One of the most talked about literature genre, dystopia is a genre that looks into the form of societies through both fictitious and non-fictitious means. Unlike utopia, dystopia looks into the bad structure of the society. George Orwell’s Animal Farm, allegorically looks into one of the most dystopian features of the society. The book, one of the most dystopian works of Orwell, depicts the effects of the struggle for power and revolution on the society before the Russian revolution and even in the contemporary societies as it looks like. Animal Farm is one of the best political satire fables. Its writing and publication before the end of World War II sparked a lot of discussions whether struggle for power and revolution could lead a destabilized society. However, the allegorical setting of Orwell is evident in the contemporary society. Most of what was discussed in the Animal Farm is recurrent in the current society and continues to torment the world at large.
With the revolution in most parts of the Arabian world such as Egypt, the nations have been left destabilized, economically weak and very vulnerable to violence (Gutierrez, Sanín and Gerd 48). The nations in the Arabian world which have been involved in the dystopian activities have wreaked havoc to their economic, social and political stability. This may lead to literature scholars wanting to establish whether in the current societies, struggle for power and revolution may negatively affect the societal life.
Current revolutions, political turmoil and dictatorial leadership that are happening throughout the world are very similar to the ones manifested in the Animal Farm. Abuse and misuse of power given to leaders in the contemporary world has turned disastrous and causative agents to the problems being witnessed in the current world. Power has been used to accelerate inequality, grabbing of resources and mistreating third-class population. Revolutions happening in the current world are due to the same reasons as those in Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Most of the revolutions, power struggle and political turmoil have been due to abuse of power and propaganda that catapult the possibility of these political dystopian happenings. Desire and greed for power could also be attributed to the political satire depicted allegorically in the 1945 Orwell’s publication. Corruption, dictatorial and malignant leadership are also major driving forces behind catapulting the public to the negative political activities (Howard 59). The vices are very detrimental to an ethical, political environment and are bound to accelerate the creation of a dystopian political environment. This might enable the society at large relish massive mistreatment, abject poverty and extensive inequality.
One major feature of a dystopian society is the existence of political revolutions that mar political and social stability. Revolutions happen in all aspects of life with most people revolting against being mistreated or being subjected to unfavorable living conditions. The existence of desire for better lives will mostly lead to an eruption of revolution. Most people who feel are being subjected to harsh conditions will always seek to overturn the tables and get to reach better conditions (Leamer 92). Existence of revolutions paints a picture of societies full of antisocial activities. It also creates the impression that most of the world population is supportive of antisocial activities and are easily brainwashed by cheap propaganda. Orwell’s work shows that people can be led to a revolution after convincing by a person they treasure and give much respect. Orwell while writing Animal Farm had a feeling in mind that revolutions in all settings of life will ever happen with these revolutions leading to demarcation of existing groups living in a society. Orwell was very critical of revolutions and saw revolutions coming with negative after effects. Revolutions are meant to give the society a better life after they have happened. However, in some occasions if revolutions are led by sadists they might not be of much help. This insinuates that after revolutions the societal life may be reversed to the initial condition. Revolutions that have recently happened in the Arabian world have not been of much help with some country such as Egypt experiencing the same political environment even after the upheavals (Cook 43). In most cases, people who lead insurgencies and the uprising are mostly after gaining the power and are deemed to, in most cases; retain the form of leadership that people revolted against. This is no different with what Orwell wrote in his book. Orwell demonstrated a society in which leaders of a revolution reversed their roles as virtual leaders into vicious ones. The society described by Orwell was very similar to today’s society from all dimensions and so many issues that are prevalent in the animal’s farm are also in greater existent in the current lifestyles. It must have been that Orwell had envisioned the 21st century that has been marred by great political instability, hunger for power and need for wealth.
Existence of the unenlightened group of people in the society is a catalyst to revolutions. The group is easily swayed by the ruling class to always cause chaos regardless of whether there is a need to do so or not. If all people are equally educated, there will be no cases of political insurgency and uprising. The gullible case is easy to convince even with wrong facts and information. The uneducated who cannot even find it easy to read or write find it hard to understand leadership matters and are even at times on praise of their leaders when they are doing harm to the laid governing laws and rules. The subjects of governance most of whom belong to the naïve class believe that their leaders are always right with whatever they are doing. The negative intelligence however helps when there is a need to use masses to change the way of governance in an unequal setting. The little level of knowledge helps in moving masses after a little convincing to create a more egalitarian society altogether. Brainwashing the naïve class with facts that they feel are more helpful aids in catapulting them to demand a change in the way of governance and ruling in the country (Simmons 102). In a case especially where the uneducated group is promised good governance and equity it might carry out any action whatsoever. However, the naivety of the subjects of leadership should not be taken for granted and misused by the educated class as this would ultimately lead to the creation of a dictatorship after the class has ascended to power. Gullibility of the low-class citizens would lead to a leadership setting similar to that of Napoleon in the Animal Farm. The situation in Orwell’s work depicts this very imminently. Naivety of the animals in the farms contributes to a greater extent existence of revolutions in the farm. Few animals are learned and after convincing from Old Major, the most learned and reputable animal in the farm, agree on revolting against the human beings. The uneducated animals do not however know when the revolution will take place due to their educational incapability (Vaeth 49). The unlearned animals are only able to revolt after the elite class, pigs, lead them into the uprising. Even after several intelligence classes very few animals can read and understand well the laws created after the ouster of Mr. Jones from the farm. Even throughout the dictatorial leadership of napoleon very few animals can complain. This is after the villain changes the rules drafted by the animals in the start of a communist style of life. Most of them do not note that their leader and a few animals are breaking the rules. The situation is the same in the current world especially in the third world countries where very few are educated. People fall to the politicians’ traps due to their high levels of naivety and gullibility. There is therefore need to ensure high levels of enlightenment so that subjects of governance can differentiate between worth and unworthy reasons to revolt for.
Communism is also a great contributor to the greed for power in most states worldwide. With all people working and a few supervising them or rather directing them, most people admire the position of supervisor. Most people who are under instructions desire to be in the supervisory stature. These leads to most people aspiring to gain the power being possessed by the supervisors who enjoy a tyranny of skills. Orwell describes a situation in which animals under the influence of the most reputable pig want to gain the powers enjoyed by human beings, Jones, and rule themselves. In most cases, the majority who are the working class in a communism setting want a situation in which the rule of law governs everybody. With communism everybody enjoys equal privileges and is treated just like the other beings. However, the situation insinuated by Orwell manifests an instance where a caveat of dictatorship exists in communist states. Once individuals fight for communism and get it, leaders have to be selected. Leaders are likely to be selected from the group that led to achievement of a communist setting from a hitherto capitalist setting. This is no difference with the situation in the animal’s farm where the pigs, being the cleverest, are given the chance to rule and supervise the animals in the farm. This without doubt convinces every reader of this book that Orwell had the contemporary society in mind while writing this literature piece. No society can be purely communal where everybody is treated equally. With the creation of communist states, leaders must have divergent views with their fellow leaders at times creating an iota of antagonism. This leads to some leaders’ quest for greater power that is acquired through either eliminating fellow leaders or chasing them away. This could also be achieved through the leaders being supported by the subjects of the power to gain more power. The citizens could spread hate speech and propaganda that leads to one leader becoming more popular than other leaders in question. In the Animal Farm, Napoleon ascends to power through his orchestrated plan to chase away Snowball after a series of tenacious altercations that are not ramified. The feuds between the two leaders lead to Napoleon, the villain of the story, chasing away his fellow pig and ascend to total authority and power. In a setting that is more seen as communist, one leader turns against his fellow leader and goes back to a capitalist type of society where he and his few allies enjoy the largest part of the farm’s privileges. The villain is more privileged than his fellow animals and goes against the rule of law.
Orwell work looks into the contribution of the populace into return of dictatorship into a previously communist setting:
Orwell doesn’t imply that Napoleon is the solitary cause for Animal Farm’s
(Communist societies) fall off but also satirize the different kinds of people whose attitudes permit leaders like Napoleon thrive (Scalia 34). Apolitical people like Mollie, whose only concerns are materialistic, are so self-centered that they lack any political sense or understanding of what is happening around them and offer no resistance to tyrants like Napoleon (Scalia 35). Boxer is likened to the kind of blindly devoted citizen whose reliance on the slogan; Napoleon is always right, prevents him from examining in more detail his situation: although he is a sympathetic character, his ignorance is almost infuriating, and Orwell suggests that this unquestioning ignorance allows rulers like Napoleon to grow stronger (Scalia 36). Even Benjamin, the donkey, contributes to Napoleon’s rise, because his only stand on what is occurring is a cynical dismissal of the facts. He does nothing to stop the pigs’ ascension or even raise the other animals’ awareness of what is happening (Scalia 36). His only action is to warn Boxer of his impending death at the knackers, but this is futile as it occurs too late to do Boxer any good (Scalia 36).
This implies that citizens are also to blame for establishment of a dictatorship and other extra-authoritative government in previous egalitarian governments.
Equality is an important virtue that has continued to grow over time in the history of the world. With communism being a major contributor to ensuring equality among subjects of any law, it calls for communism to be recommended for most of the government settings. Equality is a much-discussed subject or motif in as much as governance is concerned with most leaders recommending equality when it comes to resources allocation and division. However, whenever any communist state experiences a power vacuum there is expected to be a lapse in all egalitarian activities of the society. Equality is multifaceted and is exercised from work to relishing the returns from the work done. Few people enjoying the fruits of other people’s labor is against the facets of equality and only works against the tenets of equity. Animal Farm offers commentary on the development of class tyranny and the human tendency to maintain and reestablish class structures even in societies that allegedly stand for total equality, and the novella illustrates how classes that are initially unified in the face of a common enemy, as the animals are against the humans, may become internally divided when that enemy is eliminated (Bloom 20). Eliminating an enemy from the society shouldn’t accelerate the rate at which equity is disoriented from the people, and people should continue being treated the same way as before when the enemy was present. People who pioneer inequality are the same people who initially garnered for revolution to introduce the new communism rules in the society (Hao and Daniel 59). These people after some time change their tact and become more interested in expanding their power positions instead of serving the people. This has happened in the contemporary society with people who lead revolutions in this century turning against their people and execute gruesome leadership that does not exercise equality in all aspects of leadership and governance. What has happened in Egypt quite describes the situation in which case leaders of the revolution turn against their supporters. After the Arab uprising in Egypt, many people expected equitable governance but this was not to be the insurgent government becoming very unpopular among the people it led to political insurgency. The government has been very poor in leadership. Resource grabbing, breaking of laws have led to a subsequent revolution with now the international community coming in between to salvage the face of Egypt. In Orwell’s work, we expect a subsequent insurgency from the animals left under napoleon. However, due to the naivety and gullibility of the animals in the farm they don’t realize the inequality being practiced by the villain. Orwell is trying to insinuate that lack of enlightenment in any society could lead to poor governance by the elite class in that particular society. Most people do not even understand their rights and do not understand that even their leaders ought to respect the set laws and guidelines despite their positions in the society. Inequality leads to the existence of different classes in society that leads to some people in a society misusing others for their personal benefits especially where there is a big difference between the levels of enlightenment.
Class stratification is a major cause of inequality in any societal setting, be it capitalistic or communist in nature. Both societal settings allow for class stratification with some part of the society being regarded as more important than the other. The classes may not particularly contain the characteristics they are praised for, but may sometimes relish that praise from traditional beliefs or myths. The highly stratified class of that society enjoys extensive privileges from being much-respected to being allowed to rule the minority classes. The majority classes are so reputable that the minority classes accept whatever comes from the majority class. This brings in the problem of mistreatment towards the low-class part of the society by the reputable class. Orders given from a higher class are given into without any resistance from the lower caste. The situation exists in Orwell’s Animal Farm. Animals believe so much into the pigs and are subject to their convincing however bad or good it is. The pigs are made the ruling class after the r5evolution even though their leadership cannot be much praised. The ruling class, from the reader’s view, doesn’t govern the animals as expected, and Napoleon returns the governance style to a materialistic one where majority of the animals are excluded from benefits enjoyed by the few. This is the situation in most countries existing nowadays, in which case only a few enjoy the privileges in their societal setting. Orwell was very critical in his literature work with him satirizing the whole concept of class stratification. Critically analyzing his situation on class stratification, it is like he viewed the system as being much maligned to societal inequality and leading to possible revolution. From a reader’s point of view, continuous revolution could go on if class stratification wasn’t scrapped. The natural division between intellectual and physical labor quickly comes to express itself as a new set of class divisions, with the “brain workers” (as the pigs claim to be) using their superior intelligence to manipulate society to their own benefit and Orwell never clarifies in Animal Farm whether this negative state of affairs constitutes an inherent aspect of society or merely an outcome contingent on the integrity of society’s intelligentsia (Bloom 47). More so, in either case, the novella points to the force of this tendency toward class stratification in many communities and the threat that it poses to democracy and freedom (Chambers 68).
Orwell’s work depicted a society that will continue to be marred by political indifferences within it. The political indifferences always emanate within the society setting and are somewhat endless with a probability of them being recurrent very high. The political institution is constantly being affected by revolutions that are as a result of greed for power, naivety, inequality and more or less class stratification. The political storms are a dystopian reflection of the society at large. The society is not expected to come in good terms even with the highest level of communism or equal treatment as upheavals are expected to take place. Life to this extent is therefore full of vices, and nothing good might come out of it.
Bloom, Harold. George Orwell’s Animal Farm. New York: Chelsea House Publ, 2006. Print.
Chambers, J K. Sociolinguistic Theory: Linguistic Variation and Its Social Significance. Chichester, U.K: Blackwell, 2009. Print.
Cook, Steven A. Political Instability in Egypt. New York, NY: Council on Foreign Relations, 2009. Print.
Gutiérrez, Sanín F, and Gerd Schönwälder. Economic Liberalization and Political Violence: Utopia or Dystopia? London: Pluto Press, 2010. Internet resource.
Hao, Lingxin, and Daniel Q. Naiman. Assessing Inequality. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2010. Print.
Howard, Dick. The Primacy of the Political: A History of Political Thought from the Greeks to the French & American Revolutions. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. Internet resource.
Leamer, Laurence. The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption. , 2013. Print.
Scalia, Joseph E. Animal Farm. Piscataway, N.J: Research & Education Association, 2012. Internet resource.
Simmons, A J. Political Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.
Vaeth, Simon. Animal Farm. S.l.: Simon Vaeth, 2010. Print.