Animal Farm

Animal Farm
by George Orwell
George Orwell
Background on Orwell
 George
Orwell was born in Bengal, India. His real
name is Eric Blair.
 In 1904, his mother moved back to England so that
her children could begin their education there.
 Orwell received a scholarship to study at Eton in
1917. Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World)
was one of his teachers.
Background on Orwell
 At
Eton, Orwell was first exposed to popular
liberal and socialist ideas.
 After graduating in 1921, he joined the Civil
Service and went to Burma as a sergeant in the
Indian Imperial Police.
 He quit this job in 1927 because he did not like
being an instrument of power over the Burmese
Background on Orwell
 After
quitting the Civil Service, Orwell chose to
live among the working-class people of Paris and
the homeless in England. This experience lasted
for more than a year.
 He wrote about these experiences in his first book,
Down and Out in Paris and London (published in
 At this time, he adopted his pseudonym George
Background on Orwell
 He
took Orwell from an English river near where
he once lived, and he chose George as his first
name because it was typically English.
 At this time, he worked as a teacher, and after he
married, he and his wife ran a village pub and the
general store.
 In 1936, he became a socialist, and his publisher
encouraged him to write about oppressed people.
He did.
Background on Orwell
 In
1945, he published Animal Farm, one of the
two novels for which Orwell is most famous.
 1984 , Orwell’s most celebrated novel, was
published in 1949.
 Orwell got the idea for Animal Farm from seeing a
small boy driving a horse and whipping it
whenever it tried to turn.
Background on Orwell
 “It
struck me,” said Orwell, “that if only such
animals became aware of their strength, we should
have no power over them, and that men exploit
animals in much the same way as the rich exploit
the proletariat (working class).”
 Orwell disapproved of Britain’s privileged class
and believed instead in the traditions and virtues of
the working class.
Background on Orwell
These beliefs were fostered by a visit Orwell had
made to Spain about ten years earlier.
 He went to Spain to write about their Civil War, and
even to fight in it.
 He was wounded in his neck in battle by a sniper’s
bullet which caused his voice to become permanently
 The war experience had given him a horrifying
glimpse of political reality.
Background on Orwell
He saw how revolutionary causes could become corrupt
and evolve into totalitarianism (a kind of dictatorship
where one political party has total control and all
opposition is ruthlessly suppressed), which he saw as the
future’s threat to human freedom.
 Later in Russia, Orwell saw a powerful dictator-Joseph
Stalin-come up through the revolutionary ranks and
eventually oppress the people as badly as the Czar had
done before him.
Background on Orwell
 To
show how a whole nation could be enslaved,
Orwell created his fable (a brief, often humorous,
tale that presents a moral or message) about the
animals on Manor Farm.
 Orwell said that the book was the first “in which I
tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing,
to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose in one
Historical Context and background
information on Animal Farm
The novel is based upon the events that occurred during
and after The Russian Revolution of 1917. Various
historical figures are represented by different animals and
 The ruling family at the time of the Revolution was the
 The Czar was Nicholas II and his Czarina (wife) was
 Nicholas and Alexandra had one of the most passionate
love affairs of their day.
Nicholas and Alexandra
Historical Context and background
information on Animal Farm
 Nicholas
and Alexandra had five children together:
4 daughters-Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia.
They also had one son- Alexei. Unbeknownst to
the majority of the Russian public, Alexei was a
 Nicholas had no desire to be Czar of Russia, but he
was suddenly thrown into power at the young age
of 28 when his father died.
The Russian Imperial Family daughters
Alexandra and Alexei
The Russian Imperial Family
The Russian Imperial Family
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Nicholas was the absolute sovereign of Russia, which
meant that he controlled every aspect of the
 The downfall of the Romanov Dynasty began with an
incident that later became known as “Bloody
 By the early 1900’s, the writings of Karl Marx,
increasing hardship, and the injustices of the czars
inspired widespread revolt among the working class.
Karl Marx
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
 Communism
is an economic system where the
basic idea is that everybody does jobs in which
they excel, and everybody gets everything that
they need.
 Karl Marx is considered the “Father of Modern
 His beliefs were known as Marxism.
 Marxism is a theory of class struggle.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Marx divided people into two main classes:
 Bourgeoisie: class of modern capitalists. They are the
minority of people who own the means of production.
 Proletariat: the modern working class who always lived at
the lowest possible level to sustain health while providing
wealth for the upper class.
 Karl Marx arranged his theories into a book entitled The
Communist Manifest.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Marx believed that through revolution private property
would cease to exist and that workers would break free
from their metaphorical chains.
 The problem with this theory is that once the upper class
dissolved then the lower class would rise and take its
place, and the cycle would start anew.
 Without competition there would be no market; thus,
modern industry would cease to exist.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
 1904
was a bad year for Russian workers. Prices of
essential goods rose so quickly that real wages
declined by twenty percent.
 When four workers were dismissed at the Putilov
Iron Works, a priest named George Gapon called
for industrial action.
 Over the next few days more than110,000 workers
in St. Petersburg went on strike.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
In an attempt to settle the dispute, Gapon decided to make
a personal appeal to Czar Nicholas. He drew up a petition
outlining the worker’s sufferings and demands. This list
included calling for a reduction in the working day to
eight hours, increasing wages, and improving working
 Numerous aspects of the petition were based upon Karl
Marx’s ideas.
 Over 150,000 people signed the petition.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
On January 22, 1905, Gapon led a large procession of
workers to the Winter Palace in order to present the
petition to Nicholas.
 When the procession of workers reached the palace, they
discovered that Nicholas had received word about their
visit and decided to leave.
 The guards that were surrounding the palace did not know
how to handle the angry mob; instead of trying to reason
with them, the guards decided to open fire.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Over 100 workers were killed and over 300 were wounded
in the incident.
 After this incident, the people began to view Nicholas as a
blood-thirsty tyrant.
 There were numerous revolts that sprang up around Russia
seeking retribution for the fallen workers.
 This incident laid the groundwork for the Russian
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
WWI soon broke out and Russia found itself involved in
the war.
 Nicholas decided that he wanted to be a part of the action,
so he made it a point to go out with the Russian troops and
provide help.
 His wife and daughters decided that they wanted to help as
well, so they became nurses.
 During this time Nicholas makes some egregious
decisions concerning the war effort. The Russian people
begin to blame his wife, who was part German, and her
so- called priest Rasputin for influencing the Czar’s
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Nicholas soon gets word of a planned revolt in St.
Petersburg, so he leaves the front in an attempt to quell the
 On his way to the city, the Bolshevik Party set up a
barricade so that the train could not get through.
 The train is forced to take an alternate route, which
unfortunately leads the train right into Bolshevik territory.
 Nicholas is taken prisoner and is forced to abdicate his
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
On March 15, 1917, Czar Nicholas II was overthrown
and later executed, along with his wife and five
 A provisional government was set up to take over
 Seven months later, the Bolsheviks (the majority), led
by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the provisional
 This coup was known as the October Revolution.
Vladimir Lenin
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
 Even
though Lenin was a follower of Marxism, he
did not agree with every aspect of Karl Marx’s
 Lenin eventually comes up with his own theory
known as Leninism.
 Unlike Marx, Lenin believed that once the
proletariat became the only class, then the State’s
role should not disappear entirely, but instead
should be led by a Vanguard Party.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Lenin believed that this party needed to exist for quite
some time to ensure protection of the ‘socialist state’ from
its internal and external enemies.
 Lenin’s policies were often more violent and sneaky than
those of Marxist beliefs.
 Lenin believed in the total liquidation of the bourgeoisie
class, as well as anyone who stood in the way of his
Marxist dreams.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the first official
socialist state was created with Lenin at the helm.
 The Bolsheviks changed their name to the Russian
Communist Party after the Revolution. They later became
known as “The Reds.”
 Lenin became so well-loved and revered that upon his
death his body was placed on display for all to see and
 After his death in 1924, a power struggle emerged for
control of the Communist Party.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
The death of Lenin and the dissolution of MarxistLeninist thought engendered two new Russian leaders:
Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin.
 A power struggle soon emerged between Trotsky and
Stalin with different factions arising from their
conflicts of ideology.
 Trotsky was a strict Marxist and talented party
organizer who had played an important role in the
Russian Revolution.
Leon Trotsky
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Trotsky believed that the only way a society could survive
was through permanent revolution. He reinforced the need
for a worldwide socialist class. This idea was later known
as Trotskyism.
 Stalin (secretary general of the Communist party) favored
a modified form of Marxism.
 He argued that a socialist state could and must first be
created within Russia and that Russia would be the leader
for the international proletariat.
Joseph Stalin
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Later, however, Stalin’s ideas and practices quickly turned
totalitarian. The power-hungry Stalin would not let
anything stand in his way.
 Totalitarianism is a form of government with a strong
central rule that attempts to control individuals by means
of coercion and repression.
 Stalin eventually won the power struggle and had Trotsky
exiled to Mexico where he is later killed by USSR agents.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
 Stalin
began several 5-year plans to stimulate the
Russian economy, which actually decreased under
his collective farming.
 Although he took the formal title of Premier in
1941, Stalin was an absolute dictator.
 Any opposition to Stalin was subject to secret
arrests, fake trials, forced labor camps, and mass
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
Estimates put the death rate in the neighborhood of 1020,000,000.
 Stalin guided Russia through WWII as an ally of the
United States. This friendship perhaps explains why
numerous details about Stalin’s regime were not made
 He took Russia from an agricultural to an industrial
 His death in 1953 brought about a series of other Premiers
who continued with the same oppression of the people,
although some changes slowly ensued.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
 Animal
Farm, which was published the year after
World War II ended, is an anti-utopian novel
which shows man at the mercy of a force he can
not control.
 Orwell wanted people to remember the errors of
the past and learn from history’s mistakes.
 Animal Farm is an allegory.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
An allegory is a story that can be read on two distinct
levels. Characters and events in an allegory represent
something else, and they are used by the writer to convey
a moral or philosophical message.
 Animal Farm is also a satire. A satire uses ridicule to
make certain people, events, or institutions appear foolish.
 One of the elements of satire is irony. Orwell uses
situational, verbal, and dramatic irony in Animal Farm.
Historical context and background
information on Animal Farm
 Another
aspect that plays a vital role in Animal
Farm is the use of propaganda.
 Propaganda is any widespread promotion of
particular ideas, doctrines, etc.
 The following slides present different forms of
propaganda and how they are used.
Calling – giving an idea a bad label – is
used to make us reject and condemn the idea
without examining the evidence.
 Glittering Generality – associating something
with a “virtue word” (ex. freedom, democracy,
motherhood, health, etc.) – is used to make us
accept and approve the thing without examining
the evidence.
 Name
– either carries the authority and
prestige of something respected and revered
over to something else in order to make the
latter acceptable, or carries authority and
disapproval to cause us to reject and
disapprove something.
 Transfer
– consists of having some
respected or hated person say that something
or someone is good or bad.
 Plain Folks –the method by which a speaker
attempts to convince his audience that he and
his ideas are good because they are “of the
people,” the “plain folks.”
 Testimonial
Stacking – involves the selection and use of
information in order to give the best or the worst
possible case for an idea, program, person, or
 Card
Band Wagon – has as its theme, “everybody – at least all
of us – is doing it”; the propagandist attempts to convince
us that all members of a group to which we belong are
accepting his program and that we must therefore follow
our crowd and “jump on the band wagon.”
–uses compliments to compel the
audience to agree with the propagandist.
 Flattery
You’re so smart, I’m sure you’ll realize
that this product is the best one for you!
& Snob Appeal –the audience
believes that they are part of the elite if they
agree with the propagandist.
 Prestige
 Ex.
“Anyone who is anyone…” or “The best of
the best…”
Jargon – The propagandist uses
confusing (and sometimes false) terminology to
convince the audience that he is believable.
 Pseudoscientific
 Ex.
The USDA has released a report stating that the
amino acids found in lactic excretions in bovine
mammals have corroded the cardiac artery of many
consumers leading to massive lumbar failure.

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