Life and works• George Orwell was the pseudonym of Eric Blair, born in India in 1903, son of a minor colonialofficial,he was taken to England by his mother when he was a child• He was first educated at St Cyprian’s then at Eton where he began to develop anindependent-minded personality, indifference to accepted values and professed atheism andsocialism• In December 1936 he went to Barcelona with his wife to report Spanish Civil War and hejoined the militia of POUM ( Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification )• He decided to begin publishing his works with the pseudonym of George Orwell because“George” suggested common sense and “ Orwell ” was the name of a river he was fond of• When the Second World War broke out, he moved to London and in between 1941 and 1943worked on propaganda for the BBC• In 1943 he began to write “ Animal Farm” which was published in 1945 when the Iron Curtainwas beginning to fall and this gave him popularity in Europe• In 1949 he published “Nineteen Eighty-Four” his most original book which became a best-seller.• He died of tuberculosis in 1950
Social Themes• Orwell was a political journalist, critic and book-reviewer inthe tradition of Swift and Defoe• He used a realistic and factual language• He represented a vision of human fraternity and miserybecause of poverty and depravation• He supported ideals of tolerance justice and equality betweenpeople• He fought against any form of totalitarianism and violation ofliberty• He addressed his readers to refuse tyranny in all its forms
The historical background• During Stalin’s tyranny 3 million of people who opposed himlost their lives in Purge• In 1939 Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler whichallowed him to invade Polonia and Czechoslavakia• Orwell’s indignation and reaction moved him to write“Animal Farm”• He expressed his disillusionment with Stalinism andTotalitarianism in general in the form of an animal fable nearto Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” in the comparison between menand animals
Animal Farm:the plotIn a somewhere farm in England, animalscapable of reason and speech andencouraged by Old Major’s teachingswhich dies three days after made hisspeech, overcome their cruel master MrJones and installed a revolutionarygovernement. At the beginning animal’slife is guided by Seven Commandementsbased on equality,but then pigs lead andamong them stand out Snowball andNapoleon who have different ideas onhow to organize farm. The pigs supervisethe enterprise under Napoleon’sleadership which is able to chase Snowballbelieving him responsible for all thetroubles which happended in the farm andestablished a dictatorship supported byother pigs. Gradually pigs alteredcommandements and exploited otheranimals, arrogating to themselvesprivileges previously exercised by humans.
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy2. Whatever goes upon four legs or has wings is afriend3. No animal shall wear clothes4. No animal shall sleep in a bad5. No animal shall drink alcohol6. No animal shall kill any other animal7. All animals are equal
That becames three:• No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.• No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.• No animal shall kill any other animal withoutcause.
ComparisonsAll the animals can be compared with a character of RussianRevolution:• Old Major representsboth Marx and Lenin,the founders ofcommunism whichgave teachings topeople but did’t tookpart in Revolutionbecause they diedbefore
• Farmer Jones is Czar Nicolasthe second : he is a veryheavy drinker and theanimals revolt against himafter he drinks so much thathe does not feed or takecare of them. The attemptby Jones and his farmhandsto recapture the farm isfailed in the Battle of theCowshed. So he wasreplaced by Napoleon in hisdictatorship
• Snowball represents Leon Trotsky.Hewins over most animals and gainstheir trust by leading a verysuccessful first harvest, but is drivenout of the farm by Napoleon.Snowball genuinely works for thegood of the farm and the animals,and devises plans to help the animalsachieve their vision of an egalitariansociety, but Napoleon and his dogseventually chase him from the farm.Thereafter, Napoleon spreadsrumours to make him seem evil andcorrupt, even claiming that hesecretly sabotaged the animalsefforts to improve the farm.
• Napoleon is obviously Stalin, themain villain of Animal Farm. Hebegins gradually to build up hispower surrounding himself bydogs, whom he uses as his secretpolice. After driving Snowball offthe farm, Napoleon usurps fullpower, using false propaganda fromSquealer and threats andintimidation from the dogs to keepthe other animals in line. Amongother things, he gradually changesthe Commandments for his benefit.By the end of the book, Napoleonand his fellow pigs have learned towalk upright and started to behavemuch like the humans againstwhom they originally revolted.
• The character of Boxer stands for the loyal,hard-working man who followsAnimalism faithfully without understanding its more intricate detailscompletely and finally he is deceived by Napoleon. His name came from BoxerRebellion in China which is linked to the rise of communism in China• Dogs represente the Terror State which Stalin created in Russia as a means tokeeping order and crushing political opposition• the Battle of the Windmill represents the Great Patriotic War( Second WorldWar), especially the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Moscow. During thebattle, Fredrick drills a hole and places explosives inside, and it is followed by"All the animals, except Napoleon" took cover; Orwell had the publisher alterthis from "All the animals, including Napoleon" in recognition of JosephStalins decision to remain in Moscow during the German advance• The Battle of the Cowshed represents the allied invasion of the Sovier Russiain 1918, and the defeat of the White Russians in the Russian Civil War.All the other animals symbolise something and all theevents narrated represent an event of Russian History: