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Bailey Christiansen

Mr. Pace

DC English IV

7 Oct, 2018

Animal Farm Essay

Animal Farm, by George Orwell, is a political allegory and satire about politicians and

totalitarian governments. Not only does it relate back to the Russian Revolution, it relates to the

tyranny that has occurred in almost all governments at some point in time. It brings up many

political issues that were found not only during the time of the Revolution, but in today's

governments as well. After the rebellion there was at first unity, but soon thereafter, speech was

spun and manipulated to bring across to the listener the implied intent, the gullible working class

was oppressed, classes were divided by intellect and ability, and ultimately, the cycle of rebellion

and then ease ends up back where it began: oppression and suffering.

The two pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, who represent Trotsky and Stalin, use their

eloquent speech to sway the gullible crowd towards siding with one or the other of them. As each

character speaks, the listeners are swayed towards the one who is speaking. Napoleon and

Snowball “disagreed at every point where disagreement was possible” (63). “Each had his own

following, and there were some violent debates” (63). The animals were ultimately divided into

two parties, one for Snowball, and one for Napoleon.

One argued for the building of the windmill, which became a representation of WWII

itself, and one argued for taking care of the immediate issues at hand. If Napoleon said ‘let’s do

this!’ while they were talking, the animals were persuaded to listen to him. If Snowball said ‘let’s
do that!’, the animals sided with him. This shows the gullibility of people as a general whole.

“The animals listened first to Napoleon, then to Snowball, and could not make up their minds

which was right; indeed, they always found themselves in agreement with the one who was

speaking at the moment” (66). It is easy to believe one thing a person says if they twist their

words enough, and we see this in today’s politics a lot. It’s all a game of who can persuade the

crowd the best.

On the topic of persuasion, the animals, almost without knowing it, were divided into

classes. This shows the societal tendency to trend towards social stratification even in a culture

or society that is seen as totally or completely equal. “We pigs are brainworkers. The whole

management and organization of this farm depends on us. Day and night we are watching over

your welfare” (52). There was the obligatory working class, consisting of all the laborers on the

farm; the middle working class, which were those who got greater benefits from the work; and

the upper class, which were obviously Snowball and Napoleon. The pigs, representing Trotsky

and Stalin, used tactics of manipulation to keep the subservient animals in check, and aid in the

natural tendency towards social stratification with these tactics of eloquence. They make it seem

like they’re naturally better, while they are just like everyone else when it comes down to it.

Towards the end of the book, we see that in the animals efforts to rid themselves of

humans, they had become just like them. After their final battle against the humans, a

representation of World War II, Napoleon disappears during the celebrations. He is seen once,

wearing an old hat of the previous occupant, and then he disappears again. Word goes around

that he is dying, and the animals gather around. There is the obligatory decree against drinking

alcohol, however, it is not explicitly against the act of drinking, but against drinking in excess.

Napoleon gets better, and his tyrannical acts get worse, and worse.
Ultimately, all of the pigs begin to act like humans. Squealer, a dictator of Napoleon’s,

even wanders around walking on his hind legs, and carrying a whip. This causes the animals to

fall into a state of consternation, wondering if maybe outing the humans had been a good

decision after all, if their new leaders were turning out to be exactly like them.

After this occurred, a new saying was posted, now the only saying, and the animals were

whisked away once again into a state of believing in their leaders: “All animals are equal, but

some animals are more equal than others” (133). Now any pig carrying a whip, or walking on his

hind hooves, was seen as a normal event and no questions were asked. However, as we see at the

very end when Napoleon makes an agreement with a neighboring human, their conditions were

reversed back to the original state. “No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the

pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man

again; but already it was impossible to say which was which” (139).

Uprisings and tyranny often are an endless cycle. After a rebellion, things seem better for

months, maybe even years, but suddenly, it all goes downhill with the successor taking a

tyrannical pathway. The new tyrant uses eloquent words and decent actions to persuade the

crowd to be understanding of their actions, making them think it’s all for their own good, but

ultimately, it is only for the gain of the successor that they commit acts of tyranny and oppress

the working class.

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