Animal Farm: Good Literature, Or Not?

Animal Farm: Good Literature, Or Not? What is good literature? Well, if you randomly quiz a group of people you found at the shops – or streets – on the characteristics of good literature, they’d all have inconsistent point of views. Though the majority – if not all – of them, would have a similar foundation to their answers. Good literature is something that would make you think; make you feel. Good literature relates to you, to the human struggles that we endure; the heavy burdens that we bear; the wild passions that we attempt to tame; and the traditional – yet somewhat imaginative – beliefs that make up our exotic and peculiar character.

It questions us; challenges us to the peak where it literally dominates us. All of a sudden it’s as if your world has overturned itself (somehow with poise!) and it’s the writings that decide your beliefs, your friends, your music, your words. Maybe I’m making good literature look bad here, but it’s true! Then again good literature is also what some people call a friend. It comforts you, loves you, understands you, and just about knows you and those big, dark secrets we all seem to have. It’s dangerous, but it’s tasty. It’s temptation.

So, would the infamous novella Animal Farm have what it takes to be acknowledged as good literature, or not?

1st theme: the Danger of a Naïve Working Class

Having a naïve working class would in all likelihood be the dream come true of the present ruling government, but it’d be a complete hazard to the working community itself. And that’s exactly what ensued when Lenin endeavored to knock down Czar and take over: the Russian Revolution arose. Many Russian citizens living in that era were very keen on having a new ruling system, so keen as burning the midnight oil and doing it rather blindly. These dedicated but tricked communist supporters of early twentieth century Russia, personalise a particular character in Animal Farm whose loyal heart and courageous manner can never be forgotten: Boxer. By examining these two natures closely, one can see the similar outlines. 1) Boxer: strong, hard-working horse, entirely devoted to Animal Farm, 2) “Napolean is always right”, “I must work harder”, 3) Gives his all, but is betrayed by Napolean who sells him. 1) Poor Communist Supporters: believed Stalin because he was “communist”, 2) Many stayed loyal even after it was obvious Stalin a tyrant, 3) Betrayed by Stalin who ignored and killed them. In my opinion, I think it was very smart – not to mention brave – of Orwell to point out these features in a sort of indirect but still clear kind of way (writing a fable). This inspiring achievement is one of many that make Animal Farm a gripping and successive classic.

2nd theme: The Abuse of Language as Instrumental to the Abuse of Power

The Encarta Dictionary’s definition on abuse is, “improper use: the illegal, improper, or harmful use of something.” That something, in this case, would be language and power. There is much evidence of this wicked misuse in the novel, but first one must acknowledge where this exploitation came from. The two personalities that embody one another in this theme would be the infamous Squealer from Animal Farm and the Propaganda Department of Lenin’s Government. in the writing of Animal Farm, Orwell surreptitiously creates acts where the misuse of language and power are being performed. One example of the abuse of language would be,“after a time, the pigs reserve the apple crop and the cow’s milk for themselves because of the enormous energy they must expend on setting policy and administrating the day-to-day operation of the farm.” Another shocking exemplar of the misuse of power is illustrated when Squealer slyly entwines the Seven Commandments into just one; “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” The relationship between Lenin’s government and Sneaky Squealer can be identified in the following: 1) Squealer: Big mouth, talks a lot, 2) convinces animals to believe and follow Napolean, 3) Changes and manipulates the commandments. 1) Lenin’s Government: Worked for Stalin to support his image, 2) Used any lie to convince the people to follow Stalin, 3) Benefited from the fact that education was controlled. Once again George Orwell uses his gifted talents to inform the reader of the wicked abuse in language and power and how it was used during the time of the revolution.

In conclusion, one now has an acceptable knowledge and understanding of the Russian Revolution, a bit about Russia itself, why the novel Animal Farm was written and some hints as to what type of person this engaging writer is. George Orwell’s luminous imagination and creative flair has gotten the support of many and still is. I feel George Orwell’s legendary Animal Farm should not only be considered ‘good’ literature, but also a lively work of art. Because in my mind, and in my world, to take a little peak at history written and envisioned like this, is definitely tempting.

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