In 1946, George
Orwell would author one of the most notorious and astute books of all time, a
book titled Animal Farm. Animal Farm takes place on a farm led by
a pig by the name of Old Major. When he describes his dream to the fellow
animals on the farm, he encourages them to turn against the humans. Some days
later, Old Major passes away and the animals revolt and take over farm, renaming
it Animal Farm. Through his novel,
George Orwell tries to convey the significance of being educated and the
tragedies that fall upon the uneducated animals of Animal Farm. These include putting their faith in the wrong hands,
getting manipulated and controlled, not being able make decisions for
themselves and how it relates to the soviet union during this time.
beginning, the pigs are seen as faithful to their fellow animals and to the
revolution. They interpret Old Major’s vision and end up turning it into the
“Seven Commandments of Animalism”. However, it isn’t some time before the pigs’
knowledge and instructions are used in oppression and mistreatment.
Following Old Major’s death, we see
a major struggle between two characters: Snowball and Napoleon. Napoleon believed than an
emphasis on the younger animals should be the focus of education. This is first
exemplified in Chapter 2 and 3 when he takes nine young dogs from their mother
in order to train them. They later come back as Napoleon’s “guards” and play a
large role in his grab for power against snowball. Snowball, on the other hand,
believed everyone was important and equal. Snowball was eventually chased off
the farm by the dogs, giving Napoleon full control.
the pigs began to control education and started to brainwash the animals. For
instance, the sheep were taught to say “Four legs good, two legs bad” at
different times so that the animals had to listen to the pigs’ ideas, which was
believed and remained undisputed. Because the animals were indecisive and uneducated, they
were forced to believe something that turned out to be false. This is one of
the reasons Orwell attempts to discuss the impact of education through his
The instant the pigs are faced with a problem
or supplies that they desire—the fresh milk—they desert their morals and use
their superior intellect and knowledge to deceive the other animals. The pigs
also bound the other animals’ chances to gain intelligence and education early
on. They educate themselves to read and write from a children’s book but
destroy it before the other animals get a chance to look at it. In fact, most
of the animals never learn more than a few letters of the alphabet.
the pigs strengthen their status as the knowledgeable elite, they use their
intellectual advantage to control the other animals. Another important issue
Orwell tries to cover is the issue of dictatorship and manipulation. In this
story, the animals make Napoleon responsible of all affairs, a pig that can read
and write. Napoleon uses his authority and control to play and control the
animals. One way he does this is by altering the rules. When the animals first founded
the Animal Farm, they came up with
seven rules (commandments) to live by. Every time Napoleon would break a rule,
he would slightly modify it.
example, deliberately knowing that the other animals cannot read the Seven
Commandments, they modify them whenever they break a commandment or rule.
appears to me that the wall looks different. Are the seven
commandments the same as they used to be
Benjamin?….There was nothing there
now but a single commandment. It ran: ALL
ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL
THAN OTHERS. After that, it did not seem strange when next day the pigs… “(Page
pigs also use their knowledge to learn trades from handbooks, giving them a
break in the economic field and development. For example, the pigs decline
manual labor in favor of accounting and organizing. This shows the readers that
the pigs have not only the advantage of opportunities, but also the ability to
refuse and reject whatever opportunities come their way.
pigs’ intellect and education let them bring the other animals into obedience
via the use of propaganda and heresy. At the end of the book, we discover
Napoleon’s plans to train a new generation of pigs and brainwash them into the
code of tyranny.
When we take a look at the Russian Revolution and the major
players involved, we tend to find strong connections between them and the
characters in Animal Farm.
During the Russian Revolution, Karl Marx explained the
injustice that had been taking place in Russia. Furthermore, he describes his
vision for the future where classes were no longer part of society. Similarly,
Old Major describes the cruelty and mistreatment that the animals suffered and
his vision for the animals.
Later in the story, the animals rebel against farmer Jones
when he forgets to feed them. This can be seen as a reflection of the 1905 and
1917 revolutions where war caused food shortages in Russia, resulting in mass
starvation and social problems that ultimately sparked rebellion.
The election between Napoleon and Snowball can also be seen
as a parallel to Stalin and Trotsky who had similar views as their animal
equivalents. Similarly, Napoleon’s control
of education can be easily compared to what Stalin did at the time. Stalin had control over the level of education
delivered to the peasants, and therefore, he gained control over them. Through
this absence of education, the Russian peasants were unable to notice the
steady power Stalin was establishing over the masses.
development of his novel, Orwell truly tries to demonstrate the significance
and importance of being educated by showing the reader what could happen when
groups of people (animals in this case) are not. Orwell also attempts to give
us examples of such events. Overall, Animal Farm is a must read for anyone
interested in the Russian Revolution, education, and a well written book in