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Animal Farm: Unlocking Orwell's Meaning

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Erica Porta

on 18 September 2014

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Transcript of Animal Farm: Unlocking Orwell's Meaning

Main Concepts
Discuss Czar Nicholas, Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky.
How does this work reflect history and historical truths?
How do Orwell's choices reflect his time, history and political thoughts?
How do George Orwell and
Animal Farm
relate to "resilience?"
And the point is...?
" 'Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism' " (Woodhouse xviii)
Animal Farm
's--and Orwell's--warning: "Life is like that--take it or leave it" (Woodhouse xxiv)
"...Life would go on as it always gone on--that is, badly" (Orwell 51)
"It was noticed that [the dogs] wagged their tails at [Napoleon] the same way as the other dogs had been used to do to Mr. Jones" (Orwell 53)
Resilience: "Orwell's still, small voice has also made itself continuously heard in its own quiet, persistent, almost nagging way" (Woodhouse xxvi)
Czar Nicolas II
Czar Nicolas II, better known as Czar Nicolas the Bloody, ruled Russia from 1894 to 1917.
His reign was marked by death:
1,389 people died in the Khodynka Tragedy following his coronation.
He oversaw "Bloody Sunday", in which 1000 peaceful protestors were killed by Russian soldiers
Multiple anti-Semitic riots occurred during his reign
He violently repressed his political opponents following the failed February Revolution of 1905.
He took direct command of the Russian Army during WWI, resulting in 3.3 million Russian deaths.
These events made him unpopular and lead to his execution by the Bolsheviks.

Lenin's Marxism
-Lenin served as a pseudonym of
Vladimir Illyich, a figure of Russian social change. Lenin adopted the ideals of Marx, which he exhibited through propaganda.
- Lenin led much of the government during the Russian Civil War and tried to organize Russia with the help of authoritarian control. He worked with the Bolsheviks to create the All-Russian Communist Party.
- Over time Lenin's communist ideals moved towards, and eventually favored, socialism. Towards the end of his life, Lenin's influence dwindled as the more extremist Stalin and
Trotsky vied for control.
Czar Nicholas the II as Jones
"Is it not crystal clear, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings" (Orwell 9).
"We are impoverished and oppressed, we are burdened with work, and insulted. We are treated not like humans [but] like slaves who must suffer a bitter fate and keep silent." -The petition of Bloody Sunday, 1905.

The animals, like the people of Russia, blame their monarch for their troubles.
Stalin as Napoleon
Animal Farm
: Unlocking Orwell

Thank you!
Animal Farm

Bekah Katz, Andrew Mange, Becky Mitchonski, Lina Pagano, Erica Porta
George Orwell
pen name for Eric Blair
1936 went to Spain to fight in Spanish Civil War for the Republicans
1937 he was wounded in combat fighting for a socialist workers' group
Stalinists in control of Spanish government declared Orwell's group illegal; Orwell escaped to France, but some of his group " 'were shot, and others spent a long time in prison or simply disappeared' " (Baker vi)
Stalin-Trotsky conflict in the Spanish Civil War "left [Orwell] alarmed about the gullibility of other well-meaning, decent people in Western Europe" (Baker vi)
Orwell wanted to critique the Soviet system, but found it difficult after 1943 because of Stalin's part in defeating Nazi Germany
Baker, Russel. "Preface."
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story.
By George Orwell. New York, NY: Signet Classics, 1996. vi, xiv. Print.

Gapon, Georgi. Vasimov, Ivan. "Worker's Petition". January 9, 1905.

"George Orwell."
World History: The Modern Era.
ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2014.

Meyers, Valerie. "Animal Farm: An Allegory of Revolution." George Orwell (Palgrave Macmillan: 1991): pp. 101–113, 149–150. Quoted as "Animal Farm: An Allegory of Revolution" in Bloom, Harold, ed. Animal Farm, New Edition, Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 2009.Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 5 Aug. 2014 <http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&WID=17166&SID=5&iPin=MCIAF003&SingleRecord=True>.

"Nicholas II." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 11 Sep. 2014.

Orwell, George.
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story.
New York, NY: Signet Classics, 1996. 18, 30, 51, 56, 97, 130, 141. Print.

"Soviet Russia: Utopian Deams and Dystopian Realities." A Breif History of Russa. Print.

"Stalin. Joseph." Encyclopedia of War Crimes and Genocide. Print.

"Stalin in Literature." History in Literatire: A Reader's Guide to 20th Century Histry and the Literature It Inspired. Print.

Woodhouse, C. M. "Introduction."
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story.
By George Orwell. New York, NY: Signet Classics, 1996. xviii, xxi-xxiv. Print.

" '...it was of the utmost importance to me that people in Western Europe should see the Soviet regime for what it really was'" (Baker xi)
Josef Stalin
* Studied at a seminary until 1899, joined Social Democrats (Russia's Marxist political party)
* 1902-1913: Social Democrats split into two factions: Bolsheviks and Menshevicks (Stalin joined the Bolsheviks)
* 1917: Russian Revolution toppled Czarist government
* Renamed "Communist Party"
* Trotsky
1930: atop the social pillar
* (1927-1932) Five-Year Plan
* Assassinations and The Great Terror/NKVD
* Overthrowing Nazi Germany

So why did people follow him?
* Man of the people
* Lack of corruption

Lenin and Marxist Ideals
as Major
Comparative History
Animal Farm:
Russian History:
-Russian Revolution, abdication of Nicholas II (1917)
-Beginning of the struggle between Stalin and Trotsky (1923)
-Trotsky exiled to Mexico (1929)

-Beginning of Purge Trials (1936)

-Hitler invades Russia despite 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact

-1943 Tehran Conference with Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, who quickly have a falling out
-Animals take over Manor Farm

-Disagreements between Snowball and Napoleon

-Snowball chased off the farm by Napoleon's dogs
-Death of pigs, hens and geese who admit to supporting Snowball
-Mr. Fredrick gives false bank notes to animals, attacks Animal Farm and destroys the windmill
-The pigs and neighboring humans dine together, but then fight over cheating at cards
Page 67: "But just at this moment..."
Page 68: "...they were the puppies..."

5-Year Plan:
Page 71: "On the third Sunday..."
Page 73: "All that year..."

Public Confessions/The Great Terror:
Pg 91-93: "Four days later..." and "Without any further prompting"
Communist Ideals- "Remove
Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever" (Orwell 17)
The Internationale-"you can sing it better for yourselves. It is called
Beasts of England
" (Orwell 12)
Reform Failure- "Major's speech had given to the more intelligent
animals on the farm a completely
new outlook on life"
(Orwell 15)
"work day and night,body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race" (Orwell 9).

There are only two roads for us, one to freedom and happiness, the other to the grave. Let our lives be sacrificed for suffering Russia. We do not regret that sacrifice, we embrace it eagerly. -Georgi Gapon.

Czar Nicolas' reign in Russia inspired revolutionaries just as Farmer Jones' rule inspired the animals into rebellion.
Leon Trotsky
-Leon was one of the first revolutionaries
-was banished from Politburo (Central
Committee of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union) by Stalin in 1925
-Trotsky was the leader of the Red Army
-Led Russian Revolution
-Was assassinated by one of Stalin's men,
Ramon Mercador
Snowball and Napoleon never agreed, similar to Trotsky and Stalin's political confrontations. Trotsky and Snowball both wanted to move his respective people towards progress. For example, the Windmill was Snowball's industrialization of Animal Farm in the same way Trotsky attempted to continue to modernize Soviet Russia:

"Snowball did not deny that to build it would be a difficult business...Napoleon on the other hand, argued that the great need of the moment was to increase food production, and if they wasted time of the windmill they would all starve to death" (Orwell 65).

Much like how Trotsky was banished and killed for differing from Stalin, Snowball was chased off the farm by Napoleon and his supporters.

"At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball...Suddenly he slipped and it seemed certain that they had him" (Orwell 67).
Snowball as Trotsky
Full transcript