Satire In Animal Farm
How is Animal Farm a satire?
A satire is a work which uses humour, irony or wit to highlight the vices, follies and pretensions of individuals, institutions, communities or ideas. Animal Farm satirises the breakdown of political ideology and the misuse of power, and does so in the ingenious form of a beast fable. The major players are animals but their failings are all too recognisably human. They begin with an idealistic attempt to form a new society, liberated from the tyranny of humans and founded on the principle of equality and freedom for everyone, but it all goes wrong as the pigs take over. Backed up by the brute power of the dogs, they appropriate all manner of comforts and even luxuries for themselves, while reducing the the other animals to the same condition of slavery that they suffered under humans.
Orwell's point that the pigs are really just the same as the human tyrants they replaced is underlined in the famous ending to the novel, as the pigs mingle with humans to the extent that it becomes impossible to distinguish between them:
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.(chapter 10)
The novel, then, exposes the perversion of political ideals and the corruption of power which occur all too regularly in human societies. Most obviously perhaps, it functions as an attack on Stalinist Russia, where the original Communist Revolution degenerated into war, interior power struggles and the emergence of a grim totalitarian regime under Josef Stalin. However, the satire of Animal Farm is not tied to any one time or place. Its lessons are universal, and conveyed in memorable fashion, and as such it endures as a powerful and relevant literary work.
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George Orwell used the real-life Russian Revolution, which resulted in the U.S.S.R. and many human-rights violations by the corrupt leader Joseph Stalin, as the template for Animal Farm. The satire comes...
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George Orwell's novel is characterized by its satirical mood on every page. Animal Farm is a satire in the sense that it makes real-to-life comparisons to the reality of the Soviet Union. This is thus portrayed by the characters, specially the pigs, who after taking control of the farm, became the feared leaders whose orders must be followed to the letter.
Such satirical element, though fascinating it might be, is ultimately a reminder of what actually happened in History, and that gives Animal Farm its acclaimed fame: that although it is a brilliant literary work, it is indeed based on true facts. For instance, this parallelism is perfectly put forward with Squealer, whose outstanding skills to brainwash animals at the moment of delivering political speeches could be compared to that of Trotsky's or even Lenin's.
More blatantly stated is the chasing of animals who have broken the Seven Commandments -not that they actually did, for that matter-. This is a clear reference to Stalin's Secret Police: they would go after rioters and traitors and send them to Siberia. Of course such enforcement officers are depicted by Napoleon's dogs, the most feared violent prosecutors in Animal Farm.
In conclusion, Animal Farm is a clever way to read and learn about History as well as working at a metaphorical level, in this case, precisely by analyzing its satirical components.