Essay, Research Paper: Manor Farm

Literature: George Orwell

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George Orwell's Animal Farm is a political satire of a totalitarian society
ruled by a mighty dictatorship, in all probability an allegory for the events
surrounding the Russian Revolution of 1917. The animals of "Manor
Farm" overthrow their human master after a long history of mistreatment.
Led by the pigs, the farm animals continue to do their work, only with more
pride, knowing that they are working for themselves, as opposed to working for
humans. Little by little, the pigs become dominant, gaining more power and
advantage over the other animals, so much so that they become as corrupt and
power-hungry as their predecessors, the humans. The theme in Animal Farm
maintains that in every society there are leaders who, if given the opportunity,
will likely abuse their power. The book begins in the barnyard of Mr. Jones'
"Manor Farm". The animals congregate at a meeting led by the prize
white boar, Major. Major points out to the assembled animals that no animal in
England is free. He further explains that the products of their labor is stolen
by man, who alone benefits. Man, in turn, gives back to the animals the bare
minimum which will keep them from starvation while he profits from the rest. The
old boar tells them that the source of all their problems is man, and that they
must remove man from their midst to abolish tyranny and hunger. Days later Major
dies, but the hope and pride which he gave the other animals does not die. Under
the leadership of the pigs, the most intelligent of the animals, they rebel
against their human master managing to overthrow him. After the rebellion, under
the direction of Napoleon, the most outspoken pig, and Snowball, the most
eloquent pig, the animals continue to work the farm successfully. As with all
societies, the animals have laws which must be obeyed. Their laws stated that
animals shall never become like humans; cruel and manipulative. They shall not
wear clothing nor sleep in beds. Most importantly, they are to respect one
another's equality and killing another animal is strictly forbidden. Meanwhile,
the pigs as leaders are taking bigger food rations for themselves justifying
their behavior as something necessary for the "brains" of their animal
society. At this point we begin to suspect that the pigs will abuse their
positions and power in this animal society. Mr. Jones tries to reclaim his power
but the animals prevent him from doing so in what they call "The Battle of
the Cowshed". After the battle, Napoleon drives Snowball off the farm
telling everyone that Snowball was on Mr. Jones' side. Napoleon is further
appreciated by the other animals for exposing and removing the traitor,
Snowball, from their midst. Slowly, Napoleon gets a stronger and stronger hold
over the other animals, dominating their every action. The situation at
"Animal Farm", the new name for "Manor Farm", really starts
to change now. Napoleon moves into Mr. Jones' house, sleeps in his bed, and even
wears his clothes. In order to make his actions appear legal, the law had to be
interpreted differently, which Napoleon arranged. In defiance of the original
laws, Napoleon befriends Mr. Pilkington, the human owner of a nearby farm.
Napoleon had such control over the other animals that they accepted such a
blatant disregard of their law about fraternizing with humans. The book ends
with the pigs sitting at a table, eating with humans. Napoleon announces to
those around the table that the name "Manor Farm" will be reinstated.
The humans and pigs converse while the other animals outside look on. They, the
lowly creatures according to the pigs and humans, look from pig to man and from
man to pig, unable to differentiate between the species. The theme throughout
Animal Farm is presented through the allegory of corrupt pigs and the passivity
of the other barnyard animals. The humans in the story represent the Russian
royal family and aristocracy, tyrants who abused their power with no regard for
the peasants who, in essence, supported their royal lifestyle. The pigs
represent the Bolshevik revolutionaries who led the masses in rebellion against
the Czar and the entire royal family. Unfortunately, as with the pigs, power
corrupted and the people were then oppressed by their "comrades" under
the new communist government. Orwell's message about power, in the hands of a
few, is corrupting and does nothing to benefit the masses.

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