A political satire from an Animal farm
The main reason why satire is usually preferred by authors is to change morals and political views in the society by use of critical humor. A satirist focuses on a person in the society with undesirable characteristics and then uses humor to bring those attributes to the public. Satirists hope that use of humor will punish the unwanted behaviors changing the way people behave and caution other members in the society to from engaging in such acts.
This paper focuses on a Totalitarian society where the society is ruled by a dictatorship. It presents the events and activities that took place in 1917 Russian Revolution (Daniels, 1967). The animals from the ‘Manor Farm’ defeated their master after being mistreated for a long period. The animals continued doing their work. This time they were being led by the pigs. The animals failed to work for the humans but instead continued to work for themselves. As time went by, the pigs became dominant and acquired control and power over the other animals. Eventually, the pigs developed a hunger for power and became more corrupt like the humans who were their predecessors. From this farm, it is clear that if leaders are given an opportunity, they may end up abusing their power.
Led by the white boar who is the Major, the animals conduct a meeting. Addressing the other animals the Major said there is no free animal in England. Further the Major pointed out that man had illegally taken away the products of their hard work. He also emphasized that their labor benefits the man alone. Ungracefully, the man pays the animals with the bare minimum which facilitates their starvation while he enjoys the profit. The old boar points out that the man is the source of problems they are facing and for them to abrogate the problems and hunger they had to take out the man from their midst.
Days later the death of the Major is reported. Even though he dies the pride and hope he installed on the other animals remains. Pigs are more intelligent, and they, therefore, lead the animals to rebel their human master and manage to remove him from power. After successfully overthrowing of the human master the animals continue working on the firm with leadership of Snowball, an eloquent pig, and Napoleon, an outspoken pig.
The animals develop laws that are to be obeyed. The laws stated that animals would never imitate the action of the humans which were described as brutal and manipulative. The laws said that animals would not sleep in bed and would not wear clothes (Williams, 1974). Additionally, the regulations emphasized respect for each other and they also prohibited animals from killing other animals. Meanwhile, the pigs started taking advantage of their position and began taking more significant portions of food. They justify this undesirable character as something necessary in the animal society. From this point, it is clear that pigs will abuse their power and start taking advantage of their position to exploit other animals in this society.
The animals work with solidarity and prevent Mr. Jones from reclaiming his power in the animal society. After the animals succeed in this, Napoleon, the outspoken pig tells everyone what Snowball was a traitor working for Mr. Jones. For this reason, the Snowball is also taken out of the farm. The other animals appreciate Napoleon for exposing and taking Snowball out of the farm. With time, Napoleon gets stronger and begins to dominate the actions of the other animals.
Slowly, things completely change in the farm. The name of the farm change to ‘Animal Farm.’ The Napoleon who had gained control of the other animals. He moved to the house of Mr. Jones wears his clothes and sleep in his bed. For this actions, Napoleon organizes for the law to be interpreted differently so that his actions could appear legal. Napoleon breaks the original laws when he boyfriends a human by the name of Mr. Pilkington who owned a nearby farm (Williams, 1974). The control of Napoleon over the other animals was so high that they accepted his violation of the laws which prohibited them from associating themselves with the humans.
Later, the association between the pigs and the humans grow to the extent that they can share a meal from the same table. The pigs declare that the previous name of the firm would be reinstated. The other animals were referred as lowly creatures by both pigs and humans. The other animals were left helplessly observing the humans and the pigs not being able to differentiate them from their actions.
The satire here is demonstrated through presentation of the corrupt pigs and the passiveness of the powerless animals. The humans in the animal farm portray the royal family and tyrants who take advantage of their position and abused their power to support their royal lifestyle at the expense of the peasants. The pigs, in this case, represent the Bolshevik revolutionaries (Chamberlin, 2014). The Bolshevik revolutionaries mobilized the masses to rise against both the royal family and Czar.
Similar to the incidents in the animal far where other animals were oppressed by pigs which had mobilized them to rise and rebel against the humans, the people Russia were oppressed by their leaders. The new communist government in Russia benefited only a few who had power at the expense of the poor people.
The moral teaching from the animal farm is that when power is in the hand of a few people it turn to be corrupting and benefits a few powerful people while the masses are left suffering.
- Williams, R. (Ed.). (1974). George Orwell: A collection of critical essays (Vol. 119). Prentice
- Daniels, R. V. (1967). Red October, The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
- Chamberlin, W. H. (2014). The Russian Revolution, Volume I: 1917-1918: From the Overthrow of the Tsar to the Assumption of Power by the Bolsheviks (Vol. 1). Princeton University Press.