"The Animal Farm" - The Men Behind George Orwell's Animals
The Animal Farm, along with 1984, is George Orwell's iconic, allegoric criticism against authoritarianism. That's how we all know it. You've probably heard of what Orwell "means to say" by the West's rhetoric during the Cold War. George Orwell's masterpiece was unluckily used as a political instrument during the Cold War, when he now longer lived to emphasize his intention. Let's take a thorough look at at the inpiration for his impressive work however, so we don't miss what really matters.
The Animal Farm's talented writer, George Orwell, was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903, in the British-ruled colonial territory of Bengal, India. Orwell (I'll keep the name he's mostly known by until today) went through a long, adventurous and not always happy journey until he became the author we today know. So, what led him to writing the iconic novel?
The Animal Farm, as we know, is about the animals of a farm in rural England "overthrowing" the farms owner, Mr. Jones, due to the poor conditions and treatment under which they live. So, they decide to rebel in order to manage the farm all together, under terms of equality and common decision making. But after the rebellion succeeds, the pigs are those to maintain power claiming "it's for the animals' good". Soon the laws of the "Animalism" and the farm gradually change in favor of the pigs; and not only. Napoleon, one of the two initial pig - leaders of the farm, escalates the war against Snowball, his past fellow - leader in the farm and leading figure of the fight against the human rule. Anyone supporting him or not paying homage to Napoleon is under attack. In the end, the rest of the animals can't tell the difference between the pigs and humans.
The Animal Farm is obviously an allegory. The use of animals as the main characters behaving like humans leaves no ground for doubt on that. And I'm sure it reminds you of a couple of regimes.
George Orwell was a supporter of socialism. There were various reasons that turned him into a supporter of socialism, like his experience in the colonial territories of Britain, his openness in researching the life conditions of the non-privileged and the elitism he met in Eton. Although his fellow socialists of the West and especially Britain were keen supporters of the Soviet Union though, he wasn't. He openly criticized the authoriatarian character of Stalin's regime and every authoritarian regime in the East and West, standing by democratic socialism. Not to mention, he had a personal experience of how Stalin and his mechanism eliminated the non-stalinists during his short participation in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was "labelled" a trotskyist, spied on and taken to trial - in his absence - for that reason. So, partly thanks to his interaction with communists, Orwell was quite familiar with all of this.
The Animal Farm is an allegory using the Soviet Union of Stalin's time as a starting point to criticize any authoritarian regime. Most of all though, he criticizes the once-rebels and fighters for justice and equality who turn out to become oppressors themselves. Mr. Jones, like the tsar, is the born-privileged oppressor ousted. The animals of the farm are the Russian people supporting the rebellion, but finally betrayed by the people who were supposed to work for their well-being.
In The Animal Farm, Napoleon is the head-oppressor. As you can understand, he can be no other than Stalin. He is hideous, vivious, he works for his personal pursuits and puts all his powers in annihilating any possible source of power or important figure. Snowball, on the other hand, is Trotsky. He once was a leading figure of the rebellion, but he was chased to annihilation by a former comrade.
Of course, the pigs can be no other but the Communist Party; the once fierce rebel who finally just replaces the former oppressor. After all, The Animal Farm's closing scene and lines depict this in the greatest way possible. And that's one of the reasons George Orwell was acknowledged as one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.
The Animal Farm was rejected before its publishing, in 1945, due to the publishers' unwillingness to publish a work that was "targeting" an ally of Britain - since the war wasn't over yet. But then the war was over and the Soviet Union became the foe, so Orwell's work was broadly accepted. In the years that followed, the Cold War, the capitalist West used the writer's masterpiece as a tool against their rivals. But the iconic Animal Farm deserves to be faced like what it really is: a firm voice against the oppressors in this worls, no matter where they are or what they - proclaim to - believe in.