George Orwell and Animal Farm: a Critical Analysis

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To better understand the novel, it is important for the reader to understand Orwell’s background. Eric Arthur Blair was born in 1903 to a lower class family. He went to a private school on a scholarship and experienced social isolation for his socioeconomic status and because of his experience he subscribed to the philosophy of socialism . As an adult, Blair enlisted in an imperialist police force in Burma, distraught by what he saw he soon left and became a writer and started to pen under the alias ‘George Orwell’.

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(Hall 348).

In Addition, the Emperor of Russian at the time was considered unfit to lead the country anymore because of the extreme poverty, lack of food sources and how the citizens were forced to continue working under those conditions. In Animal Farm, Mr. Jones makes the animals exert themselves under starvation. Another example would be that Leon Trotsky, who was a true socialist was extradited out of Russia and assassinated by one of Joseph Stalin’s abettors. In Animal Farm Snowball was not killed but he was chased off and banished from Manor Farm forever.

Also, the characters in the book are likened to historical figures of the Russian Revolution. Old Major is equated to V.I Lenin who was the leader of a communist political party that garnered the attention of the Russian citizens to push for progress in the nation, just how Old Major rallied the animals to takes steps for reform on the farm. Next, the pig Napoleon is compared to Joseph Stalin who violently usurped Leon Trotsky and became the dictator of the USSR just as Napoleon did to Snowball by causing chaos and making Snowball the scapegoat.

Finally, Orwell examines many themes in ‘Animal Farm’ but the two that will be mentioned here are class stratification and the abuse of language, they are most often described in the essay about Animal Farm. These themes are also known as classism and propaganda, which are prevalent in ‘Animal Farm’ and in the real world. According to Sparknotes, ” The natural division between intellectual and physical labor quickly comes to express itself as a new set of class divisions, with the “brainworkers (as the pigs claim to be) using their superior intelligence to manipulate society to their own benefit. Though in the real world we use money to divide people, as in ‘Animal Farm’ intelligence and hard labor are used as markers to cause division between the pigs and other animals. The other theme discussed, propaganda, is used heavily by the pig named ‘Squealer’. Hassapi, says ” ‘Animal Farm’ successfully presents how the mechanism of propaganda and brainwashing works in totalitarianism regimes, by showing how the pigs could make the other animals believe practically anything. Propaganda has always been used in real life in the political arena for as long as politics has been around and Orwell uses the character ‘Squealer’ to manifest this in the book. Squealer starts by using the phrase “All animals are equal then manipulating it into “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others because the animals worked in different ways, the other animals thought that it must be true.

The novel “Animal Farm by George Orwell addresses the dichotomy between the ideologies of Snowball and Napoleon who are allegories to the revolutionaries Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin from the Russian Revolution. Napoleon and Snowball engage in a political battle to be the leader of Manor Farm but Napoleon was very forceful by introducing classism and spreading false information and political propaganda, which caused Snowball to lose to Napoleon and the rest of the animals to succumb to Napoleon’s rhetoric and power.

Works Cited

  1. Hall, Sharon K. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, vol. 6. Ed. Sharon K. Hall. Detroit: Gale, 1982. 348. Print.
  2. Hassapi, Anna. Rev. of Animal Farm, by George Orwell., 27 Oct 2018.
  3. “Themes in Animal Farm. Sparknotes, Web. 27 Oct 2018.
  4. Schlesinger, Arthur. Jr.. of Animal Farm, by George Orwell. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, vol. 6. Ed. Sharon K. Hall. Detroit: Gale, 1946. 1. Print.
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George Orwell and Animal Farm: A Critical Analysis. (2019, Jan 20). Retrieved from