Why was the story Animal Farm written?

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Animal Farmis a scathing critique of the Russian Revolution and Soviet Communism, but at its heart, like many of Orwell 's works, it is a critique of dictatorship. The story itself shows the gullible nature of people and the ease with which movements and governments are subverted and destroyed....

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Animal Farm is a scathing critique of the Russian Revolution and Soviet Communism, but at its heart, like many of Orwell's works, it is a critique of dictatorship. The story itself shows the gullible nature of people and the ease with which movements and governments are subverted and destroyed. Orwell, who was a socialist, wrote the story as a cautionary tale for anyone who held up Soviet Russia, the Russian Revolution, or Communism as examples to follow.

In a letter to his friend Dwight Macdonald, written in 1946, Orwell explains that:

What I was trying to say was, "You can't have a revolution unless you make it for yourself; there is no such thing as a benevolent dictat[or]ship. . . ."

From Orwell's perspective, it was necessary to point out that revolutions, which he wasn't necessarily against, would only work if they evolved organically. At the start of the story, when the animals overthrow the farmer and establish "animalism," the rules and systems of their society come from the power and authority of the revolution and the animals themselves.

However, once the pigs take charge and the animals let them, there is little hope for anyone on the farm. The myth of the benevolent dictator, something that seems prevalent in all forms of communism, is thoroughly dismantled in Animal Farm. Orwell shows the dangers of dictatorship and the shifting narrative of a communist system that replaces the revolutionary government, pointing out with clarity the flaws in such systems.

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George Orwell said that every piece of work he wrote had been a product of his disagreement with totalitarianism. He witnessed how oppressed poor members of society had been throughout history because leaders did not equally distribute material wealth. Although he had written nonfiction works discussing the subject before, Animal Farm gave him an opportunity to do so by combining politics and artistry. In his novel, the animals (who personify the oppressed working class), stage a rebellion againt their human oppressors. The purpose of Animal Farm is to discuss the Russian Revolution and politicians’ disregard for their own beliefs due to their thirst for power and greed. In the novel, Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, and Snowball represents Trotsky—both real historical figures connected to Russian history. Ultimately, the book strives to help the readers understand how those in positions of power may end up betraying their people and beliefs.

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Actually, the book was written before World War II as a response to the Russian Revolution, in which revolutionaries overthrew the czar and took control of the government. Animal Farm portrays the irony of the communist movement: what started out as a society of equals devolved into a state where some were more equal than others. There will always be the "pigs" who must have power and privilege, while the "sheep" fall in line and do the government's will. In overthrowing one oppressor (the farmer in Animal Farm; the czar in Russia), the animals/Russians have gained another, perhaps harsher oppressor.

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George Orwell said that the purpose of ANIMAL FARM was “the destruction of the Soviet myth” of the events of the Russian Revolution from 1917-1943 (especially the political figures of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin). He added, however, that, more specifically, the book is an allegory that satirizes dictatorship in general. The name of the ruling pig, “Napoleon,” is a reminder that there have been dictators outside Russia. Not Stalin in particular, but totalitarianism, is the enemy Orwell exposes.

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Yes, like 1984, Animal Farm was the product of Orwell's disillusionment with the corruption of the communist ideal. It is a political cautionary tale.

The animals in Animal Farm start off fine--they follow their principles and they seem dedicated to creating and maintaining a society in which the members are not exploited. However, very quickly, the animals re-establish a class system and a few select animals claim power (due to their superior intelligence) and establish a tyrannical rule, replete with enforcers. As time goes on and the original rules on which the society is founded become too restrictive for the pigs, they simply rewrite the rules. Because most of the population is illiterate and undereducated, few animals notice or comment upon the changes. The premise behind the story is that with power comes the (inevitable?) potential for corruption.

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Orwell's "Animal Farm" was written in reponse to the rise of communism and the aggression of Hitler and World War II.

Communism may have looked good on paper, but as Orwell repeatedly shows, it does not work in practice. The tenet "All animals are created equal" soon is amended to "but some are more equal than others."

For more on the historical context of the novel, please visit the link below.

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