What viewpoint does Orwell express through his use of satire in Animal Farm? 

What viewpoint does Orwell express through his use of satire in Animal Farm?


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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Orwell’s viewpoint is that revolutions are often controlled by individuals who manipulate the masses into following an ideology when all they really want is power.  Although the story is an allegory of the Russian Revolution, it can represent any revolution.  Many revolutions follow this pattern.

In the story, Old Major is the visionary. He tells the animals about a perfect world where they are in control of their own destiny.  He says that the humans are exploiting them.  They do not need people.

"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. … Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.” (Ch. 1) 

Then Old Major dies.  That might have been the end of it, except that the animals are not fed and they decide to take matters into their own hands and get their own food.  The humans try to stop them, and the animals fight back.  A revolution is born.

From then on, the animals are manipulated by pigs.  The pigs take control of the animals, and the principles of Animalism that they founded Animal Farm with fall by the wayside.  Orwell’s point is that Napoleon and the pigs used the principles of Animalism to get and maintain power. They had no desire to have all of the animals be equal.

The pigs used the animals every step of the way.  They used propaganda and coercion to get the animals to do what they wanted to do.  If they couldn’t trick them, they would use fear.  Napoleon’s guard dogs are an example of that.  Soon, no dissension is accepted.

Some of the pigs themselves, however, were more articulate. Four young porkers in the front row uttered shrill squeals of disapproval, and all four of them sprang to their feet and began speaking at once. But suddenly the dogs sitting round Napoleon let out deep, menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent and sat down again. (Ch. 5) 

It is fairly easy to hijack a revolution, according to Orwell.  You just pretend to believe the philosophy long enough to get into power, and then make sure that you are in charge and no one can stop you.  You slowly manipulate information and block dissension, run off dissenters, like Snowball, and then when your power is cemented you can openly eliminate anyone who opposes you.