What does the ending of Animal Farm say about George Orwell's attitude toward communism and capitalism?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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George Orwell, as a member of England's Labour Party, was a devoted socialist who was very much against both capitalism and totalitarian communism, and these views show clearly the ending of Animal Farm. Socialism favors the distribution of wealth by the government to individuals as opposed to private industry (A Glossary of Political Economy Terms, "Socialism"). Capitalism, on the other hand, favors zero government regulation of industry and believes that wealth will trickle down through the profits of private industries. Orwell saw problems in all political theories, except for socialism, and communism is a form of socialism. However, Orwell saw that the communism of the Soviet Union took a sour turn due to the fact that the regime became a totalitarian regime. During the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia was able to get rid of its ruling class but then replaced that ruling class with the new Communist ruling class, creating a contradictory and failed system ("George Orwell and His Political Views"). We can clearly see the failures of Soviet Union communism depicted in the final chapter.

Orwell portrays the system's potential benefits and failures by pointing out that the animals, unlike they had been promised, are actually worse off than they had been before the revolt. They are hungry, overworked, and have to suffer difficult living conditions. What's more, the farm is filled with more and more pigs, and those pigs begin walking on two legs. The fact that they walk on two legs symbolizes the change in the ruling class. Prior to the the revolt, the animals had been oppressed by humans who walk on two legs. Sadly, that oppression has not ceased; it has merely changed hands--or hooves--as seen in the fact that the pigs are now walking on two legs. Orwell's perspective on the failure of communism is best expressed in the sheep who are trained to bleat, "Four legs good, two legs better," and in the list of commandments that have now been cut down to only one commandment: "All ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS." All of these final events point to Orwell's idea that communism is not bad in and of itself; it's simply corrupt authority that makes the system corrupt.

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