By reading this book, what are some things a reader can learn? George Orwell's Animal Farm

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Written as an allegorical satire of the Stalin regime prior to World War II, Animal Farm's author, George Orwell, who felt that Communism was a "counter-revolutionary force," demonstrates his disappointment in socialism.  For, Orwell perceives in it the short-sightedness, wickedness, ignorance, indifference, and greed that destroy any possibility of a Utopia.

Each of the animals represents one of these hindrances to Utopia,   For instance, Benjamin represents the indifferent citizen who figures that no matter what he does, nothing will matter.  Boxer, on the other hand, becomes very involved with Animalism, but his blind faith and myopia prevent him from distinguishing the corruption of Napoleon. The sheep, ignorant followers, simply repeat the credo of "Four legs good, two legs bad."  Finally, the most dangerous aspect of revolution is that there are always those who are given power and become corrupted by this power.  Napoleon and Squealer are those who abuse power.  Just as Joseph Stalin eliminated his competitor, Lenin, Naopeon usurps all leadership of the farm by running off Snowball.  Similar to Adolf Hitler and his propagandist Joseph Groebbels, Napoleon surrounds himself with his dogs as protection and has Squealer reinterpret the truth for the masses.

Indeed, from reading Orwell's powerful indictment of the evils of human nature, the student learns how power often corrupts, especially when people are either misinformed or uninformed because through ignorance or indifference they open the avenue to power for the stronger among them.  This is a lesson that man has yet to learn fully as history continually repeats itself.