Among the renowned authors recognized in our study of American Literature is George Orwell. As we will see through a look at his life and a review of Animal Farm, Orwell earned his reputation as a successful writer through hard work and tireless determination.
In 1903 the world was introduced to Eric Blair, a name which many have never heard. Thirty years later the same man reintroduced himself as George Orwell – a name that will forever have its place as a World literary icon. Blair was born into what he declared a “lower-upper-middle class” family in Bengal, India (George Orwell Bio). Blair father was a trade expert who oversaw much of the British opium exports to India. In 1904 the Blair family had moved to England, minus one member-the father. Blair would not see his father again until 1907, and after that it was sporadic visits. When he was five Blair went off to an Anglican parish school in Henly, a school his older sister had attended. Blair did not write any recollections about his youth schooling, but since Blair had a Anglican burial ceremony, therefore showing the school had an impact on his life.
Blair was an excellent student, just 2 years after the Parish school, he was recommended to a very promising preparatory school. Blair attended St. Cyprians in Sussex on a scholarship. Later on in life Orwell had written an essay entitled Such, Such Were the Joys; demoralizing the integrity of the school, mimicking its prestigious traditions (George Orwell – Essays). Blair went to Wellington with a scholarship, but after a term he transferred over to Eton where he had been the Kings Scholar. He was “relatively happy” mostly because of all the freedom the students were able to have (A Biography of GO).
Blair’s family was unable to furthermore his studies because of insufficient funds, forcing Blair to find a job; he chose to become an Indian imperial Policeman. At first Orwell began writing as a means of supporting himself and his family. In 1933 he arose as George Orwell, a pen name he used to foreshadow his love for the English, taking George from the patron saint of England and Orwell from the River; a site he loved visiting.
When the Spanish Civil war broke out Orwell volunteered with the republican party. Orwell was wounded, being shot in the neck discharging him from services with respect and honor. After the war Orwell supported himself by writing book and essays, also randomly publishing in the local newspapers. In 1949 a controversial Orwell gave a journalist a list of 37 writers and artist he believed were communists, however this list was not publicized until 2003 (A Biography of GO). For three years a dying Orwell had been in and out of hospitals because of his health falling from tuberculous. In fact, his last book was inspired by his ailing health.
Orwell spent his final days in a hospital bed. He had married his editorial assistant Sonia Brownell, in the hospital room in London. Orwell died a year later in January 25,1950 from tuberculous and was buried in an Anglican ceremony. He is buried under a head stone that simply says “ Here lies Eric Arthur Blair”. Today, Orwell is continuously read throughout the world, mostly in schools.
“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand” (GOQ). Author, soldier, and self-critic, Orwell was a realist who fought against censorship and refused to let his voice be unheard. In 1945, the end of world war 2, this was evident when Animal Farm was published. His use of allusion and the ability to characterize gave readers a deep insight of events going on in the war.
Animal Farm takes place on manor farm with a owner, Mr. Jones, who neglects the animals and drinks most of his money away. The animals decide to hold a meeting and discuss what should be done. The meeting was being led by Major, an old pig. Major reveals his dreams of one day the animals overthrowing the dictatorship of Mr. Jones and running the farm. Sadly, Major dies, but his hopes do not die with him. One day Mr. Jones comes home drunk and passes out giving the animals a chance to rise up and take control. They overthrow Mr. Jones sending him running away from the farm and never looking back. Two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball decide to take leadership because naturally pigs are the smartest animals. They change the name from Manor farm to Animal farm. Napoleon wants to lead all the animals and tell them what to do while on the other hand Snowball wants to educate the animals. The both of them come up with 7 laws:
1.Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2.Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3.No animal shall wear clothes
4.No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5.No animal shall drink alcohol.
6.No animal shall kill any other animal.
7.All animals are equal.
the basic theory is “Four legs good, two legs bad” (Orwell 24). It becomes evident more and more that the two pigs are doing no work but reward themselves with privileges others aren’t aloud. Its obvious that Napoleon is becoming more and more like Mr. Jones, wearing his clothes, sleeping in his bed and hang out with the humans. Years go bye and very few who were their at the rebellion are alive, Napoleon changes the name back to Manor farm and the treats the animals just like Mr. Jones had. The final blow was when Napoleon change all seven commandments to a single one, “ All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others (AFT).
Animal Farm was written during the times of World War 2. Because Orwell had lived in Britain at the time who had been allies with Russia, he received a lot of critique. Animal Farm alludes to the troubles going on in Russia. A lot of the events in the novel can be traced back to the history of the Soviet Union. For example, the struggles that Napoleon and Snowball had can be compared to Trotsky and Stalin. Also, when all the killing was being dealt in the novel, a reference can be made to the Soviets Red Terror. In the Novel, Squealer announces that the executions have ended the rebellion, just like the Moscow Trials. “Orwell held the pessimistic belief that totalitarianism was inevitable, even in the West.” This was proven in Animal Farm when the pigs had taken the apples and milked solely based on the fact that they had superiority (AFT).
If Stalin had been an animal, he would have been Napoleon. Napoleon pretended to at first have the best interest of all the animals, but after he gained the power he wanted and recruited a vicious army of dogs he took over. Napoleon was a dictator who became what he despised in the beginning. Napoleon had killed off those who drifted off and opposed what he wanted just like Stalin. Napoleon did not believe in total communism and didn’t exactly follow Majors idea. This is a reference to Stalin not following Karl Marx’s idea. They both had a blood thirst for power and used dogs, or secret police to gain what they wanted. All the characters can be traced back to the Russian Revolution, Orwell perfected the characterization in Animal Farm (AFT).
George Orwell had done an excellent job with alluding Animal Farm to the problems in Soviet Russia. He was brave and decided to speak up and share his mind when others were fearful. Throughout the Novel characterization was developed by giving human traits, personification, to animals that can be traced to all the major leaders in the Russian Revolution. “To accept civilization as it is practically means accepting decay”(GOQ).