Even though Communism is absent, what in Animal Farm is similar to modern day government and its relationship to its citizens?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indeed, Communism- Russia style does not make the Orwell work inapplicable to the modern day.  The fact is that Orwell's work speaks to governmental abuses in a general context.  The elements of leadership that Napoleon employs to ensure that there is no opposition to his rule is something that can be applied to the modern setting.  In different ways, modern rulers seek to isolate and marginalize voices that speak out against political rule.  Perhaps, they are not able to put dogs to rip the throats out of opponents, but different forms of political silencing are done and to this end, Orwell's work reminds the reader to be vigilant of such attempts.

Orwell constructed different animals to be applicable to modern day government and its relationship to its people.  The fact that Moses is deployed to divert the animals' attention from their struggle is akin to how distractions and diversion present themselves to modern citizens in order to preclude solidarity and questioning the system.  Moses can be seen in a general sense of anything that prevents unity and coalescence in the goal of demanding change from the government.  Benjamin's cynicism is understood and cannot be questioned.  He frequently says that he has seen enough and been around long enough to see things unfold in a manner that prevents any real sense of happiness.  Yet, his cynical nature prevents him from taking action when it is sorely needed, as he fails to act in helping his friend, Boxer, avert his death.  In the end, Orwell shows cynicism as something that helps those in the position of authority.  When individuals disengage, it helps those in the position of power to consolidate their control over the body politic.  Finally, Boxer's loyalty and lack of questioning is what causes his doom.  Orwell reminds the modern reader that not being in the position to question enables the aggressive government to take advantage of its citizens like Napoleon manipulates Boxer.  These characters speak outside of Communism and are applicable to any political relationship between citizens and their government.