The book Animal Farm, is a political satire of a totalitarian society ruled by a mighty dictatorship, in all probability an allegory for the events surrounding the Russian Revolution. The animals of “Manor Farm” overthrow their human master (Mr. Jones) after a long history of mistreatment. Little by little, the pigs become dominant, gaining more power and advantage over the other animals, so much so that they become as corrupt and power-hungry as their predecessors, the humans. Major (an old boar) tells them that the source of all their problems is man, and that they must remove man from their midst for hopes of a Utopia. After Major’s death Napoleon and Snowball, two boars led the rebellion where soon things start to change. Orwell builds Napoleon’s career in reference to this quote, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Napoleon cheated, manipulated, and killed because of greediness for one’s place in power. Mr. Jones tries to reclaim his power but the animals prevent him from doing so in what they call “The Battle of the Cowshed.” After the battle, Napoleon drives Snowball off the farm telling everyone that Snowball was on Mr. Jones’ side. This is just the beginning of what Napoleon’s plans are for the future of Manor Farm. This is no surprise coming from Napoleon, based on what he has done before, always disagreeing with Snowballs plans and thinking of his own. Napoleon is further appreciated by the other animals for exposing and removing the traitor, Snowball, from their midst. Napoleon now is on the midst of gaining more power then he could possibly handle. On one part, he didn’t get this power fairly in the first place. Napoleon didn’t do much while Snowball was around, so when Napoleon thought that the pigs were becoming corrupt bye Snowball.
The theme in Animal Farm maintains that in every society there are leaders who, if given the opportunity, will likely abuse their power. The pigs, the most intelligent of the animals, gain control to make wise decision against the humans, but in turn they turn against each other. In one part of the book Napoleon had used the dogs to kill what he believed were the traitors at Manor Farm. Some of the pigs had confessed to being apart of Snowballs plans and having something to do with the neighboring farms, so Napoleon had them all killed in front of all the other animals. Once again Napoleon abuses his power and not forgetting breaking one the Seven Commandments that state No animal shall kill any other animal.
The situation at Manor farm really starts to change now. Napoleon moves into Mr. Jones’ house, sleeps in his bed, and even wears his clothes. Once again Napoleon breaks one of the laws that were made for Manor Farm which states No animal shall sleep in a bed. This confuses the animals but they can’t go back and read the commandments because they can’t read. Aside from the laws, The pigs are also taking bigger food rations for themselves justifying their behavior as something necessary for the “brains” of their animal society. In order to make these actions appear right, they had to be interpreted differently, which Napoleon arranged. this was typical of the pigs, but yet the other animals didn’t see the real picture. Soon the book ends with the pigs walking on two legs saying the Four legs good, Two legs better, and it ends with a question being Who are the humans and who are the animals?
The theme throughout Animal Farm is presented through the allegory of corrupted pigs and the passivity of the other barnyard animals. Orwell’s message about power, in the hands of a few, is corrupting and does nothing to benefit the masses. The animal Napoleon can be compared as a character representing Stalin in Russia. Both were very mean looking, didn’t talk very much but always got what they wanted through force. In the part of the book when Napoleon had the dogs charge Snowball to gain his place in leadership. Stalin became the Soviet Leader after the death of Lenin. He was underestimated by his opponents who always became his victims, and he had one of the most ruthless, regimes in history.
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