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George Orwell


 George Orwell's 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 of 1917. The animals of "Manor Farm" 
overthrow their human master after a long history of 
mistreatment. Led by the pigs, the farm animals continue to 
do their work, only with more pride, knowing that they are 
working for themselves, as opposed to working for humans. 
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. The theme in Animal Farm 
maintains that in every society there are leaders who, if 
given the opportunity, will likely abuse their power.
 The book begins in the barnyard of Mr. Jones' "Manor 
Farm". The animals congregate at a meeting led by the prize 
white boar, Major. Major points out to the assembled 
animals that no animal in England is free. He further 
explains that the products of their labor is stolen by man, 
who alone benefits. Man, in turn, gives back to the animals 
the bare minimum which will keep them from starvation while 
he profits from the rest. The old boar tells them that the 
source of all their problems is man, and that they must 
remove man from their midst to abolish tyranny and hunger.
 Days later Major dies, but the hope and pride which 
he gave the other animals does not die. Under the 
leadership of the pigs, the most intelligent of the animals, 
they rebel against their human master managing to overthrow 
him. After the rebellion, under the direction of Napoleon, 
the most outspoken pig, and Snowball, the most eloquent pig, 
the animals continue to work the farm successfully.
 As with all societies, the animals have laws which 
must be obeyed. Their laws stated that animals shall never 
become like humans; cruel and manipulative. They shall not 
wear clothing nor sleep in beds. Most importantly, they are 
to respect one another's equality and killing another animal 
is strictly forbidden.
 Meanwhile, the pigs as leaders are taking bigger 
food rations for themselves justifying their behavior as 
something necessary for the "brains" of their animal 
society. At this point we begin to suspect that the pigs 
will abuse their positions and power in this animal society.
 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. Napoleon is further appreciated by the other 
animals for exposing and removing the traitor, Snowball, 
from their midst. Slowly, Napoleon gets a stronger and 
stronger hold over the other animals, dominating their 
every action.
 The situation at "Animal Farm", the new name for 
"Manor Farm", really starts to change now. Napoleon moves 
into Mr. Jones' house, sleeps in his bed, and even wears his 
clothes. In order to make his actions appear legal, the law 
had to be interpreted differently, which Napoleon arranged. 
 In defiance of the original laws, Napoleon befriends Mr. 
Pilkington, the human owner of a nearby farm. Napoleon had 
such control over the other animals that they accepted such 
a blatant disregard of their law about fraternizing with 
 The book ends with the pigs sitting at a table, 
eating with humans. Napoleon announces to those around the 
table that the name "Manor Farm" will be reinstated. The 
humans and pigs converse while the other animals outside 
look on. They, the lowly creatures according to the pigs 
and humans, look from pig to man and from man to pig, unable 
to differentiate between the species.
 The theme throughout Animal Farm is presented 
through the allegory of corrupt pigs and the passivity of 
the other barnyard animals. The humans in the story 
represent the Russian royal family and aristocracy, tyrants 
who abused their power with no regard for the peasants who, 
in essence, supported their royal lifestyle. The pigs 
represent the Bolshevik revolutionaries who led the masses 
in rebellion against the Czar and the entire royal family. 
Unfortunately, as with the pigs, power corrupted and the 
people were then oppressed by their "comrades" under the new 
communist government. Orwell's message about power, in the 
hands of a few, is corrupting and does nothing to benefit 
the masses. 


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