How does the social criticism in Animal Farm act as a tool for improving society?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Social criticism attempts to place a moment or a literary work in its due place by emphasizing on how its theme would affect society, or individuals.

In the case of Animal Farm, the criticism is clear in that the story demonstrates the capability of any individual whether educated or not, to either make or break society if such individual is influential enough to create a paradigm, idea, or society for others to follow.

The characters in Animal Farm  were once typical farm animals with a hope to be treated fairly. This desire became an ambition that, eventually turned into a thirst that made them turn despotic, bold, cold-blooded, and mean-spirited. This is allegorical tohuman behavior and how totalitarian governments can destroy society.

Hence, the best way social criticism can help improve society is by showing society how bad things could get if certain behaviors are allowed to run rampant without an ounce of common sense. Therefore, social criticism in the story helps us mirror our own weaknesses as leaders and as followers and help us avoid seeing life emulating art, nor vice versa.

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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George Orwell is known for using allegory to create social criticism. In the case of Animal Farm, he creates a lampooning caricature of Soviet Communism by representing famous political figures and the population of Russia with animals. Stalin himself is represented by Napoleon, a pig that functions as a brutal authoritarian for the rest of the animals. He and the other pigs eventually become indistinguishable from humans, becoming the very enemy that they set out to abolish on the farm.

Orwell covered the Spanish Civil War and lived during the rise of the Soviet Union. Based on what he saw, he developed an intense hatred for totalitarianism in its many forms. Like some of his other works, the social criticism of Animal Farm acts as a tool for improving society by showing warning signs of a fascist regime and informing that a populace always has more raw power than its government.

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