Farm Animal: The Theme Of Power In A Novel

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George Orwell was the author of The Animal Farm novel, which was published in 1945. The novel was written after the Russian Revolution and the novel included some humor and ridicule. It holds many ideas, themes and political issues. One of most of them is power.


Having power, is the ability to change people’s lives, is a big part of Animal Farm. The farmer, Mr. Jones, uses his power as people often do, for personal gain. Old Major has lived a long time and sees this tendency in humans. His idea for a solution is based on years of deliberation, and he is successful in recruiting the other animals. However, the solution he arrives at has a few critical flaws. It concludes, rightly, that man is keeping the animals down. Unfortunately, the idea that the removal of man will make everything perfect is not well enough thought through; here Old Major makes a fatal misassumption about the nature of animals: that they will all do what is best for the community and that they will accept equality. This manifests itself right after Mr. Jones is chased off the farm and Napoleon takes the milk for himself. But at the meetings in the barn, another part of it is shown. The pigs immediately take charge and decide for the other animals, instead of with them. Napoleon and Snowball constantly argue; the struggle parallels the conflict between Stalin and Leon Trotsky, whom the leading pigs actually are modeled after. It seems that Snowball, or Trotsky, has the most beneficial ideas. Unfortunately, power struggles are rarely won with good ideas alone; one part usually has to do something drastic. Napoleon takes the initiative and forms a “secret police”, similar to the Soviet KGB. When the time is right, Snowball is chased off the farm, never to return, like Trotsky was in 1929. Napoleon’s reasons for doing this, can, in my opinion, be explained by a quote from the novel Chapterhouse: Dune, by Frank Herbert: “All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that power is a magnet to the corruptible. I think that Napoleon’s attraction to power starts right after the old dictator is gone, and there’s a niche to be filled. He then gets a taste of violence when he rids himself of his enemy. When he discovers a new thrill or luxury, he rewrites history, much like Stalin did, by changing the Seven Commandments. The changes are, in the beginning, subtle in words but not so subtle in actual meaning. For instance: who is the judge of what drinking to excess means? And who will ever ask Napoleon what his reason is if he kills someone?

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Results of misusing power

Napoleons’ power grows and is managed by his nine dogs. The way he keeps his power is classic to all dictators: he uses fear. A mass execution in the yard of anyone who confessed to anything instills a sense of fear in the rest of the animals. While this is the most effective method to use, it is truly dangerous and can backfire like it did on Jones. It was used to use two more quotes from Chapterhouse which state Implacable enemies’ oppression will make your enemies strong. The oppressed will have their day and heaven help the oppressors when that day comes. It was a two-edged blade. The oppressed always learned from and copied the oppressor. When the tables were turned, the stage was set for another round of revenge and violence—roles reversed. And reversed and reversed and nausea”. “Atrocity never balances or rectifies the past. Atrocity merely arms the future for more atrocity. (…). Whoever commits atrocity also commits those future atrocities thus bred.” Exactly this happened to Mr. Jones, and it will probably happen to Napoleon as well, though at a slower pace because of his success in rewriting history and getting rid of his opposition. The situation and the result are the same.

Finally, the novel Farm Animal deals with some topics. Orwell commented on Stalin’s actions after the Russian Revolution in connection with tyranny. The book also included a picture of what happens when a person is obsessed with power. 


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