Animal farm; George Orwell

English literature. Political novel. Plot. Characters. Setting. Biography

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GEORGE ORWELL George Orwell, pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair (1903−1950), British writer, whose brilliant reporting and political conscience fashioned an impassioned picture of his life and times. Orwell was born in Motihari, India, and was educated in England at Eton College. He served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927, when he returned to England. In poor health, and striving to become a writer, he lived for several years in poverty, first in Paris and then in London. Out of this experience came his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), an account of the sordid conditions of the homeless poor. Burmese Days (1934), an indictment of imperialism, is also largely autobiographical. In 1936 Orwell joined the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War (1936−1939). The description of his experiences, in Homage to Catalonia (1938), forms one of the most moving accounts of this war ever written. Also belonging to this period is The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), a harrowing report on the conditions of unemployed coal miners in the north of England. When Orwell resigned from his position in Burma, he resolved to speak out against the domination of any person over another. His condemnation of totalitarian society is expressed in the brilliantly witty allegorical fable Animal Farm (1945) and in the satirical novel Nineteen Eighty−four (1949). The latter presents a terrifying picture of life under the constant surveillance of Big Brother. We are supposed to tell something else about this term because nowadays we are being the objective of televisions with his new program: The Big Brother. This term was first introduced in the novel of Orwell Nineteen eighty−four. This novel explain us a future were a leader, whose existence is not sure, is followed and loved by everybody. Big Brother watches you says Orwell in his novel, and the new television program consists on this fact, the continued vigilance of people, a hide eye that is always looking at you. Among Orwell's other writings, all basically autobiographical, are the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936); Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays (1950), considered models of expository prose; and Such, Such Were the Joys (1953), recalling the hardships of his school days. ANIMAL FARM Animal farm is a story about how a group of animals tried to make an ideal society with an ideal politic system. Firstly, they managed to turn the owner of the Manor farm out, Mr. Jones. This was possible because the pigs were intelligent and they had planed a perfect battle. Some of the animals were hurt but they won. Although Mr. Jones tried to recover his farm again in other battle in which he was helped by some farmers, but once again he was beaten and he had to renounce to the Manor farm, in those days Animal farm. Some animals which were more intelligent than others, the pigs, learned to read and write and they wrote in the main wall of the granary the Seven Commandments, which should be respected. In the beginning all the animals were equal and all of them worked as far as they could, but afterwards the pigs, which were in charge of the duties began to behave like the owners of the farm, working less than the others, eating more... There were some problems between two pigs, and as it happens in the human life when two people fight for some important charge, one of the pigs was banned and rejected and had to flee of the farm. The time passed and the pigs started to change and to break the commandments but the rest of the animals 1

didn't realize anything, they believed that they were better than Mr. Jones period but really that wasn't true. They worked harder and many more time than before, but they were happy of themselves. And everything went worse till the fact that in the end they had returned to the same conditions, or even worse, that in Mr. Jones period. SIMBOLISM It's very clear that the ideal politic system the animals wanted to establish was communism, and they clearly defeated. It's said that some animals and some people of this book has a real person behind of them. For example, the Russian Czar as Mr. Jones the drunker, Hitler as Mr. Frederik, Stalin in the role of Napoleón or Trotsky as Snowball. Some animals like rats and rabbits represent the mensheviks and the carrier pigeons as the external soviet propaganda. CHARACTERS Most of the characters of this story are animals, but there are humans too. THE ANIMALS´S DESCRIPTION Main characters of this story are two pigs, who are the two leaders of the revolution which take place on Manor Farm where all the animals rebelled against their owner, Mr.Jones. They are Snowball and Napoleon. Napoleon was a large, rather fierce− looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker buy with a reputation for getting his own way. Snowball was a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character. Both were being faltered up by Mr. Jones in order to be sold. They were always in desagreement. Napoleon hated Snowball, he said Snowball was a bad influence and that was why he broke all the rules of the farm. Old Major was the prize Middle White boar who talked to all the animals in the farm about the idea of a rebellion against humans. He had had a strange dream and wished to communicate it to the other animals. He was always called, though the name under which he had been exhibited was Willingdon Beauty. He was so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite ready to lose an hour's sleep in order to hear what he had to say. He was twelve years old, he was a majestic−looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearance in spite of the fact that his toshes had never been cut. Three nights after he had told the others about the dream, he died.


Boxer and Clover. The two cart− horses. Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fouth foal. She was greatly interested in the revolution. Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high and very strong. A stripe down his nose gave him a somewhat stupid appearance. He wasn't very intelligent, but he was universally respected for his steadiness of character and tremendous powers of work. Because of all his hard work he died. Benjamin, the donkey, was the oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered. He seldom talked, and when he did it was usually to make some cynical remark. He never laughed. Nevertheless, without onenly admitting it, he liked Boxer and they spent their Sundays together. About the Rebellion and its results he would express no opinion. Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, was very lazy. She wasn't good at getting up in the mornings. It was noticed that when there was word to be done she could never be found, but she always made excellent excuses that it was impossible not to believe in her good intentions. Squealer was another pig. He was the best known among the pigs. He was a small fat pig with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements and a shrill voice. He was a brilliant talker, who communicated the news to the others animals. Snowball, Napoleon and himself had elaborated old Major's teachings into a complete system of though, to which they gave the name of Animalism. Moses, the tame raven, is the favourite of Mr. Jones's animals, was a spy and a tale−bearer, but he was also a clever talker. Muriel, the white goat. All of these animals are the most important of this story, they are the main characters. But we can found secondary characters too as three dogs, whose names are Bluebell, Jessie and Pincher, the hens, pigeons, sheep, cows, ducklings, cats... THE HUMANS´S DESCRIPTION The main human character is Mr. Jones, the owner of the farm. He was hated by all the animals. He was an alcoholic drunker. He was a married man, so Mrs. Jones appears in this story too. Although we don't know anything about her. Mr. Pilkington, he was the owner of another farm called Foxwood. He was an easy−going gentleman−farmer who spent most of his time in fishing or hunting depending to the season. Mr. Frederick, he was the owner of the other farm, which was called Pinchfield. He was a tough, shrewd man, perpetually involved in lawsuits and with a name for driving hard bargains. LINGUISTIC STUDY Animal Farm is a short metaphorical satirical fable where the third narrative person and the dialogue are 3

mixed. This dialogue is always held by different animals that appear in the tale. These three points are the ones that we are going to follow in our linguistic study • The whole story is narrated in the a third person which always appears as an informer of the situations and events taking place on this special farm. This voice knows everything about all the characters that appeared throughout the tale, which is why we can call it an omniscient and omnipresent narrator because it is in the mind of each animal or person. It knows what they are thinking at every moment and what their future reaction will be. An example of this is when he describes the feelings of Napoleon when he is criticising Snowball in his thoughts. In the text, there often appear some past references and guesses about the future. For instance, when the animals remember Snowball's times (past references) or when Major tell, in his speech, future plans that came to him in dreams. • The narrator uses the dialogue as a means of contact among characters. The tale is full of this kind of narrative form. Moreover, this dialogue almost eclipse the figure of the third person in the narration, because the interesting part of the book is hidden in the conversations of our characters, in which the author develops his political and ideological theories (these are study in depth in the symbolism of the book). • As we have spoken about the dialogue, we ought to show what kind of characters hold these conversations and the consequences of it. Firstly we have to say that the dialogues are held by animals, men have no great role in dialogues but this does not mean that their role in the tale is unimportant. A direct consequence of the appearance of the animals is that the vocabulary and the semantic fields have to follow some close references that are to do with sounds of animals (bark, neigh, bray, etc...), parts of animals (pawn, hoof, tail, snout, etc...), places on a farm (barn, henhouse, cowshed, windmill), and, of course, different kinds of animals ( pigs, horses, donkeys, cats, crows, hens, birds, sheep, and the worst of all the animals: men). We have to mention the narrative use of the personification of animals (animals behaving as humans) an the animaliton of humans (humans behaving as animals). SETTING Although there is no specific date on the story, we can say that the action lasts for over ten years form the very beginning when Old Major tells the animals about its dream, to the end, when the animals realised that Napoleon has become a man. The life in Animal Farm is as normal as in other far but form the speech of Old Major, all the things happen quicker and quicker and so on. Then, after Boxer's death, there is a break of several years. Meanwhile, life in Animal Farm has changed a lot and the animals can hardly remember their lives some years before. However they see that Napoleón is as man as Mr. Pilkington Apart from this all the story takes place in the Manor Farm, which afterwards was called Animal Farm and finally was Manor Farm again. Moreover, three more places are mentioned here, Foxwood and Pinchfield, two farms which joined to Animal Farm, and Willingdon, a city in which Napoleón had to buy food, materials and other things. These exchanges took place through a man, Whymper. PERSONAL OPINION 4

This story is good and makes you think about so many things. At the beginning it tells you the life in an usual farm. Everybody and everything is right and nothing more happens. Then, after some news about the future rebellion, all see their situation, as if somebody had opened their eyes and pretend to help the rebellion. Afterwards, when they have got their freedom and equality, a pig, Napoleon, starts to manipulate and deceive them in order to be the master of all of them (although he says that all he's doing is for them). Step by step, he changes into all what everybody hated before the rebellion, even the human beings' vices. In other words, they return to the same life they had at the beginning but working harder, eating less and thinking they are better than in the old days with Mr. Jones. It's a kind of circular structure, all begins the same way as it ends. The rebellion was no use. As in the fables, the animals are used to criticize situations. Whereas there is a leader on a society, equality and freedom will never be able to live in. Finally we want to mention that perhaps the rebellion to which Old Major refered to was the one which it would held against Napoleón's reign, not against Jones' one.


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