A Presentation Of George Orwell And His Protest Novels

Eric Arthur Blair was born on June 5, 1903, in Bengal, India. His father was not a wealthy man. He supported his family only on the salary of a civil servant. When his writing career began, his penname became George Orwell. Orwell received his formal education from Eton Academy during a period ranging from 1917 to 1921. After completion of Eton, Orwell did not continue his education; instead he joined forces with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. He served with the police until he began teaching. He was a high-ranking officer during his years on the police force. His life was poverty stricken until the mid-1930’s. He was considered to be a “combination of middle class intellectual and working class reformer” (Stewart). Orwell chose to live among tramps in England and the working class in Paris. His experience in England and Paris was the basis for his first book Down and Out in Paris in London, first published in 1933. For many years, Orwell worked as a teacher. A Clergyman’s Daughter was based on his experience as a teacher (Borman 5-6). Considered a novelist and a social critic, Orwell’s fame began in 1945 with the publication of his first protest novel, Animal Farm (Stewart).
Animal Farm is just one of Orwell’s protest novels, but disputably the best protest novel of all time. The novel is allegedly based on the Russian Revolution. Animal Farm is an allegory of the political strife in twentieth-century Europe (Brown 72). According to Orwell his inspiration for Animal Farm came from
a little boy, perhaps ten years old driving a huge cart-horse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat. (Williams 339)
During the Russian Revolution, leaders such as Russia’s Joseph Stalin negotiated with England but made plans secretly with other leaders and nations. In Animal Farm various animals personify or represent political leaders and factions of the Russian Revolution. In the novel Old Major represents Karl Marx, a German economist of the Russian Revolution. Joseph Stalin is portrayed, in the novel, by Napoleon. Stalin was known for negotiating with England but also leading acts of corruption with other countries. In Animal Farm Napoleon negotiates with Mr. Pilkington yet secretly, leads negotiations with other farmers. In the novel Pilkington represents England because he makes deals secretly with Animal Farm (Telgen and Hile 5). In the novel Benjamin expresses political views very similar to the views of Orwell. Telgen and Hile said, “Benjamin represents the cynical intellectual who refuses to get involved in politics and so fails to affect the meaningful change. His cynicism is much like Orwell’s attitude toward life” (4). Many critics believe that Animal Farm is not related to the Russian Revolution—they feel as if the novel is the average attack against totalitarianism. Animal Farm is an attack on totalitarianism but does not advocate capitalism (Brown 71-73). Many believe the following of Animal Farm:
Although the novel is written in direct response to his bitter disappointment of the Russian Revolution, instead of establishing a people’s republic, established an essentially totalitarian state, its continued relevance is possible because his criticism stands against any and all totalitarian regimes. (Telgen and Hile 8)
Even though Orwell’s purpose for writing Animal Farm is a disputed topic, many have formed their opinion about Orwell’s purpose. Some feel Animal Farm was written to parallel the Russian Revolution, as others feel the book was written to predict a future political upheaval. No one can seem to agree on Orwell’s purpose for writing Animal Farm. Some people, however, seem to agree with Spencer Brown when he said, “It is, says Boslye Crowther in the New York Times, ‘a pretty brutal demonstration of the vicious cycle of tyranny’; it presents the leaders of the new Power State as pigs and conveys as sense of monstrous hypocrisy of the totalitarian leader type” (Brown 71-74). By using animals, Animal Farm helps to relay a message that is universal among society today. The motto of the Animal Farm establishment that is found in the novel