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Transcript of "Animal Farm"
"Animal Farm" Historical Context Animal Farm is a satirical allegory of Soviet totalitarianism. Orwell based major events in the book on ones from the Soviet Union during the Stalin era. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Stalin, and was suspicious of Moscow-directed Stalinism after his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. NAPOLEON Napoleon is the leader of Animal Farm after the rebellion. Based on Joseph Stalin, he uses his military/secret police (of nine attack dogs) to cement his power. Napoleon uses force to drive out his opponent, Snowball, and instill fear in the other animals. He takes the role of a dictator over the farm and changes the original intent of the animal society. SNOWBALL Snowball is a rival of Napoleon who contends for control of the farm after the rebellion. Inspired by Leon Trotsky, Snowball is a passionate intellectual and is far more honest about his motives than Napoleon. Snowball wins the loyalty of most of the animals, but is driven out by Napoleon's attack dogs (Trotsky was driven into exile in Mexico, where he was assassinated). After his departure he is used as a scapegoat and blamed for everything that has gone wrong. SQUEALER Squealer serves as Napoleon's public speaker. Inspired by Vyacheslav Molotov, Squealer twists and abuses language to excuse, justify, and extol all of Napoleon's actions. In all of his work, George Orwell made it a point to show how politicians used language. Squealer limits debate by complicating it, and he confuses and disorients. When questions persist, he usually uses the threat of Mr. Jones's return as justification for the pigs' privileges. BOXER & CLOVER Boxer is one of the most popular characters. Boxer is the tragic avatar of the working class: loyal, kind, dedicated, and strong. He is not very clever and his major flaw, however, is his blind trust in the leaders, and his inability to see corruption. Clover blames herself for forgetting the original Seven Commandments when Squealer revises them. She represents the educated middle class people who accept to the sabotage of principles by the powerful. MOSES Moses represents religion (specifically the Russian Orthodox Church), which has always been in conflict with Communism. THE SHEEP The Sheep show the dumb animal that follows blindly. They never think or question anything.
(“Four legs good, two legs bad!”). THE HENS The Hens represent peasants persecuted by Stalin. Like when the hens refused to give up their eggs some strongly resisted surrendering their lands in the Soviet Union. Napoleon promptly starved the hens to death — the exact same punishment Stalin had inflicted upon the peasants. MR. JONES Mr. Jones is the original owner of Manor Farm. He is probably based an incompetent and autocratic capitalist. (Czar Nicholas II) GROUP ASSIGNMENT Considering what I've told you, and what you have read in the book answer discuss as a group and answer these questions about your assigned character. 1. Summarize what has happened to this character so far.
2. What motivates this character?
3. How has this character been influenced by power?