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Animal Farm as a Satire

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Satirical Traits in Animal Farm
Key Terms for Animal Farm
п‚— Terms
п‚— Utopia: the perfect society
п‚—
п‚—
Communism was supposed to be Utopia
The United States was considered at one point to be an experiment
in the perfect society, of course this didn’t include minorities,
women, and people who did not have their own land.
п‚— Distopia: the opposite of a perfect society (Dis is an ancient
name for hell or Hades)
п‚— Satire: art that ridicules people and society
п‚— Allegory: a story that has more than one level
п‚— Communism/Totalitarianism: Communism is rule by
everyone while totalitarianism is rule by one so they are by
definition opposites
Satire
п‚— Animal Farm is a satire in many ways
п‚— It ridicules society and those who try to make society
better through the implementation of ideas
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
Old Major’s ideas are too naïve and create suffering even though
they are meant to help (irony)
Snowball’s attempts to improve life are also brought to ruin, even
though he is more clever than Napoleon and clearly a better
leader
Napoleon only succeeds at making life better for the pigs, at the
expense of the other animals
Satire
п‚— Animal Farm is a satire because
 It exaggerates and ridicules Joseph Stalin’s reign of
power
п‚— It portrays Stalin and his government as evil pigs
(literally and figuratively)
п‚— It shows that people can be animals in the way that they
treat, exploit, and manipulate each other for their own
gain
Satire
п‚— Animal Farm is a satire because
п‚— It shows how a lack of literacy, reading, and education
makes people easy targets for tyrants, dictators, and
those who would use propaganda to manipulate the
masses
п‚— It shows how rhetoric, the art of persuasive writing and
speaking, and propaganda are more important to
maintaining power than goodness, competence,
fairness, and other virtues
Propaganda
п‚— Examples of propaganda in the novel include:
п‚— Old Major's speech.
п‚— "Vote for Snowball and the three-day work week!"
п‚— "Vote for Napoleon and the full manger!"
п‚— Squealer is full of propaganda! He runs around explaining
Napoleon's actions, and praising him. He can justify
anything Napoleon does, and usually places all blame and
hardships on Snowball.
 Boxer's maxims: “Napoleon is always right!” and “I must work
harder”
п‚— The hens' "duty."
п‚— There are several examples of propaganda when the pigs are
trying to convince the farm that everything is fine, when they
are really running out of food, making announcements about
productivity and such when the animals are starving
Character
п‚— Animalism is a satirical twist on Communism as practiced
by the Soviets, for example…
п‚— Napoleon is clearly a satirical portrayal of Joseph Stalin.
п‚— Old Major is satirical portrayal of Karl Marx, whose work, the
Communist Manifesto, was the basis for Vladimir Lenin’s
ideas.
п‚— Snowball represents Leon Trotsky and those members of the
Soviet Communist party that really wanted Communism to
work for the people. There can be no mistaking why Snowball
is chased off the farm. For Communism to work and all to be
equal, there can be no evil and greed (hence, nobody like
Napoleon or Squealer)
п‚— Boxer represents the masses of Soviet workers and peasants
who were betrayed by Joseph Stalin and whose dreams were
turned into nightmares.
Irony
 There are some important ironies in the story such as…
п‚— The animals on Animal Farm trade one kind of tyrant for
another, despite their best effort to get rid of tyrants
forever.
п‚— In working for the good of all, the animals have only
succeeded in making things worse for themselves.
п‚— In trying to prove that the animals can rule themselves,
they have proven that they really cannot govern
themselves, mostly because most of them are too stupid
or slow or cowardly to stand up to those who are trying
to exploit everyone else.
Themes
п‚— While the subject of the story is Animalism, and the
underlying, allegorical subject is Communism in
Russia, the theme of the story can be stated as….
п‚— A perfect society is only as perfect as the members that
make it up.
п‚— No society will ever have real equality as long as some
people take advantage of others.
Come up with some themes of your own.
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