Examine the topical nature of George Orwell's Animal Farm in world politics.

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The below answer is apt and covers the contemporary parallels in Orwell 's day, some 70-90 years ago. If, however, we are talking about current parallels, Orwell's concerns can also be applied. He was worried about propaganda distorting truth and its use in controlling people. He was also concerned with...

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The below answer is apt and covers the contemporary parallels in Orwell's day, some 70-90 years ago. If, however, we are talking about current parallels, Orwell's concerns can also be applied. He was worried about propaganda distorting truth and its use in controlling people. He was also concerned with a small group or a single individual seizing power and abusing it to the detriment of the common good. While he was trying in particular to expose the betrayal of communist ideals in Stalinist Russia, his larger message is that the ideals of any revolution or ideology can be betrayed. 

Many people are saying we are now living in quite interesting times in the United States and the world. Does a small group of extremists distort the values of Islam in the world today, much as Napoleon distorted Animalism? In our country, to switch gears, many have criticized a "24-hour news cycle" for distorting facts and producing news that treats politics as entertainment, thus debasing the political discourse in this country. Are we "dumbing down" our own political values in ways similar to the pigs' dumbing down and distorting the Seven Commandments of Animalism? Orwell would probably say yes. Do wealthy people have too much influence over the politics of the Eurozone the way the pigs had too much control over the Farm? Some would argue yes--but some no, given the way the power elites haven't been able to control the rise of nationalist parties in Europe. But the larger point is that these issues of language and power articulated by Orwell continue to trouble us today.

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If the question refers to the topical nature of Animal Farm during Orwell's own time, then the answer is pretty clear. There are direct, clear, unambiguous parallels between Animal Farm and the rise of the Soviet Union--indeed, the book, written at a time when many intellectuals in the West were beginning to learn the realities behind Stalin's dictatorship, and is often read as an allegory for this world historical event. Old Major, for example, is Karl Marx, the long-dead spiritual and intellectual progenitor of communist revolution. Napoleon is Stalin himself, ruthless and cunning, and ultimately a walking perversion of the ideals of socialism. Snowball is Leon Trotsky, Stalin's rival who he had hunted down and murdered in exile. The windmill represents the rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union, and its brutal costs for the Soviet people. There are many more parallels--readers in the 1940s would have recalled reading of Stalin's purges, which take place in the book as well as Napoleon kills innocent animals to consolidate his power. So the message of power run amok in the name of communist revolution was highly topical among Orwell's contemporaries. 

 

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