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True Antagonist in George Orwell’s Animal Farm: Critical Analysis

Abstract

George Orwell's Animal Farm displays how totalitarian regimes use violence, militarism, and propaganda to rule over the masses and suppress humans allegorically by animal characters. The novel Animal Farm narrates the incidents took place before, during, and after The Russian Revolution in October 1917 which led to the Communism foundation and Bolshevik tyranny. The way Napoleon cheats and treats the animals persuades the reader to consider him as the antagonist of the story. Afterward, a new sort of corrupted political personalities by a moderate and conservative gesture emerged in the world that much similar to the role Squealer held in Animal Farm; the character who unfairly exonerates Napoleon the dictator. By putting the most cruel and savage character to be blamed, the critics and authors unconsciously neglect the moderate and propagandist characters so that the readers do not notice how hypocrite and fake reformists implicitly play the main role in the suppression of civil movements and help postponing the downfall of tyrannical regimes. Fortunately, recent journalistic generations have updated our viewpoints so that the enlightened readers now point out to the true character as the antagonist of the political genres. By evaluating and observing the real word’s statesmen and characters of Animal Farm Squealer is selected to be the antagonist character. With a precise look to Russian revolution and the statesmen of it, this research examines the behaviors of the communism leaders and introduces Vyacheslav Molotov who has been represented by Squealer the propagandist character. Such a post-modern view to the political genre unveils the hypocrite and fake reformists who have not been criticized and evaluated since ever neither in fiction nor in real world.

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Introduction

For centuries Tyrannical Dictators have been suppressing masses and violating human rights and controlling thoughts through a verity of pretexts and tools such as religion, race, propaganda, and economic welfare promises. Russian people dominated by Tsars and Romanovs for centuries were exhausted enough to follow the western world to embrace the democracy and liberty. Proletarian movements and angered people inspired by Marx's notions and Lenin's leadership finally overthrew Tsar in 1917. ''We have nothing to lose but our chains'' quoted by Carl Marx led to the manifest of communism that motivated the labourers and masses to abolish the classical dictatorship in Russia. But afterwards, a new form of tyranny emerged and astonished the followers and fans of Marx's utopia. Impacted by the incidents in Russia George Orwell the writer authored the novel animal farm to criticise the suppression and cruelty that was happening in the neighbouring country. Old Major, Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer each animal allegorically represents a specific player in the Russian revolution. Realizing the Statesmen who are represented in the story is dramatically easy. Vladimir Lenin or Carl Marx is represented by Old Major the theorist of the revolution in the farm. Napoleon plays the role of Josef Stalin, and Snowball represents Trotsky. But whose role squealer plays? How and why is squealer the main point of focus in this paper?

Orwell cunningly uses animals to represent humans to make the story interesting to read. Each character in the story is assigned to nominate a character in the real world. After reading animal farm we found that the plot precisely correspond to the incidents that took place before, during, and after Russian Revolution and even in other revolutions in 20th century. The story ironically indicates the double standard behaviour of the leaders of the revolution and their hypocrisy to rule over the farm just as previous dictators did. The phase in which the revolutionary forces grab the power and dominate the farm is depicted in such an artistically way that as a reader I found my eyes locked to the text of the book for hours reading the exposition of the story. ''What Orwell had to say directly about the matter added lip to no more than a very small fraction of his output; certain parts of Homage to Catalonia; a few book reviews, a couple of dozen articles in small-circulation periodicals, a short and lambent allegory, his masterpiece, Animal Farm. Indeed, as far as the general public was concerned, it was Animal Farm that did the trick: until it appeared in 1945 Orwell was known only to the few'' (Bloom's Guides, 34). “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Kingsley Martin compliments this passage as being the best part of the story: “We’ve all noticed, with a wry smile, the gradual change of the Soviet doctrine under the pretense that it is no change and then that the original doctrine was an anti-Marxist error” (Bloom's Guide, 32).

Nowadays, decades after the publication of Animal Farm, a new generation of readers by post-modern viewpoints have read the story. By Putting Napoleon as the antagonist of the story traditional readers neglect the main cause of the failure in the animal's revolution. From a more strict and post-modern angle this paper views to the main character of the new autocracy in Animal Farm. By considering the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, evaluating the behaviours and actions done by leaders and statesmen of Stalin's government, and corresponding them to those of animal farm, this paper provides the enlightened readers a new look to the fake reformists who unfairly help the brutal dictators to suppress the masses and rule the country unjustly.

The Animal Farm's Propagandist

Drawing a castle in which animals each represents a type of humans makes it much interesting to read and follow the story to decipher the roles. Mr. Jones and his wife represent the humans, the pigs are the leaders; Old Major represents Carl Marx or Vladimir Lenin, Napoleon represents Josef Stalin, Snowball represents Trotsky, and Squealer this paper is to unveil whom he represents out of the researcher's point of view. The nine dogs represent Stalin's police force. The horse Boxer represents the masses and labourers. The donkey Benjamin represents the rationale or Orwell. The horse Clover represents female proletariat and labourers. The raven represents Russian Orthodox Church. The sheep follow Stalin's agenda and go along with the crowd so they represent the populist class. Mr. Pilkington the neighbouring farm represents Britain.

Old Major persuades animals to fight for their rights and desired life and rebel against humans. The rebellion takes place by the pigs' leadership and all animals' endeavour. Everything seems excellent until animals begin building a windmill. Humans attack and destroy the windmill. They rebuild it. The conflicts rose among pigs, especially between Snowball and Napoleon then Snowball is exiled from the farm and Napoleon senses the delightful feeling of being dominant. Snowball becomes the exiled opposition against the farm authority. Squealer finds it far more beneficial to flatter Napoleon rather than opposing him. Here begins Squealer's role as the propagandist of the brutal dictatorship reigned by Napoleon.

Squealing, using propaganda and turning black into white was Squealer's mastered art in his speeches: ''Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades,' cried Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, ''surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?'' (Burmese Days, 26)

Squealer is always sent to explain the decisions to other animals in his brilliant way of talk. For example, he tells them: 'No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?' (Animal Farm, 5.19)

Squealer also knows how to cheat and fraud animals, like explaining away any grumbling by saying, 'Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?' (Animal Farm, 5.21)

He justifies the windmill; spreads fake news about Snowball; frequently changes the Seven Rules; ruins the revolutionary song 'Beasts of '; and even manages to illustrate the misconception with Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington as Napoleon just being the wise animal. 'The best known among them was a small fat pig named Squealer, with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements, and a shrill voice. He was a brilliant talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive. The others said of Squealer that he could turn black into white.' (Burmese Days, 18)

The pigs gradually find it beneficial to dominate the animals and use their superiority to take over the authority. Napoleon the dictator who was the revolution's main leader now abuses the absolute power and is corrupted. Squealer begins justifying Napoleon's actions and behaviors and playing the role similar to that of vyacheslav Molotov soviet politician and diplomat. The main actions are apparently done by Napoleon but Squealer is the character who intensifies and justifies the suppression of civil movements in Bolshevik Russian which was allegorically sketched in the Animal Farm.

Apparently Reformists but Conservative Hardliners

In today's scene of the world's politics appeared fraudful statesmen who help unrighteous regimes oppress any opposite thought and movement while they are merely propagandists. These personalities are not criticized and noticed enough in Animal farm's critics' notes and papers. We observe justifications and futile reasoning in news and media done by statesmen that are misconseptioned with reformism. Squealer squeals (propagandizes) the main slogan of their revolution 'four legs good two legs bad' and then altered it to 'four legs good four legs best'. He literally turned white to black using his brilliant way of talk. Squealer observes all mischief and abuses Napoleon does and justifies his actions to guarantee the existence of the autocracy he was in common with Napoleon. No matter how corrupted has the system become squealers (the antagonist character of the genre) go on their hypocrite behavior and suppress opposite parties and civil obedience just as Squealer does in Animal Farm, Fake who play more significant role in the emergence and dominance of the tyrannical regimes. Spreading fake news about boxer the dead horse who was sent to be slaughtered and telling that he is going to be cured is one of liars and propaganda Squealer told to the animalism. He committed every criminal and liars to keep Napoleon in dominance but he was hidden behind Napoleon brutal actions and dictatorship just as real statesmen of this today hide by the reformist or moderate masks. The guys who should never remain veiled from strict eyes of the critics of this genre. The world now suffers much more than this type of statesmen than their lords. This research aims to encourage critics and students to be rightful and much strict in analyzing such works of arts and humanity. Liars and supporters of the dictators should never be kept without judgment by critics in the pretext that they are merely moderates or conservatives or even reformists. Unveiling the main antagonists of politics genre in literature helps humanity a lot in finding the hidden hands behind the oppressors in real world. This research directs the attentions to Squealer to be introduced as the antagonist of the story rather than Napoleon. Unfortunately critics seldom noticed to this point so that squealers in the real world are proud of their position.

Appropriate Nominee in Real World to be represented by Squealer

Vyacheslav Molotov __ served as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (Premier) from 1930 to 1941, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956__ is the most likely nominee as the journals and articles have written. Molotov was, basically, a professional revolutionary until his side somehow managed to win. He met Joseph Stalin, future dictator of the Soviet Union while working as an editor for the underground newspaper Pravda ('Truth,' in Russian). Molotov ended up being imprisoned and exiled at various times during his early career because that's what happens when you advocate the violent overthrow of your government. (Article from online magazine shmoop.com)

Keeping the public calm and paying extreme attention to the regime's little achievements was Molotov's role in Stalin ruling period just as the newspaper Pravda in 1930s did. The new born dictatorship in Bolshevik Russia exemplified the most brutal and totalitarian regime had ever seen but Vyacheslav Molotov almost everywhere exonerated the mischief and leadership committed by Stalin. ''Broadly speaking, Communist propaganda depends upon terrifying people with the (quite real) horrors of Fascism. It also involves pretending – not in so many words, but by implication – that Fascism has nothing to do with capitalism. Fascism is just a kind of meaningless wickedness, an aberration, ‘mass sadism,’ the sort of thing that would happen if you suddenly let loose an asylumful of homicidal maniacs. Present Fascism in this form and you can mobilize public opinion against it, at any rate for a while, without provoking any revolutionary movement. You can oppose Fascism by bourgeois ‘democracy,’ meaning capitalism. But meanwhile you have got to get rid of the troublesome person who points out that Fascism and bourgeois ‘democracy’ are Tweedledum and Tweedledee.'' ( : Routledge, 189)

''The propaganda statements which communist or fascist governments feed continuously into the public mind do not bear ‘any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie.''(Keep the Aspidistra Flying, 71)

The Double Standard Behavior of propagandist Media

Being critic and companion of the tyrannical regimes simultaneously unveils the hypocrisy and fakeness of propagandists which should never be neglected from strict readers. A double standard policy is seen in fake reformists' behavior obviously after nearly sixty years debates continues on political genre especially Orwell's Animal Farm. Having a journalistic and post-modern evaluation of this story helps readers come up experts in decoding the policies which are took in action by fake reformists in real world's political scene. The enlightened reader is expected to have a profound look to the characters in literature or to the players in real world to recognize the true role as the antagonist of the story or the responsible of the awkward condition of a suppressed nation by dictators. Real reformism never prolong for decades of years in an autocracy. Real reformism requires an open and transparent atmosphere and freedom of speech and will never work in totalitarian regimes. So a real benevolent and fair statement will never accept attending or playing any role in the system. In other words, accepting any role in a tyrannical government leads to fake reformism and corruption. To reform such systems you need to ruin them entirely and never tolerate ant rule and instruction. Or else by the power of media and propaganda rulers remain dominant for nearly one century as well as the communist leaders remained. “Some historians believe that an important goal of communist propaganda was 'to justify political repressions of entire social groups which Marxism considered antagonistic to the class of proletariat', as in decossackization or dekulakization campaigns. Richard Pipes wrote: 'a major purpose of Communist propaganda was arousing violent political emotions against the regime's enemies.'

The most effective means to achieve this objective 'was the denial of the victim's humanity through the process of dehumanization', 'the reduction of real or imaginary enemy to a zoological state'. In particular, Vladimir Lenin called to exterminate enemies 'as harmful insects', 'lice' and 'bloodsuckers” (online magazine Wikipedia.com)

According to writer and propagandist Maksim Gorky;

“Class hatred should be cultivated by an organic revulsion as far as the enemy is concerned. Enemies must be seen as inferior. I believe quite profoundly that the enemy is our inferior, and is a degenerate not only in the physical plane but also in the moral sense.”

Conclusion

As a fan of communism, George Orwell might have been expected to author a pro-communism novel but as a fair and unbiased critic and journalist, he did versa vise. In Animal Farm he teaches us not to be totalitarian and ideological in our policies. The Ideology of proletarians which was set to rescue the laborer class headed to a point in which they are oppressed and tortured. Orwell teaches us the morality in politics and authority. Animal Farm shows how absolute power corrupts humans absolutely and also leads to the emergence of hypocrisy and fake reformism and propaganda which ultimately ruin our utopia. Post-modern viewpoints look to the totalitarianism beyond Orwell's thought so that Orwell might get surprised of what now is criticized and being the spot of attention by the new generations.

“Orwell got the germ of the fable from seeing a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.” (Collected Essays, 406)

Squealer might have never been Orwell's main antagonist in his purpose. A brief look to the modern world persuades us to have a stricter evaluation and put the fake reformists to be blamed rather than the dictators. Dictators perhaps are not aware of their own behavior and have found them the best. But fake reformists know and understand what is judged as mischief and abuse nevertheless they insist on the correctness of the dictators' actions and leadership only to get fed and earned.

References

  1. Bloom's Guides, page 34, Author(s): Harold Bloom, George Orwell's Animal Farm (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations) Year: 2006
  2. Bloom's Guide, page 32, Author(s): Harold Bloom, George Orwell's Animal Farm (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations) Year: 2006
  3. Online magazine shmoop.com animal farm analysis Animal Farm, chapter 5, page 19
  4. Online magazine shmoop.com animal farm analysis Animal Farm, chapter 5, page 21
  5. George Orwell: Animal Farm, Burmese Days, page 18, A Clergyman's Daughter, Coming Up for Air, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Nineteen Eighty-Four: Complete & Unabridged
  6. Q.D. Leavis, ‘the Literary Life Respectable: Mr. George Orwell’, Scrutiny, George Orwell: The Critical Heritage ( : Routledge, 1975), page 189
  7. Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, page 71
  8. Online magazine Wikipedia.com
  9. Collected Essays, volume 3, page 406

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