Animal Farm

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Animal Farm. By George Orwell. He was born Eric Blair in 1903 in India. father was an important British civil servant in that country. The family was part of the “lower upper-middle classes” Orwell was sent to boarding school when he was 8.
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Animal Farm By George Orwell
  • He was born Eric Blair in 1903 in India.
  • father was an important British civil servant in that country.
  • The family was part of the “lower upper-middle classes”
  • Orwell was sent to boarding school when he was 8.
  • George Orwell hated 2 things: inequality and political lying.
  • The Author and His Times
  • graduated from Eton at age 18 near the bottom of his class.
  • Passed the Empire’s Civil Service Examination.
  • served in Burma for 5 years and then resigned.
  • back to Europe in 1927 and lived in Paris for over a year writing short stories and novels that nobody published.
  • When his money ran out, he found work as a teacher, a private tutor, and even a dishwasher.
  • In 1933 he wrote Down and Out in Paris and London, which was about oppressive government.
  • To save family embarrassment he used a pen name.
  • He used Orwell, the name of a river he loved.
  • The next year “George Orwell” published Burmese Days, a sad, angry novel about his experiences there.
  • In 1936 his publisher sent him to the English coal-mining country to write about it.
  • He again saw poverty close-up---not the “picturesque” poverty of Paris streets and English tramps, but the dreary poverty of tough men killing themselves in the dark mines day after day, or ---worse still---hungry and out of work.
  • He wrote a first-hand account The Road to Wigan Pier
  • Afterwards Orwell described himself as “Pro-Socialist”
  • In 1937, Orwell volunteered to fight for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War.
  • 3 experiences were crucial for Orwell in the Spanish War:
  • 1. What he saw when he got there. In Barcelona Orwell found an atmosphere of “comradeship and respect”. Everyone was treated as equals. Orwell though he was seeing the success of socialism in action.
  • 2. His fellow fighters were jailed and shot by their own “comrades” They felt suspected the men of being disloyal to Communist ideas.
  • 3. When Orwell returned to England and reported what he had seen none of the socialists wanted to hear it.
  • During WWII he resigned his job at the BBC and began writing Animal Farm in November 1943.
  • The Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917---the one that changed “Russia” into the “USSR” was a revolution made in the name of one class against another.
  • The working class: proletariat
  • The owners: bourgeoisie
  • The Revolution was made by men who believed with Karl Marx that the whole history of the world was the history of a struggle between class---between oppressors and oppressed.
  • The Russian Revolution
  • Marx denounced the cruel injustices of industrial capitalist society as he saw it.
  • He had a vision of ending the exploitation of man by man and establishing a classless society in which all people would be equal.
  • He felt the only way to do this was a revolution of the exploited (the proletariat) against the exploiters (the bourgeoisie).
  • This revolution would set up a “dictatorship of the proletariat” to do away with the old bourgeois order and replace it with a classless society.
  • When Lenin reached Russia in 1917 a first revolution against the crumbling regime of the Czar had already taken place.
  • Lenin victoriously headed the radical socialist (Bolshevik) revolution in October of that year. This was immediately followed by 4 years of bloody civil war.
  • The Revolution’s Red Army, organized and led by Leon Trotsky, had to defeat the Russian’s loyal to the Czar or just hostile to the communists and foreign troops.
  • At Lenin’s death in 1924 there was a struggle between Joseph Stalin and Trotsky for leadership.
  • In 1925 Stalin gained the upper hand
  • In 1927 he was able to expel Trotsky from the Party.
  • Later Trotsky was exiled, then deported, and finally assassinated in Mexico, probably by a Stalinist agent, in 1940.
  • In the 1930’s massive arrests and a series of public trials not only eliminated all possible opposition, but loyal Bolsheviks and hundreds of thousands of other absolutely innocent Russians.
  • FABLE: is a narration intended to enforce a useful truth. Joseph Stalin and Trotsky for leadership.
  • Two important characteristics: 1. They teach a moral or lesson. In Animal Farm the moral involves Orwell’s views about Soviet politics. 2. The characters are most frequently animals. These animal characters often function as a satiric device to point out the follies of humankind.
  • Capitalism: an economic system that allows an individual to become rich through the hard work of others (practiced by farmer Jones and the owner of the factory.)
  • Socialism: An economic system in which individuals share equally in work and profits (the goal of the animals, the answer to employer exploitation)
  • Terms to know for Animal Farm
  • Bourgeois: people who own property in society, owners (Farmer Jones and the factory owner)
  • Proletariat: People who work in a society, workers (the animals and the factory workers)
  • Terms continued
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