Of all the books written in the history of literature, perhaps Animal farm is among the top of them all that reflect the society in a precise and frank manner. The writer, George Orwell brings the setting of animals, pigs in this context, and places them on a journey of oppression, upraise and eventually liberation from the dictatorial rule of their owner, called Mr. Jones. However fate is twisted as the liberators eventually become the new dictators. The plot and setting of the book, the characters, the issues in the farm, and the critical analysis is the basis of this study.
The book is basically a tale of the society of pigs in an animal farms owned by a farmer known as Mr. Jones. In the ranch animals of all kinds exist namely horses, pigs, and dogs and so forth but the main in the limelight is the pig. The book opens up with the depiction of Mr. Jones as a dictator with autocratic rule and little room for negotiation. However, what the reader probably doesn't appreciate is that the basics are provided for albeit in a little way. This is because the atmosphere among the animals is the need of their 'own' freedom and decision making ability. They complain of overwork and mistreatment by their owner and believe that the change of guard by placing one of their own at the helm could perhaps serve to make it easier for their lives.
These happenings necessitate the animals who are perceived to be the elites who are the pigs to spearhead the fight against the dictatorial ruler and eventually overthrow them. Although George Orwell takes the plunge of condemning the rule he however, in my opinion gives room for the reader tom see the other side of Mr. Jones which is the ability to provide the basics but this is almost overshadowed by the events that are in the air.
The revolution occurs and the dictator is finally overthrown. The animals are optimistic, there is a sigh of relief and hope rents the air. It seems that the new beginning of democratic and just governance is the order that is going to be in place forever more! This is only short lived ironically. Orwell basically from this point onwards gives an account of what happens in the society that acquires independence from colonialism to self rule. In this case, the story moves from an environment of comradeship, common goals of liberation to a dictatorial selfish and irrelevant leadership. When Old Major, the father of revolution makes the speeches soon after the revolution all the animals come to listen with hopes dreams and attitudes about the 'heaven' that was coming. This eventually turns into an imposition of the seven rules that were to govern the farm properly.
The seven rules in a nutshell provided for the propaganda and blindfolding of the less intelligent animals to believe that the source of their problem i actually foreign and the only solution for this was to eradicate all the connection with the outside influence. In fact the commandments that were put in place were placed aimed to block outside criticism make the animals fell comfortable and eventually downrightly strip them all fundamental rights. The first one which said that all two legged animals are enemies was a typical rule that was enabling the rulers set their own standards in pretence that they are serving their own. It was an aim to demonize the humans and make them appear to be the cause of their problems.
The second set of rules were those aimed at making the animals comfortable and accommodating as they recognized the bird which had wings, they also showed that all animals are equal and no animals were allowed to kill other animals. However the last lot of rules was plain dictatorial but the animals too were too excited but dumb at the same time to accept them to accept such kind of rules. They included the rule that banned animals from wearing clothes, drinking and sleeping in beds. These are the rules that held the power of the animals in bondage and the rulers of the farm practiced status quo un ashamedly. The characters of the book are an interesting lot who had peculiar characteristics.
First of them all was Snowball who had a better idea and more probable approach in leadership. However Napolean and Squealer used the propaganda tactic to mudsling him and make the animals believe that he had no capability to rule. The two are animals that used the first commandment to brainwash the other animals into believing that the if snowball was in leadership then Mr. Jones would not only manipulate him to return but also come back physically to take over the farm. Such characters in the society are applicable in electioneering years where fear lies and propaganda is used to steer public opinion of the electorate. Good leaders are seldom elected in post-colonial eras. This is true in countries in Africa, and The greater Asia which remain poor due to the political environment.
Orwell further uses Boxer; a hardworking animal was one of the most skillful and outstanding and even the most ambitious to some extent. He was however one of the most misused by Napolean because he couldn't defend himself when it came to matters of justice and so forth. Tragically thereafter, he sadly disappeared after his strength and skill phased out making him useless and unworthy. This is a depiction of how the society and especially the status quo uses the people with the most resources only to get rid of them when they are no longer needed by them. In the context of the real life many political assassinations occur in unclear circumstances. More often than not these are the reasons why missing people are eliminated.
In the animal farm another interesting character is Clover, an animal with a skill in medicine who comes across as a compassionate but witty person. He is closer too boxer than any other person and tries very hard to convince Boxer to tone down his ambition because of his probable threat to the ruling class. This is a depiction that the author sues to show that despite the fact that all the animals or people being seed as mean and selfish the human nature also provides for people to be compassionate and caring about others.
The rest of other animals portray an array of characteristics in the society today that include those with ambition and those who are lazy in their own right. This is the setting whereby those in control are more equal than others and are always in opposition to do things that are unjut but qualify them by use of the existing laws.
This book tries to show the two types of societies that exist in one. By the use of snowball the development minded leader who had in mind the construction of windmill but chased out by dogs, the author describes the leadership changes that are not only inhuman but also ambiguous. This is because those who claim to make changes don't have concrete plans and end up misleading people more.
Written in 1943 is the direct criticism of the soviet politics especially during the change of the political ideological. Most of the countries that were this period had acquired independence from their colonial masters in Africa and Asia, as well as the world still experiencing the aftermath of the Second World War. The book depicts the nature of dictatorial rule that existed in the governments and tends to hit below the belt on issues of human rights and other fundamental rights that were not being observed in the world.
The leadership that exists to this very day has managed to continue its electorate that the issue of being leaders is a heavy responsibility that deserved to be remunerated overly. This is through the aspect of the pigs convincing the rest of the animals that they needed to drink most of the milk in order to sustain the energy of leading the farm. The reflection of the Russian political elite that was extremely wealthy while the rest of the people languished in poverty. Tragedy and confusion being used by Napolean to cushion him against the animals criticism is one strategy used to qualify these aspects. He managed to tell the animals that he was always right no matter what, and when things dint go well he threatened that Jones would return and take the farm away. This is a typical strategy that neo-colonialism uses against mass criticism that the major problems experienced in their governments are colonially involved.
The church also is under attack in this work as Orwell uses Moses, the raven to calm the people down when political questions are tense. Ironically when the Old Major had delivered the speech the raven was asleep. He dint know when the time had come or what changes were being instigated but later was in the fore front to fend the government. The church according to the author is always caught off guard and I the case of Russia it was absent when communism was being introduced.
The story ends with the animals coming to terms with what was happening when already everything had been spoiled. This is the scenario in such situations all over the world whereby people make the same mistakes when electing leaders who make the same rules and influence the political negatively. When sense comes about it is often too late and nobody usually want to take the blame.
In the bottom line of the work, the author critically examines various aspects that exist in the society in relation to the prevailing political environment. It portrays the existing class structures, controlling governments as well as an ignorant citizenry that is prone to brainwashing and manipulation by their rulers. In much aspect, Animal farm sounds too explosive and critical that sometimes it may make governments ban its readership. In some societies the book has been banned as scholars who use the book I their studies tend to over criticize the government and political class. The author has also used the characters and other people in the book to portray some of the themes and issues that affect the society.
In conclusion, the book is a good read because it not only timeless but also adapted to any society. This is satirically used to reflect on leaders' use of ruthless and cunning ways to trample their opponent as well as using the trusted institutions such as the church to seal affirm their control. It is a simple story that is based on the society of animals which strive to achieve social balance as well as democracy. Therefore the plot, setting and characters have been used perfectly and the author has surely achieved his mission.