How does Orwell explore the concept of communism in Animal Farm?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the strongest detailing of Communism comes out through Napoleon.  Orwell recognizes that Napoleon is the representation for Stalin, and his view of a Communist regime.  When Napoleon runs Snowball off the farm, it is akin to Stalin running off Trotsky.  As a result, the focus on Stalin as a leader and on Napoleon as a Stalin- like figure becomes central in Orwell's mind.  Consider the purges that Stalin ordered and Napoleon's public "confessions."  Another example is how Stalin ordered artists and musicians to construct and develop art that glorifies the state and overlooks all problems.  Napoleon's use of Minimus in the same manner helps to bring this out on the farm.  Finally, both Stalin and Napoleon are experts in using propaganda to manipulate situations to their own benefit.  They demonstrate how figures can lie and liars can use figures in order to substantiate their own understanding of how reality should be constructed.  In doing so, their use of propaganda serves to bolster their own leadership and political control over their people, who are powerless to stop an onslaught of repressive government.  In constructing Napoleon in the manner he did, Orwell offers the most stinging of critiques against Russian style Communism.