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Examine Animal Farm as political satire.

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vishakhagoswami | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 19, 2013 at 7:31 AM via web

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Examine Animal Farm as political satire.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 19, 2013 at 8:13 AM (Answer #1)

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Orwell's work would have to be considered as an example of political satire.  In examining what constitutes political satire, humor is utilized to critique a particular weakness or condition.  Orwell uses this in the form of animals on a farm embodying the Russian Revolution.  Animal Farmcan be seen as political satire because Orwell is deliberate in his critique of the Stalinist grab for political power in the Russian Revolution, as well as how specific sections of Russian society enabled this to happen.  

As modern political satire uses humor in a more demonstrative manner, the humor that Orwell uses is subtle and more haunting. For example, when Napoleon orchestrates the public confession and executions in chapter 7, the humor is not as evident as much as is the biting honesty about the historical conditions of the Stalinist purges. The use of animals and the children's tale format to illuminate some of the most tragic in political miscarriages helps to enhance the satirical element of the work.  Orwell, himself, understood the work to represent the essence of political satire:

Of course I intended it primarily as a satire on the Russian revolution..[and] that kind of revolution (violent conspiratorial revolution, led by unconsciously power hungry people) can only lead to a change of masters [-] revolutions only effect a radical improvement when the masses are alert.

It is in this idea where humor is evident.  The establishent of "Some animals are more equal than others," the replacement of humans with pigs, and the political embodiment of the more things change, the more they stay the same are all aspects of this humor.  The political satire becomes evident in this light.

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