He was born in Bengal, India in 1903 to an English Civil Servant anddied in 1950. He attended Eton from 1917 to 1921, and served with the IndianImperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927 before moving to Europe. Two of hismost famous books, Animal Farm, written in 1946, and Nineteen Eighty-Four,written in 1949, were written about the political and social environmentsurrounding his life. “The driving force behind his two satires is an intenserevulsion against totalitarianism, combined with an even stronger revulsionagainst its defenders among left-wing intellectuals.
“1 In most of GeorgeOrwells books and essays, there is a strong autobiographical element due to thefact that he spent many years living with Communists in northern Great Britain(a small number of people started to follow Communism in northern Great Britainwhen it started in Russia). George Orwells writing was affected greatly by hispersonal beliefs about Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism, andby the revolts, wars, and revolutions going on in Europe and Russia at the timeof his writings. George Orwell was a Socialist2 himself, and he despised RussianCommunism3, and what it stood for. Orwell shows this hatred towards CommunistRussia in a letter he wrote to Victor Gollancz saying, “For quite fifteen yearsI have regarded that regime with plain horror. “4 Orwell wrote this letter in1947, ten years after announcing his dislike of Communism.
However, he hadthought a great deal about Communism and what he disliked about if for a longtime before he announced it to the public. Orwell “did not expect anything goodfrom the Communist”5 and therefore Communism personally did not affect him, but”He was concerned with it (Communism) only because it was a problem forothers. “6In Animal Farm, “an animal fable satirizing Communism,”7 Orwell usesfarm animals in England to satirize Russian Communism and its leaders. Oneanimal he uses is a pig named Napoleon, whose counterpart in the RussianRevolution is Joseph Stalin. After Napoleon takes charge of the farm, heassumes the role of a dictator that benefits himself much like Stalin did. During Stalins reign, 1929-1953, he used terror to enforce his laws, andallowed no one to oppose his decisions.
If someone did oppose him, he wouldpunish him or her harshly. In Animal Farm, Napoleon also uses violent force toenforce his laws. Napoleon showed this force when he “called upon them toconfess their crimes. . . .
When they had finished their confession, the dogspromptly tore their throats out, and in a terrible voice Napoleon demandedwhether any other animal had anything to confess. “8 This violent force thatJoseph Stalin used to enforce his laws is one of the main reasons that Orwelldisagreed with the main principles behind Communism and its leaders. Another comparison that Orwell makes between Napoleon and Stalin is thechanging of history to benefit themselves. In Animal Farm, Napoleon oftenchanges history to make himself look better.
Even though Snowball, the otherpig that was in charge with Napoleon, was the true hero in the “Battle of theCowshed,”9 Napoleon makes himself out to be the hero. Squealer, one of Napoleons top pigs in command, says,”Do you not remember how, just at the moment whenJones and his men had got inside the yard, Snowball suddenly turned andfled. . . that it was just at that moment when panic was spreading and all seemedlost, that Comrade Napoleon sprang forward with a cry of Death to Humanity!”10Just as Squealer retold the event to Napoleons benefit,the same thing can besaid about Stalin.
After he “became dictator of the Soviet Union, he hadhistory books rewritten to say that he had led the revolution with Lenin. “11This however is not the truth. In reality, it was Leon Trotsky who led therevolution with Lenin. This is just one of the many comparisons that Orwellmakes between Stalin and Napoleon.
Stalin was what Orwell and people who wereagainst Communism feared the most; a ruler who rules only for his own power. Orwell uses another pig named Snowball to symbolize the part that Leninplayed in the Russian Revolution. Lenin was the founder of the Communist Partyin Russia and set up the first Communist dictatorship in the world. “Leninsgoals were the destruction of free enterprise (privately owned and controlledbusiness) and the creation of a classless society ( a society without groups ofrich or poor people).
“12 These were the general goals of Snowball also. Leninand Snowball shared one major goal in common and that was to industrialize thesocieties that they controlled and lived in. Right before Lenin died, he”introduced a new economic policy and aimed to improve industrial skills andeducation”. 13 In comparison, Snowball was the mastermind behind the windmill inAnimal Farm.
The purpose of the windmill that Snowball was designing was to “dotheir work for them while they grazed at their ease in the fields or improvedtheir minds with reading and conversation. “14 As one might see these plans arealmost identical. Both call for a more productive working environment in whichthe people of the working class will also gain knowledge. In Animal Farm, Karl Marx, the father of Communism is represented by aMiddle White boar named Old Major. On the first page of Animal Farm it isannounced that Old Major “had a strange dream on the previous night and wishedto communicate it to the other animals.
“15 His dream foresees their future inthe farm once “Man” is thrown out. He says, “Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork isabolished for ever. “16 Marx predicted in his Manifesto of the Communist Partywhich he wrote with his friend Friedrich Engels, “that the ruling middle classwill be overthrown by the working class.
“17 Marx and Old Major are almostidentical. They both felt that the working class was being exploited and thatsooner or later, they would rise against middle ruling class. “The result ofthis revolution , according to Marx and Engles, will be a classless society inwhich the chief means of production are publicly owned. “18 Marx and Old Majorwere both right in their predictions. However, they could not foresee theproblems that Communism would create. Orwell saw this problem happen and “Fromabout 1935 he was convinced that Russia had taken the wrong path and had becomea tyranny.
“19The environment surrounding Orwell led him to write another book aboutthe effects that Communism has on a society, this book is Nineteen Eighty-Four. In this famous political satire Orwell presents to the reader a character namedWinston Smith. This character that Orwell created “is meant to be very muchlike us20”. Orwell uses the name Winston Smith to create one to the biggestironies in the novel. Winston was the first names of one of the greatest andmost powerful statesman of this century, Winston Churchill.
On the other hand,Smith is one of the most common last names in the English language. Orwell didthis to show that even though Winston is in The Party21 he has no power orauthority which makes him an ordinary man, just like the reader. This is also areference to Winston Churchill who was very much against Russian Communism. Winston, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, is conspiring against the party which standsfor a dictatorship similar to Russian Communism. He becomes a martyr, and inthe end, sacrifices his life for something in which he believes in.
Orwell didnot write Nineteen Eighty-Four as a prediction as many people think. He wroteit as an alert about what can happen if Communism takes over. Orwell portrayedWinston as a puppet in trying to get across his point that Communism must bestopped. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the character Big Brother is a symbol of ThePartys dominance over Oceania, post war England in Nineteen Eighty-Four. BigBrother in actuality did not exist. He is just a distortion of reality createdby The Party to strike fear into the minds of the citizens.
Big Brother wassupposed to make everyone feel like they were always being watched and couldnever escape no matter how hard they tried. Orwell made no distinct referenceto whom Big Brother was supposed to symbolize in Russian Communism, but hisphysical description is one “of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy blackmustache and ruggedly handsome features. “22 This could be a reference to Stalinor to a combination of dictators, but no matter how one looks at it this is anexample of typical propaganda used by dictatorships to help their cause,themselves. Everyone has most likely heard the saying “Big Brother is watchingyou”, and in todays society this is slowly becoming a reality.
In SanFrancisco police helicopters are hovering low over the city and creating “animpression that Big Brother is hovering over you”. 23 In another California citypolice cameras have been installed on every street corner to watch for crime,but some people see it as an invasion of privacy. Orwell also saw this as aninvasion of privacy and that is why he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four. In Nineteen Eighty-Four if someone is to defy The Party he will simplybe erased. This was a reality in Russia even before the Communists came intocontrol of the government.
Under the czars, the Russian secret police had often arrestedrevolutionists and sent them into exile without trial. Stalinsetup a police system that was far more terrible. 24Stalin was a dictator to the fullest extent. “In 1935, Stalin started a purge(elimination) of most of the old Bolsheviks associated with Lenin. During thenext few years, he killed anyone who might have threatened his power. “25 By theend of his purge there was no one left to go against what he said, and he hadaccomplished his main objective, total control of the U.
S. S. R. This is the samegoal as Big Brother, actually what he symbolized since he doesnt exist.
ThePartys Thought Police in Orwells novel, which represent the Czars SecretPolice and Stalins Police combined, will simply erase or get rid of people ifthey pose a threat to them or to their cause. It is easy to see how the political and social climate of the timeinfluenced George Orwells writings. This is evident in Animal Farm andNineteen Eighty-Four, where he shows his dislike of Communism. As the RussianCommunists grew stronger Orwells dislike for them grew equally as strong. Hiswritings contained warnings to the people of England and the world not to bemisguided by Communism. These two novels were among the first to show the truebrutality of the Communist party and helped to open the eyes of the Americanpeople to the dangers of Communism, that “all-pervasive and controlling state,and to rulers who wish to maintain power as much for its sake as for their ownadvantage.
“26END NOTES1-Miriam Gross, The World of George Orwell (New York, NY:Simon and Schuster,1971) pg. 1362-socialism-a theory or system of Social organization by which the major meansof production and distribution are owned, managed, or controlled by thegovernment, associations of workers, or by the community as a whole3-communism-a system in which most or all property is owned by the state and issupposed to be shared by all. Communism comes from a philosophy based on thewritings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles, who together wrote the Manifesto ofthe Communist Party4-Miriam Gross, The World of George Orwell (New York, NY:Simon and Schuster,1971) pg. 1205-Richard J. Voorhees, The Paradox of George Orwell (New York, NY:PurdueResearch Foundation, 1961) pg.
226-Miriam Gross, The World of George Orwell (New York, NY:Simon and Schuster,1971) pg. 1197-Frank W. Wadsworth, “Orwell, George,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1988 ed. ,pg. 8668-George Orwell, Animal Farm (New York, NY:Harcourt Brace Jovanavich, Inc. ,1946)pg.
82-839-The Battle of the Cowshed was a battle that took place between the Animals ofAnimal Farm and the humans who were attacking. This battle represents theinvasion of German forces into the western part of the newly formed U. S. S. R. 10-George Orwell, Animal Farm (New York, NY:Harcourt Brace Jovanavich,Inc.
,1946) pg. 8011-“Stalin, Joseph,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1988 ed. , pg. 82612-“Lenin, V.
I. ,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1988 ed. , pg. 19113-Ibid14-George Orwell, Animal Farm (New York, NY:Harcourt Brace Jovanavich,Inc.
,1946) pg. 5415-Ibid, pg. 1516-Ibid, pg. 1917-Alfred G. Meyer, “Marx, Karl,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1988 ed.
, pg. 23718-Ibid19-Miriam Gross, The World of George Orwell (New York, NY:Simon and Schuster,1971) pg. 13620-The Party represents the Communist party in Russia. It has a totaldictatorship over Oceania, post war England in the novel. They use the sameviolent force that the Communist used to enforce their laws, and almosteverything else is the same as the Communist party. 21-Gilbert Borman, Cliffs Notes of Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four (Lincoln,Nebraska: Cliffs Notes Inc.
,1984) pg. 2322-George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (New York, NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanaich,Inc. , 1949) pg. 523-Edward W. Lempinen, “S. F.
Police Copters Turbulent Return,” San FranciscoChronicle 22 March 1996, sec A:1 & A:1524-“Stalin, Joseph,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1988 ed. , pg. 82725-Ibid26-Peter Stansky, On Nineteen Eighty-Four (San Francisco, California: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1983) pg.
25BIBLIOGRAPHYAllen, David L. and Thompson, Frank H. Cliffs Notes on Orwells Animal Farm. Lincoln Nebraska:Cliffs Notes Inc. , 1981Borman, Gilbert. Cliffs Notes on Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four.
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The World of George Orwell. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster,1971Lempinen, Edward W. “S. F. Police Copters Turbulent Return” San FranciscoChronicle 22 March 1996, sec A:1 & A:15Lewis, C. S.
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