George Orwell: Animal Farm (1945)
Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four (1994) are considered the most important works of George Orwell. Animal Farm is a political fable, which describes how the animals on a farm rebel against their cruel master. In this fable, the animals decides to manage the farm themselves, but in a short time the pigs gain control over the other animals and start to behave as cruelly as the human master.
(N.B: A Fable is a short story where, mostly, the characters are animals that speak and act like humans. A Fairy-tale is a short story where the characters are typically figures of folkloric fantasy).
Animal farms can be considered:
a) A parody of workers who managing farms and factories in the Soviet Union
b) A satire of the corruption of Socialism in the Soviet Union.
c) The animals of the farm represent a metaphor for the workers in a modern society: in fact, like the animals of the farm, they are exploited no matter who the masters happen to be.
This fable has an obvious universal scope, in fact, anyone can read it, even a child because it is written in a simple way, but it contains an important message that only adults can find.
1) The corruption of Socialism’s ideas.
2) The society divided into social classes and the way in which the society is be able to re-establishes class structure and divisions.
3) The idealism of the oppressed.
4) The importance and, at the same time, the failure of political ideas.
5) Rituals, songs and language as an instruments of power and manipulations.
The passage is exemplary of how Orwell describes the historical and social process of the corruption of revolutionary or political ideas. The animals of the farm are terrified because the farm’s pigs, which manage the farm, are walking on two legs like man. The animals, in the end of the passage, even have taken up man’s habit (listen to the radio, reading newspaper, smoking a pipe) and wear Mr Jones’ clothes and Mrs Jones’ dresses.
Their parade across the yard is a parody of military parades.
The message is that the leaders of the revolution, the pigs, have learned to behave exactly like the tyrant they brought down. This message is summed in Napoleon, a pig that has come out of a revolution only to end up as an emperor.
The sheep, with their “tremendous bleating” of “4 Legs Good, 2 Legs better!” correspond to the slogan screamed by the masses in totalitarian regimes.
As in all totalitarian system, (military and economic) equality in the world of Animal Farm is just a word. Here, inequality even becomes an article of the law:
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.
It is the only one left out of the original Seven Commandments.