Animal Farm (Political Oppression)

“We animals are brothers. Large or small, clever or simple, fur or feathers. Now and forever, all animals are equal!” Based on George Orwell’s famous novel of the
same name, Animal Farm uses the incongruous device of animal characters, such as cartoon
characters from a Disney film, to create an allegory for Communist oppression in the aftermath
of revolution. The animated film tells the story of an uprising
led by farm animals after being mistreated and abused by their owner, Mr. Jones, who
subjected the farm animals to physical abuse, overwork, and often starvation. “Sooner, perhaps, than Old Major would have
predicted, the animals found their situation quite unbearable.” After the successful revolution, the animals
try to build an egalitarian society. But one pig named Napoleon, who represents
Stalin, decides that he is able to rule the animal farm better. He takes power by killing Snowden, the chosen
leader of the farm, and uses fear tactics to keep all of the other animals in line while
he and other pigs use and abuse the farm’s resources. In a scene that represents the Stalinist starvation
policy in the Ukraine, where the harvest was stolen by Soviet Communists while the Ukranians
starved, the pigs too steal all the eggs produced by the chickens. When the chickens investigate, they discover
that the pigs are feasting while the other animals starve. They also discover that the pigs sleep all
day in beds, a practice associated with their former oppressive owner, while the other animals
work constantly and sleep on the ground. In an allegory for Communist oppression of
dissent, the chickens are caught and persecuted along with any other animals that resist the
pigs’ selfish rule. “The animals thought they remembered a law
against beds, but obviously they were mistaken. The innocent suffered with the guilty, and
the chickens’ uprising was short-lived.” Communism promises people a better life. But far from elevating people to a new level
of equality, Communism treats people worse than animals. Human rights are the last defense of the weak
against the strong, the poor against the rich, and the powerless against the powerful. Any nation that rejects human rights in the
name of political ideology, even if the ideology promises equality, is on the road to oppressing
people in ways so powerfully portrayed in Animal Farm. This dehumanization is a timeless irony at
the heart of Animal Farm. It is a reminder that human dignity is both
fragile and precious, and worth fighting for in every generation. “The revolution is now complete. We have no more use for that song. See it is now forbidden under penalty of death.”

Maurice Vega

2 Responses

  1. Capitalism would fit here as well. It seems more about the desire for power. The desire for power is praised in a capitalist society.

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