Author: George Orwell
Animal Farm is a story about the animals of a farm in England who chase out the human masters and take control. The animals, personified by speech, had been stirred to action by the dream of the respected pig Old Major in which he saw a vision of an animal paradise, where they would work for themselves and live forever free of the tyranny of human masters. In striving to reach this paradise the pigs take the role of leadership on the farm and, through manipulation, lies, and corruption, become worse than the humans had ever been.
This is one of the political satires that George Orwell is famous for, so the politics on Animal Farm are of particular interest. The most significant aspect is the relationship between the pigs, the leaders, and the other animals of the farm, the subjects. In the beginning of animal rule, the pigs emerged as the dominant figures gradually. The pigs justified their role by claiming they had a higher level of intelligence than the other animals, which, while true, was one of the first signs of their corruption.
What made Animal Farm so successful in its first year was the feeling that the animals were working for themselves, just as Old Major had envisioned. The horses, chickens, dogs, sheep, and others were all genuinely happy with the roles that they had established for themselves. It was this contentment that paved the way for the pig’s lies and manipulation. The main political idea that was developed here was that as long as the public believes that they are better off, they will be happy. The animals knew they had been unhappy with humans running their lives, and so the pigs used that to convince them that they must be happy without the humans. “You wouldn’t want Jones to come back, would you?”
Character development is also key in developing the story in Animal Farm. One of the novel’s greatest features was once hailed by Mr. Martin of Harry Miller Middle School as the character of Boxer. An impressively powerful horse, he was the strongest animal on the farm. He represented loyalty, despite the hardships that came with it. He was an important symbol on Animal Farm because of his steadfast faith in Old Major’s vision.
Similarly, the sheep were conformists, the nine dogs were the military, the chickens the mob, and Benjamin the mule served as a voice of reason. Each character adds another dimension to the society on Animal Farm, strengthening the political allegory and exposing how the manipulation of the pigs can take many forms.