By: George Orwell
(a) Politics-from championing rising against injustices to curbing rising against injustices
(b) Power-its acquisition, manifestation and retention
Language: Satirical, with use of personification of animals. Loaded with symbolism.
Style: A post ‘coup d’état’ story, with parts on rebellions and rebuilding, bloodshed and hardship.
The author provides the reader with vivid character sketches for each animal as the story begins.
(i)Old Major-an old wise boar- revered by all animals- sows the seed of rebellion for freedom of animals from shackles of slavery
(ii)Boxer-a strong cart horse-not of first rate intelligence-universally respected for steadiness of character and tremendous power to work
(iii) Benjamin-the donkey-the oldest-the worst-tempered-cynical-never talked never laughed
(iv) Napolean-fierce looking Berkshire boar-not much of a talker-with a reputation of getting his own way
(v) Snowball-boar-more vivacious, quicker in speech and more inventive than Napolean-not considered to have same depth of character as Napolean
(vi)Squealer-porker-twinkling eyed-brilliant talker-persuasive
These protagonists shape the story on the ‘Manor Farm’ owned by Mr. Jones- a human being. Anything with two legs are seen as the enemy and that everything with four legs is a comrade in the battle to overthrow these two-legged tyrannous masters.
Many parallels can be drawn between the actions and events as portrayed and celebrated by comrades of the ‘Animal Farm’ and human beings of the real world.
Some of the equivalencies to a nation are:
- Seven Commandments of Animal Farm= Constitution of a nation: A set of fundamental principles are proposed by the pigs and agreed upon by other animals upon freedom from human race. As the story progresses, one can see how in an undemocratic regime, the constitution is manipulated multiple times to the point that the society may well be better off without the charter.
- Illiteracy of the population is used to the literate ruler’s advantage.
- With the help of above two points and ruling party’s oratory and persuasion, spread of false news and false hopes is commonplace. A total lack of education leads to rulers going unchecked about their business.
- Along-with spread of falsity, regular brainwash of the ‘subjects’ takes place through Squealer’s persuasive talks, the unintelligent sheep’s non-stop singing to the pigs’ tunes and the old and uneducated ‘lesser animals” acceptance of what is being told and shown against their own feeble beliefs.
- With knowledge comes great power and to sustain power comes the use of intimidation. By virtue of being the cleverest, the pigs quickly gain a lot of knowledge. The other animals give them power by celebrating them as the cleverest. And the dog guards and the harsh death sentences of ‘traitor animals’ serve the purpose of instilling fears in the masses.
- The dog army, much like a terrorist group, is built by stealing the young ones from their mothers and raising them to venerate the ‘master’ and ferociously kill.
- A gradual increase in power distance becomes more and more apparent as the story advances. This thanks to killer dogs and rules like only the pigs can have alcohol and live inside the farmhouse and such.
- Ceremonies like awarding of “Citizen First-Class” or Sunday Meetings are basically the army regime celebrating itself and parliament sessions respectively.
Another interesting comparison that can be drawn is between the relationship of pigs and other animals to that of management of a company and its workforce.
- Napolean and Snowball are the co-founders and co-chairmen of the startup ‘Animal Farm’. Both have knowledge as their arsenel and different visions for the enterprise.
- The pigs of course comprise of the management at the Animal Farm
- Boxer is like the loyal employee who toils tirelessly, with the blind faith in his manager and hopes of a peaceful superannuation
- Mollie-the foolish, pretty mare is the employee who still likes the old organisation structure where literal sugar-coated rewards were the compensation for slaving and defects to the well established competitor firm
- Benjamin is the oldest worker in the shop floor who seldom utters a word, has seen it all, refuses to openly participate in the new ways but does in fact know better than anyone else how the newfangled ways are really just the old ones
- The awards like citizen- first and -second class are just HR gimmicks
- Filling of empty barrels with sand underneath and crops at the top when Mr. Whymper- the human solicitor comes to inspect the farm is false Marketing and Advertising