm, and blows up the windmill.

Orwells satire will be no iconoclastic wrecking job on the Stalinist Russia

whose people had been suffering so cruelly from the war and whose soldiers ,

under Stalins leadership, were locked in desperate combat with the German

invader even as Animal Farm was being written. That Orwells assault is

primarily on an idea, the extremists fantasy of technological utopianism

devoid of hard work, and less a living creature, the commander is chief, is

demonstrating during the most dramatic moment of Farmer Fredericks attack on

the farmthe juxtaposition of dynamited windmill and the figure of Napoleon

alone standing unbowed. And despite Orwells fascination with Gullivers

Travels, it is a sign of his attempt to draw back from the Swiftian revulsion

at the flash a disgust that , as Orwell later noted could extend to

political behavior toward the more balanced and positive view of life that

Animal Farm, despite its violence, has few references to distasteful

physical realities, and those two are appropriate to the events of the

narrative.

Napoleon is a simple figure. Orwell makes no attempt as to give reasons as to

why he comes to act the way he does. If Napoleon was a human character in the

novel, if this where a historical novel about a historical figure Orwell

would have had to make Napoleon convincing in human terms. But isnt human

and this is not a novel. It is an animal fable and Orwell presents the figure

of Napoleon in ways that make us see clearly and despise what he stands for.

He is simplified for the sake of clarity. He lends force of Orwells

political massage, that power tends to corrupt, by allowing the reader to fix

his disgust at cruelty torture and violence.

The primary objective of the tale is that we should loathe Napoleon for what

he stands for. The other animals are used to intensify our disgust or else to

add color and life to the tale by the addition of the farmyard detail. The

most significant of the other animals is undoubtedly the cart-horse Boxer,

and in his handling of him Orwell shows great expertise in controlling the

readers reactions and sympathies and in turning them against what is hates.

Throughout the novel boxer is the very sympathetic figure. Honest and

hardworking, he is devoted to the cause in a simple-minded way, although his

understanding of the principles of Animalism is very limited. He is strong

and stands nearly eighteen feet high, and is much respected by the other

animals. He has two phrases which for him solve all problems, one, I shall

work harder, and later on, despite the fact that Napoleons rule is becoming

tyrannical, Napoleon is always right. At one point he does question

Squealer, when he, in his persuasive way, is convincing the animals that

Snowball was trying to betray them in the Battle of Cowshed. Boxer at first

can not take this, he remembers the wound Snowball received along his back

from Joness gun. Squealer explains this by saying that it had been arranged

for Snowball to be wounded, it had all been part of Joness plan. Boxers

confused memory of what actually happened makes him a little uneasy but

when Squealer announces , very slowly that Napoleon categorically states

that Snowball was Joness agent from the start then the honest cart-horse

accepts the absurdity without question.

Orwell through the figure of Boxer is presenting a simple good-nature , which

wishes to do good, and which believes in the Rebellion. So loyal is Boxer

that he is prepared to sacrifice his memory of facts, blurred as it is.

Nevertheless, so little is he respected, and so fierce is the hatred the pigs

hatred the pigs have for even the slightest questioning of their law that,

when Napoleons confessions and trials begin, Boxer is among the first the

dogs attack. Wish his great strength he has no difficulty in controlling

them: He just simply, almost carelessly put out his great hoof , caught a

dog in mid-air, and pinned him to the ground. At a word from Nahjleon he

lets the dog go , but still he doesnt realize he is a target. Boxers blind

faith in the pigs is seeming disastrous. Confronted with the horrifying

massacre of the animals on the farm, Boxer blames himself and buries himself

in his work. This show of power pleases us as a reader, in what we like to

think of physical strength being allied to good nature, simple though a good

nature may be. Boxer has our sympathy because he gives his strength

selflessly for what he believes, whereas Napoleon gives nothing , believes in

nothing and never actually works. Boxer exhausts himself for the cause. Every

time the animals have to start rebuilding of the windmill he throws himself

into the task without a word of complaint, getting up first half an hour,

then three quarters of an hour before everybody else.

Boxers sacrificial break down in the service of what he and the other worker

animals believed to be technological progress might be interpreted as

allegorically portending the future deterioration of the animal community.

At last his strength gives out and when it does his goodness is unprotected.

The pigs are going to send him to the knackers to be killed and boiled out

into glue. Warned by Benjamin the donkey (his close, silent friend throughout

the book), and by Clover he tries to kick his way out of the van, but he has

given all his energy to the pigs and now has none left to save himself. The

final condition of Boxer, inside the van about to carry him to the knackers

in exchange for money needed to continue work on the windmill, emblematically

conveys a message close to the spirit of Orwells earlier warnings : The

time had been when a few kicks of Boxers hoofs would have smashed the van to

mach wood. But alas! His strength had left him; and in the few moments the

sound of drumming hoofs grew fainter and died away. This is the most moving

scene in a book Indeed our feelings here as readers are so simple, deep and

uninhibited that as Edward Thomas has said movingly, we weep for the

terrible pity of it like children who meet injustice for the first time.

Boxer can be attributed to the tragic heroes cause he doesnt struggle with

the injustice as the tragic hero should do. And surely we can consider him a

comical hero as all through the story the reader has compassion on him.

Orwell managed to unite tragedy and comedy in one character. Boxer arouses

mixed contradictory feelings. His story is no longer comic, but pathetic and

evokes not laughter but pity. It is an aggressive element, that detached

malice of the comic impersonator, which turns pathos into bathos and tragedy

into travesty.

Not only Boxers story reminds us more of a tragedy. The destiny of all

animals makes us weep. If at the beginning of the novel they are happy and

excited in the middle they work like slaves but still happy, at the end

they are shaken and miserable. After Napoleons dictatorship has showed

its disregard for the facts and its merciless brutality, after the animals

witnessed the forced confessions and the execution, they all go to the grassy

knoll where the windmill is being built Clover thinks back on Majors speech

before he died, and thinks how far they had gone from what he would have

intended: as Clover looked down the hillside her eyes filled with tears. If

she could have spoken her thoughts, it would have been to say that this was

not what they had aimed at when they had set themselves years ago to work for

the overthrow of the human race. This scenes of terror and slaughter where

not what they had looked forward to on that night when old Major first

stirred them to rebellion. If she herself had had any picture of the future,

it had been of a society of animals set free from hunger and whip, all equal,

each working according to his capacity, the strong protecting the week.

Instead she did not know why they had come to a time when no one dared

speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you

had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking

crimes.

From the sketch of the political background to Animal Farm it will be quite

clear that the main purpose of that episode is to expose the lie which

Stalinist Russia had become. It was supposed to be a Socialist Union of

States, but it had become the dictatorship. The Soviet Union in fact damaged

the cause of the true socialism. In a preface Orwell wrote to Animal Farm he

says that for the past ten years I have been convinced that the distruction

of Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of socialist movement.

Animal Farm attempts, through a simplification of Soviet history, to clarify

in the minds of readers what Orwell felt Russia had become. The clarification

is to get people to face the facts of injustice, of brutality, and hopefully

to get them to think out for themselves some way in which a true and

democratic socialism will be brought about. In that episode Orwell shows

his own attitude to what is happening on his fairy farm. And he looks at it

more as at the tragedy than a comedy, but still he returns to his genre of

satire and writes: there was no thought of rebellion or disobedience in her

mind. She knew that even as things were they were far better than they had

been in the days of Jones, and that before all else it was needful to prevent

the return of the humanbeings.

Finally, the moderateness of Orwells satire is reinforced by a treatment of

time that encourages the readers sympathetic understanding of the whole

revolutionary experiment from its spontaneous and joyous beginnings to its

ambiguous condition on the final page. A basic strategy of scathing social

satire is to dehistoricize the society of the specific sociopolitical

phenomena being exposed to ridicule and condemnation.

In Animal Farm the past that jolts the creatures from the timeless present of

the animal condition into manic state of historical consciousness is a quick,

magically transformative moment .


2010