In 1946, GeorgeOrwell would author one of the most notorious and astute books of all time, abook titled Animal Farm.
Animal Farm takes place on a farm led bya pig by the name of Old Major. When he describes his dream to the fellowanimals on the farm, he instructs the farm animals to turn against the humans.Some days later, Old Major passes away and the animals revolt and take overfarm, renaming it Animal Farm.Through his novel, George Orwell tries to convey the significance ofbeing educated and the tragedies that fall upon the uneducated animals. Theseinclude putting their faith in the wrong hands, getting manipulated andcontrolled, not being able make decisions for themselves and how it relates tothe soviet union during this time. In thebeginning, the pigs are seen as faithful to their fellow animals and to therevolution. They interpret Old Major’s vision and end up turning it into the”Seven Commandments of Animalism”. However, it isn’t some time before the pigs’knowledge and instructions are used as a means of oppression and mistreatment.
Following Old Major’s passing, we seea major struggle between two characters: Snowball and Napoleon. Napoleon believed than anemphasis on the younger animals should be the focus of education. This is firstexemplified in Chapter 2/3 when he takes 9 young dogs from their mother in orderto train them. They later come back as Napoleon’s “guards” and play a largerole in his grab for power against snowball.
Snowball, on the other hand,believed everyone is important and equal. Snowball was eventually chased offthe farm by the dogs, giving Napoleon full control.Progressively,the pigs began to control education and started to brainwash the animals. Because the animals were indecisive anduneducated, they were forced to believe something that turned out to be false.This is one of the reasons Orwell attempts to discuss the impact of educationthrough his novel.
The instant the pigs are faced with a problemthey desert their morals and use their greater knowledge to deceive the otheranimals. The pigs also bound the other animals’ chances to gain intelligenceand education early on. They educate themselves to write and read from achildren’s book but later destroy it.
Oncethe pigs strengthen their status as the knowledgeable elite, they use theirintellectual advantage to control the other animals. Another important issueOrwell tries to cover is the issue of dictatorship and manipulation. In thisstory, the animals make Napoleon responsible of all affairs, a pig that can readand write. Napoleon uses his authority to control the animals. One way he doesthis is by altering the rules. When the animals first founded the Animal Farm, they came up with seven rules(commandments) to live by. Every time Napoleon would break a rule, he wouldslightly modify it. “.
…But itappears to me that the wall looks different. Are the sevencommandments the same as they used to beBenjamin?.
…There was nothing therenow but a single commandment. It ran: ALLANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUALTHAN OTHERS.
After that, it did not seem strange when next day the pigs… “(Page123) When we take a look at the Russian Revolution and the major playersinvolved, we tend to find strong connections between them and the characters inAnimal Farm.During the Russian Revolution, Karl Marx explained theinjustice that had been taking place in Russia. Furthermore, he describes hisvision for the future where classes were no longer part of society. Similarly,Old Major describes the cruelty and mistreatment that the animals suffered andhis vision for the animals. Later in the story, the animals rebel against farmer Joneswhen he forgets to feed them. This can be seen as a reflection of the 1905 and1917 revolutions where war caused food shortages in Russia, resulting in massstarvation and social problems that ultimately sparked rebellion. The election between Napoleon and Snowball can also be seenas a parallel to Stalin and Trotsky who had similar views as their animalequivalents.
Similarly, Napoleon’scontrol of education can be easily compared to what Stalin did at the time. Stalin had control over the level of educationdelivered to the peasants, and therefore, he gained control over them. Throughthis absence of education, the Russian peasants were unable to notice thesteady power Stalin was establishing over the masses. Through thedevelopment of his novel, Orwell truly tries to demonstrate the significanceand importance of being educated by showing the reader what could happen whengroups of people (animals in this case) are not. Orwell also attempts to giveus examples of such events. Overall, Animal Farm is a must read for anyoneinterested in the Russian Revolution, education, and a well