Trew Morris
Samantha Scheepers
Totalitarian Equality
The key to producing great literature that remains relevant throughout generations is the author's ability to utilize themes and character to portray a social message. George Orwell's Animal Farm does exactly that by illustrating the rise and fall of Soviet Union communism as an allegorical social commentary through animals that possess very real human traits. Orwell's simplistic novella challenges the reader to qualify the concept of equality and to understand the innate selfishness all humans naturally inherit. Orwell's Animal Farm should be integrated within the Grade 12 English curriculum because it uses animal's actions that parody human traits and repetitive word motifs to illustrate the development of class tyranny in a democratic society.
Each animal species within Orwell's novella parodies human characteristics that develop the theme of class tyranny within a democratic society which explains the fallacy of equality in the animal farm . The pigs, who at the beginning of the novella viewed themselves as equals in relation to other animals, have abandoned their notion of equality and establish themselves as the privileged greedy upper class while animals such Clover are the poor working class being abused by the pigs. This idea of class superiority is exemplified through Mr. Pilkington's comments to the cabinet of pigs, " If you have your lower animals to contend with,' he said, ‘we have our lower classes! " (Orwell). Through Mr. Pilkington's quote, it is inferred that he views the pigs as humans , a superior class, and the rest of the animals as what they are, animals. The pigs are now taking on the human trait of greed and they continue to feed this addiction. In order for the pigs to retain and reinforce their power, t he pigs must keep the animals as a lower class and they do this by using manipulation to make the animals think they are supposed to b e subjugated as the lower class. This manipulation gives way to class stratification and a symbolic relationship arises of the working lower class being compared to enslaved beasts of burden exemplified by Clover, " but in fact no animal had ever actually retired" (Orwell). Clover, along with the rest of the workforce animals, have never stopped working and the upper class pigs take advantage of them. The human characteristics the animals parody displays the deconstruction of the democratic process and gives way to class inequality and social strife.
The argument of class tyranny being derived from human characteristics , such as greed , can also be made from the texts of "A Modest Proposal" and Oliver Twist. The two authors of each text make distinct connections to class inequality through human characteristics but to a lesser extent than Animal Farm . Animal Farm 's effective use of parodying humanistic traits through animal s illustrates corrupted human characteristics in a more simplistic way that the reader can identify with . Swift' s model in "A Modest Proposal" is predicated on the economic benefits of eating children especially for the wealthy. Through his essay, he highlights specifically that the rich can take advantage of eating beggar children, "That the remaining 100,000 may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom" (Swift 406). The persons of quality and fortune are buying poor children to eat which further exacerbates the class divide between the rich and poor, and also illustrates the power the rich have over the poor. The same argument can a lso be concluded from Dickens' s Oliver Twist when the parish officials ignorantly assumes that "the poor people liked (working)" (Dickens). The parish officials are exhibiting their cruelty by forcing the orphan children to work like animals because of their assumption that the children like to do back breaking work. With this , both texts fail to provide a concrete understanding of human characteristics in relation to class tyranny in such an easy manor the way Animal Farm has because the argument is vaguely explained.
The song and commandment motifs found within Orwell's Animal Farm reinforce the ideals of class division and suppression in a democratic society. This is exemplified when Napoleon