Communism and the betrayal of the revolution : a Marxist critique of the post-revolutionary manipulation of the proletariat in Animal Farm

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Engelska

Abstract: George Orwell wrote Animal Farm to warn of the dangers of a totalitarian regime in the practical application of communist ideology. His novella reflects his experience of, and response to, momentous events occurring in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. It is a acknowledgement of the extent to which totalitarian leaders rely on the manipulation of thoughts and actions in order to maintain power across the class boundaries. In this essay, Orwell’s political and personal standpoints are examined and the book is analysed from a Marxist and socialist perspective. Whereas Animal Farm was written to reflect the terrible experience of Orwell and many of his contemporaries, its message is in many ways limited by his efforts to adhere to a parody of the events in Soviet Russia. Attention is given to the role of propaganda and Squealer, the chief propagandist in Animal Farm. Although Squealer does not wield power overtly in the way that Napoleon does, he is pivotal in the maintenance of a cowed population. Further, and more importantly from the point of view of the Marxist criticism of Orwell's novella, the Author is found wanting in his depiction of the working classes and his ability to champion those upon whom he in actual fact looked down.

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