|Dsytopian Literature||Animal Farm|
Wrapped in a Cloak of Religion.” Dramatic? Very.
But when you consider that all that stuff really happened in the human world,
maybe it isn’t dramatic enough.
How do these themes compare in the two arenas of Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution?
Let’s go through the list, shall we?
Leadership and Corruption…sounds fun, eh?
Animal Farm was ruled by pigs led by Napoleon;
the Russian Revolution was ruled by an inner circle led by Stalin.
Both leaders starved their followers, worked them like slaves, had dealings with the enemy,
and lived a luxurious life while their followers lived in misery.
They don’t make corruption worse than this.
Control Over Intellectual Inferiors…aka what you'll be capable of after watching a
few Shmoop videos…
The pigs were such good learners that they quickly realized education equals power.
Some of the animals learned to read a little, but others never could get the hang of it.
The animals would never be the intellectual equals of the pigs.
This allowed the pigs to change rules and the 7 Commandments, re-write history, and
twist the truth…
All because the animals didn’t have the mental ability to dispute them.
Plus, you can never have enough propaganda.
Feed the illiterate masses a steady diet of posters glorifying the leader and they lap
it up like mother’s milk.
Back in the day, Napoleon and Stalin achieved godlike status through propaganda.
Lies and Deceit…which is basically the main conversation tactic at every Thanksgiving
dinner we've ever been to…
We bet Snowball and Trotsky would have a lot to say in their defense…if they were allowed
to talk or even show their faces.
Making up horrible stories about them is just one example of Napoleon and Stalin’s use
of lies and deceit to control the masses and gain ultimate power.
And, of course, the pigs need milk, beds and creature comforts for their big, piggy brains.
What a pile of manure.
Rules and Order….the far less popular spin off of Law and Order…
You know the phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do”? Yeah, we don’t like it, either.
It wasn’t just the pigs who lived a double standard. Stalin did, too.
We don’t see him starving or sacrificing his life for the cause… or industrialization…
or war… or anything.
Rules are different for those who make them.
The founding principal of the revolution that everybody should be treated and paid equally
was soon distorted in favor of the powerful elite.
They were obviously more equal in both Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution.
Foolishness and Folly…basically us thinking anyone at Thanksgiving dinner would be interested
in the latest episode of Rules and Order.
But in the context of Animal Farm…of course, the first creature we think of is the fashionista, Mollie.
But other animals are kind of foolish too. The sheep foolishly bleat…
…without really knowing why. Even Boxer foolishly declares…
…when he clearly isn’t.
And remember the folly of the windmill. The hope that it would change the animals’ lives
kept them focused and dedicated.
In Russia, great masses of the population believed Stalin’s propaganda so thoroughly
that they, too, thought he was always right, despite their own windmill, industrialization.
Dreams, Hopes, Plans….bet you're hoping we'll stop making silly comparisons for each
of these topics…keep dreaming.
Ya gotta have a plan.
Some kind of roadmap to get you to your goals.
After Old Major’s rhetoric stirred the animals to revolt… Then what happened?
There was a big, gaping hole in the revolution. Enter Napoleon.
In Russia, after Lenin died, Stalin swooped in like a vulture on a pig carcass.
He had dreams and hopes, but they were for himself, not his country.
Next up….cunning and cleverness…
Napoleon was cunning, Squealer was clever. Together, they were a formidable act convoluting
the truth and stomping all over the intent of the revolution.
Stalin and his propaganda ministry were a juggernaut in Russia doing the same thing.
The windmill in Animal Farm and industrialization in Russia were clever promises of a better
life for the masses that turned out to be empty.
Up to bat next….violence.
Fear is a great motivator for compliance. Your followers are less likely to give you
trouble if they know it might be the last thing they ever do.
Like Stalin said…"Death solves all problems. No man, no problem."
He eliminated every possible objector, real or imagined, numbering into the millions.
Napoleon has a few bloody scenes in Animal Farm that show just how well violence works
to maintain order. Next up. Pride, but unfortunately, no prejudice.
Sit this one out, Darcy.
Some pride is good…unless you’re a megalomaniac.
Napoleon and Stalin fit right in with Dr. Evil, Caligula, and Lord Voldemort.
And national pride can be an oppressive tool, too.
The animals wanted the neighboring farms to believe they were doing well.
Who wants to be the butt of jokes about a failed revolution?
That certainly wasn’t on Stalin’s list of favorite things, either.
So they skewed the numbers, spread false rumors of abundance, and put on a good show of bounty
in the middle of great lack.
Next up, religion…
If life on earth is hell, just give up, put in your time and have a blast in the afterlife.
Or at least, that’s the message believed by the long-suffering proletariat in both
Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution.
There were millions who died. We hope they’re getting their groove on in heaven.
Except for those megalomaniacs.
Yep. Animal Farm is an alphabet soup of themes… Be careful of food poisoning.