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Animal Farm by George Orwell


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Title: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell
George Orwell
Background on Orwell
  • George Orwell was born in Bengal, India. His real
    name is Eric Blair.
  • In 1904, his mother moved back to England so that
    her children could begin their education there.
  • Orwell received a scholarship to study at Eton in
    1917. Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World)
    was one of his teachers.

Background on Orwell
  • At Eton, Orwell was first exposed to popular
    liberal and socialist ideas.
  • After graduating in 1921, he joined the Civil
    Service and went to Burma as a sergeant in the
    Indian Imperial Police.
  • He quit this job in 1927 because he did not like
    being an instrument of power over the Burmese

Background on Orwell
  • After quitting the Civil Service, Orwell chose to
    live among the working-class people of Paris and
    the homeless in England. This experience lasted
    for more than a year.
  • He wrote about these experiences in his first
    book, Down and Out in Paris and London (published
    in 1933).
  • At this time, he adopted his pseudonym George

Background on Orwell
  • He took Orwell from an English river near where
    he once lived, and he chose George as his first
    name because it was typically English.
  • At this time, he worked as a teacher, and after
    he married, he and his wife ran a village pub and
    the general store.
  • In 1936, he became a socialist, and his publisher
    encouraged him to write about oppressed people.
    He did.

Background on Orwell
  • In 1945, he published Animal Farm, one of the
    two novels for which Orwell is most famous.
  • 1984 , Orwells most celebrated novel, was
    published in 1949.
  • Orwell got the idea for Animal Farm from seeing a
    small boy driving a horse and whipping it
    whenever it tried to turn.

Background on Orwell
  • It struck me, said Orwell, 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 (working class).
  • Orwell disapproved of Britains privileged class
    and believed instead in the traditions and
    virtues of the working class.

Background on Orwell
  • These beliefs were fostered by a visit Orwell had
    made to Spain about ten years earlier.
  • He went to Spain to write about their Civil War,
    and even to fight in it.
  • He was wounded in his neck in battle by a
    snipers bullet which caused his voice to become
    permanently altered.
  • The war experience had given him a horrifying
    glimpse of political reality.

Background on Orwell
  • He saw how revolutionary causes could become
    corrupt and evolve into totalitarianism (a kind
    of dictatorship where one political party has
    total control and all opposition is ruthlessly
    suppressed), which he saw as the futures threat
    to human freedom.
  • Later in Russia, Orwell saw a powerful
    dictator-Joseph Stalin-come up through the
    revolutionary ranks and eventually oppress the
    people as badly as the Czar had done before him.

Background on Orwell
  • To show how a whole nation could be enslaved,
    Orwell created his fable (a brief, often
    humorous, tale that presents a moral or message)
    about the animals on Manor Farm.
  • Orwell said that the book was the first in which
    I tried, with full consciousness of what I was
    doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic
    purpose in one whole.

Historical Context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • The novel is based upon the events that occurred
    during and after The Russian Revolution of 1917.
    Various historical figures are represented by
    different animals and events.
  • The ruling family at the time of the Revolution
    was the Romanovs.
  • The Czar was Nicholas II and his Czarina (wife)
    was Alexandra.
  • Nicholas and Alexandra had one of the most
    passionate love affairs of their day.

Nicholas and Alexandra
Historical Context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Nicholas and Alexandra had five children
    together 4 daughters-Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and
    Anastasia. They also had one son- Alexei.
    Unbeknownst to the majority of the Russian
    public, Alexei was a hemophiliac.
  • Nicholas had no desire to be Czar of Russia, but
    he was suddenly thrown into power at the young
    age of 28 when his father died.

The Russian Imperial Family daughters
Alexandra and Alexei
The Russian Imperial Family
The Russian Imperial Family
Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Nicholas was the absolute sovereign of Russia,
    which meant that he controlled every aspect of
    the government.
  • The downfall of the Romanov Dynasty began with an
    incident that later became known as Bloody
  • By the early 1900s, the writings of Karl Marx,
    increasing hardship, and the injustices of the
    czars inspired widespread revolt among the
    working class.

Karl Marx
Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Communism is an economic system where the basic
    idea is that everybody does jobs in which they
    excel, and everybody gets everything that they
  • Karl Marx is considered the Father of Modern
  • His beliefs were known as Marxism.
  • Marxism is a theory of class struggle.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Marx divided people into two main classes
  • Bourgeoisie class of modern capitalists. They
    are the minority of people who own the means of
  • Proletariat the modern working class who always
    lived at the lowest possible level to sustain
    health while providing wealth for the upper
  • Karl Marx arranged his theories into a book
    entitled The Communist Manifest.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Marx believed that through revolution private
    property would cease to exist and that workers
    would break free from their metaphorical chains.
  • The problem with this theory is that once the
    upper class dissolved then the lower class would
    rise and take its place, and the cycle would
    start anew.
  • Without competition there would be no market
    thus, modern industry would cease to exist.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • 1904 was a bad year for Russian workers. Prices
    of essential goods rose so quickly that real
    wages declined by twenty percent.
  • When four workers were dismissed at the Putilov
    Iron Works, a priest named George Gapon called
    for industrial action.
  • Over the next few days more than110,000 workers
    in St. Petersburg went on strike.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • In an attempt to settle the dispute, Gapon
    decided to make a personal appeal to Czar
    Nicholas. He drew up a petition outlining the
    workers sufferings and demands. This list
    included calling for a reduction in the working
    day to eight hours, increasing wages, and
    improving working conditions.
  • Numerous aspects of the petition were based upon
    Karl Marxs ideas.
  • Over 150,000 people signed the petition.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • On January 22, 1905, Gapon led a large procession
    of workers to the Winter Palace in order to
    present the petition to Nicholas.
  • When the procession of workers reached the
    palace, they discovered that Nicholas had
    received word about their visit and decided to
  • The guards that were surrounding the palace did
    not know how to handle the angry mob instead of
    trying to reason with them, the guards decided to
    open fire.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Over 100 workers were killed and over 300 were
    wounded in the incident.
  • After this incident, the people began to view
    Nicholas as a blood-thirsty tyrant.
  • There were numerous revolts that sprang up around
    Russia seeking retribution for the fallen
  • This incident laid the groundwork for the Russian

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • WWI soon broke out and Russia found itself
    involved in the war.
  • Nicholas decided that he wanted to be a part of
    the action, so he made it a point to go out with
    the Russian troops and provide help.
  • His wife and daughters decided that they wanted
    to help as well, so they became nurses.
  • During this time Nicholas makes some egregious
    decisions concerning the war effort. The Russian
    people begin to blame his wife, who was part
    German, and her so- called priest Rasputin for
    influencing the Czars decisions.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Nicholas soon gets word of a planned revolt in
    St. Petersburg, so he leaves the front in an
    attempt to quell the revolt.
  • On his way to the city, the Bolshevik Party set
    up a barricade so that the train could not get
  • The train is forced to take an alternate route,
    which unfortunately leads the train right into
    Bolshevik territory.
  • Nicholas is taken prisoner and is forced to
    abdicate his throne.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • On March 15, 1917, Czar Nicholas II was
    overthrown and later executed, along with his
    wife and five children.
  • A provisional government was set up to take over
  • Seven months later, the Bolsheviks (the
    majority), led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the
    provisional government.
  • This coup was known as the October Revolution.

Vladimir Lenin
Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Even though Lenin was a follower of Marxism, he
    did not agree with every aspect of Karl Marxs
  • Lenin eventually comes up with his own theory
    known as Leninism.
  • Unlike Marx, Lenin believed that once the
    proletariat became the only class, then the
    States role should not disappear entirely, but
    instead should be led by a Vanguard Party.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Lenin believed that this party needed to exist
    for quite some time to ensure protection of the
    socialist state from its internal and external
  • Lenins policies were often more violent and
    sneaky than those of Marxist beliefs.
  • Lenin believed in the total liquidation of the
    bourgeoisie class, as well as anyone who stood in
    the way of his Marxist dreams.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the first
    official socialist state was created with Lenin
    at the helm.
  • The Bolsheviks changed their name to the Russian
    Communist Party after the Revolution. They later
    became known as The Reds.
  • Lenin became so well-loved and revered that upon
    his death his body was placed on display for all
    to see and admire.
  • After his death in 1924, a power struggle emerged
    for control of the Communist Party.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • The death of Lenin and the dissolution of
    Marxist-Leninist thought engendered two new
    Russian leaders Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin.
  • A power struggle soon emerged between Trotsky and
    Stalin with different factions arising from their
    conflicts of ideology.
  • Trotsky was a strict Marxist and talented party
    organizer who had played an important role in the
    Russian Revolution.

Leon Trotsky
Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Trotsky believed that the only way a society
    could survive was through permanent revolution.
    He reinforced the need for a worldwide socialist
    class. This idea was later known as Trotskyism.
  • Stalin (secretary general of the Communist party)
    favored a modified form of Marxism.
  • He argued that a socialist state could and must
    first be created within Russia and that Russia
    would be the leader for the international

Joseph Stalin
Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Later, however, Stalins ideas and practices
    quickly turned totalitarian. The power-hungry
    Stalin would not let anything stand in his way.
  • Totalitarianism is a form of government with a
    strong central rule that attempts to control
    individuals by means of coercion and repression.
  • Stalin eventually won the power struggle and had
    Trotsky exiled to Mexico where he is later killed
    by USSR agents.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Stalin began several 5-year plans to stimulate
    the Russian economy, which actually decreased
    under his collective farming.
  • Although he took the formal title of Premier in
    1941, Stalin was an absolute dictator.
  • Any opposition to Stalin was subject to secret
    arrests, fake trials, forced labor camps, and
    mass executions.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Estimates put the death rate in the neighborhood
    of 10-20,000,000.
  • Stalin guided Russia through WWII as an ally of
    the United States. This friendship perhaps
    explains why numerous details about Stalins
    regime were not made public.
  • He took Russia from an agricultural to an
    industrial society.
  • His death in 1953 brought about a series of other
    Premiers who continued with the same oppression
    of the people, although some changes slowly

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Animal Farm, which was published the year after
    World War II ended, is an anti-utopian novel
    which shows man at the mercy of a force he can
    not control.
  • Orwell wanted people to remember the errors of
    the past and learn from historys mistakes.
  • Animal Farm is an allegory.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • An allegory is a story that can be read on two
    distinct levels. Characters and events in an
    allegory represent something else, and they are
    used by the writer to convey a moral or
    philosophical message.
  • Animal Farm is also a satire. A satire uses
    ridicule to make certain people, events, or
    institutions appear foolish.
  • One of the elements of satire is irony. Orwell
    uses situational, verbal, and dramatic irony in
    Animal Farm.

Historical context and background information on
Animal Farm
  • Another aspect that plays a vital role in Animal
    Farm is the use of propaganda.
  • Propaganda is any widespread promotion of
    particular ideas, doctrines, etc.
  • The following slides present different forms of
    propaganda and how they are used.

  • Name Calling giving an idea a bad label is
    used to make us reject and condemn the idea
    without examining the evidence.
  • Glittering Generality associating something
    with a virtue word (ex. freedom, democracy,
    motherhood, health, etc.) is used to make us
    accept and approve the thing without examining
    the evidence.

  • Transfer either carries the authority and
    prestige of something respected and revered over
    to something else in order to make the latter
    acceptable, or carries authority and disapproval
    to cause us to reject and disapprove something.

  • Testimonial consists of having some respected
    or hated person say that something or someone is
    good or bad.
  • Plain Folks the method by which a speaker
    attempts to convince his audience that he and his
    ideas are good because they are of the people,
    the plain folks.

  • Card Stacking involves the selection and use of
    information in order to give the best or the
    worst possible case for an idea, program, person,
    or product.
  • Band Wagon has as its theme, everybody at
    least all of us is doing it the propagandist
    attempts to convince us that all members of a
    group to which we belong are accepting his
    program and that we must therefore follow our
    crowd and jump on the band wagon.

  • Flattery uses compliments to compel the audience
    to agree with the propagandist.
  • Ex. Youre so smart, Im sure youll realize
    that this product is the best one for you!

  • Prestige Snob Appeal the audience believes
    that they are part of the elite if they agree
    with the propagandist.
  • Ex. Anyone who is anyone or The best of the

  • Pseudoscientific Jargon The propagandist uses
    confusing (and sometimes false) terminology to
    convince the audience that he is believable.
  • Ex. The USDA has released a report stating that
    the amino acids found in lactic excretions in
    bovine mammals have corroded the cardiac artery
    of many consumers leading to massive lumbar