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Old April 25th, 2011, 07:07 AM   #21

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Originally Posted by blacksmit049 View Post
Thanks for the information about the two humans. I still haven't yet discussed the two battles in the story, Cowshed and Windmill. If you would like, you could interpret it for more valuable knowledge I can learn.
That's a good question. The Battle of the Cowshed could be considered a parallel of the civil war following the October Revolution. Mollie could be considered as representing the Byelorussians (she is white, after all). But I think we can go too far in searching out specific parallels. The story is unmistakably a critique of the Russian revolution and the takeover by Stalinists, Fascists and extreme right to Orwell's thinking, How his thinking relates here can be observed in Homage to Catalonia, in some of his essays, and in the original preface. The preface was kindly linked by Avon in the Introductory posts.

Boxer should be seen as the "work horse" of the labor movement, IMO, rather than as a specific character like
Aleksei_Grigorievich_Stakhanov Aleksei_Grigorievich_Stakhanov
, or the
Stakhanovite_movement Stakhanovite_movement
. I think you did an excellent job of pulling in some of the parallels and I don't want to spoil that by trying to add on imaginative pieces.

Where did Boxer fit in to the overall story? He was the work horse of the labor movement. And he came to a bad end, as labor had to under the Bonapartist counter-revolution (in Orwell's view). In this view, the pigs (Stalinists, "fascists," right-wing capitalists) became indistinguishable from the humans (bourgeoisie). While Orwell was not a Trotskyist, he seems to have become indoctrinated with their POV. This can be seen explicitly in Chapter V of Homage to Catalonia. That chapter begins with a discussion of his own political naivete and describes his irritation with the multiplicity of parties and acronyms in the Civil War--POUM, PSUC, FAI, CNT etc. It concludes with a statement that he never joined the party, but came to regret that after the POUM was suppressed.

So, IMO, what were seeing in Animal Farm is a step in George Orwell's process of maturation plus an allegory of the development of Totalitarianism in Russia. So I see the Battle of the Cowshed as an amorphous step in that development. The collapse of the windmill was the original failure of Collectivization (or first 5-year plan) followed by the famine in the Ukraine. More important are the turning points of the revolution--the points where the pigs become more like the humans. The first such was the stealing of the milk. In the screen-play, Orwell attempted to add new lines at the discovery of the missing milk to make the turning point a little less subtle, but those lines were dropped. The other turning point was driving out Snowball (very much like expelling Trotsky) and complete takeover by the brutal Napoleon. But again, they are danger points that Orwell felt revolutionaries must be on their guard against.

For my part, I'd like to see further discussion on how all these characters and events played into the plot of the story rather than nit-picking about any parallels to the Russian Revolution. I'd like to learn something here too.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #22

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I meant pigs.


Just to add the events, I personally found that the rebellion I think emphasizes the Russian revolution, its achievements and straightforward but very head-scratching goals. The battle of the cowshed I think emphasizes nothing about the Soviet Russia before Trotsky was out (which apparently and somehow Snowball symbolizes Trotsky). I think the Battle of Stalingrad is the most comparable event for the battle of the windmill, Russia losses a tantamount number of troops and alongside with many of their significant infrastructures.

To my reaction of the "Four legs good, two legs bad" is somewhat Fascism. This is the very reason why the Holocaust happened, this is to the idea that "all those who are in this form/type/classification/race are enemies, they don't belong to our society let them burn." is the main idea of every revolution. Revolutions always eliminate the untermensch (sub-human) according to their own idea of the human race. Which is to me is unclear since, maybe not all of us are equal, but definitely we just need to respect each other so peace can be achieve.

Differences are always the cause of violence in our society, elimination is a step towards glory for the one who survives, for the others is the strongest. The golden rule I think is "either join our side or die", and so to speak is pathetic.
These are some good generalities we can gather from the story.

While it's important to realize that the story satirizes the Russian Revolution, there's not much to it if it does no more. Orwell meant for lessons to be learned about the nature of man and about revolutions in general.

One thing to understand is that Marx believed that the classes (bourgeoise and proletariat) presented a fundamental contradiction and that therefore revolution was inevitable. He saw the revolution between classes as progressive.

Lenin went a step further in saying that we must bring about revolution. In the last two readings, we did works of Camus and Sartre. This was the fundamental difference between the two--Camus was anti-violence even for the sake of justice where Sartre was for revolution.

Socialism has the same economic goals as Marxist communism, but most socialists are pacifists. Much of the literature of the period by Socialists deals with the conflict between socialist pacifism and their need to defend socialism, even if by war. That is a minor theme in Orwells Homage to Catalonia. It is the theme in a book I am currently reading, Jimmie Higgins, by Upton Sinclair, an American Socialist. But it is relevant here as a background to Animal Farm.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 06:15 AM   #23

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That's a good question. The Battle of the Cowshed could be considered a parallel of the civil war following the October Revolution. Mollie could be considered as representing the Byelorussians (she is white, after all). But I think we can go too far in searching out specific parallels. The story is unmistakably a critique of the Russian revolution and the takeover by Stalinists, Fascists and extreme right to Orwell's thinking, How his thinking relates here can be observed in Homage to Catalonia, in some of his essays, and in the original preface. The preface was kindly linked by Avon in the Introductory posts.

Boxer should be seen as the "work horse" of the labor movement, IMO, rather than as a specific character like Alexey Stakhanov, or the Stakhanovites. I think you did an excellent job of pulling in some of the parallels and I don't want to spoil that by trying to add on imaginative pieces.

Where did Boxer fit in to the overall story? He was the work horse of the labor movement. And he came to a bad end, as labor had to under the Bonapartist counter-revolution (in Orwell's view). In this view, the pigs (Stalinists, "fascists," right-wing capitalists) became indistinguishable from the humans (bourgeoisie). While Orwell was not a Trotskyist, he seems to have become indoctrinated with their POV. This can be seen explicitly in Chapter V of Homage to Catalonia. That chapter begins with a discussion of his own political naivete and describes his irritation with the multiplicity of parties and acronyms in the Civil War--POUM, PSUC, FAI, CNT etc. It concludes with a statement that he never joined the party, but came to regret that after the POUM was suppressed.

So, IMO, what were seeing in Animal Farm is a step in George Orwell's process of maturation plus an allegory of the development of Totalitarianism in Russia. So I see the Battle of the Cowshed as an amorphous step in that development. The collapse of the windmill was the original failure of Collectivization (or first 5-year plan) followed by the famine in the Ukraine. More important are the turning points of the revolution--the points where the pigs become more like the humans. The first such was the stealing of the milk. In the screen-play, Orwell attempted to add new lines at the discovery of the missing milk to make the turning point a little less subtle, but those lines were dropped. The other turning point was driving out Snowball (very much like expelling Trotsky) and complete takeover by the brutal Napoleon. But again, they are danger points that Orwell felt revolutionaries must be on their guard against.

For my part, I'd like to see further discussion on how all these characters and events played into the plot of the story rather than nit-picking about any parallels to the Russian Revolution. I'd like to learn something here too.
Somehow I was completely agitated that Boxer went to a knacker in the story. I pity the hard working horse.

There was another instance where the hens revolted for Napoleon because of its policy that more eggs will be sold. This is somehow one of the complicated examples of conceitedness. Napoleon wants to show that they are not feeble, they earn much more than the humans. It was just-for-show move for the leader to display that they still have guts to glorify themselves and also for the farm to attain more profits by sacrificing comrades' satisfaction.

Mollie was just an example of an immigrant, he flees without notice for she was unsatisfied with the equality of everyone's needs (except the pigs). They are the very conceited persons, they always like to awe themselves for only the sake of themselves. They may be selfish but they are very clever and frugal when it comes to decisions, always like to side with the one who gives them joy.

The cat is one of the most troublesome animal in the farm, he is completely lazy and he is deceitful being, he always gives some reasons why he didn't work and was always late. But they tend to be one of the most observant beings, for he was always out of the farm when it gets into trouble. He sees possibilities, the term trickery would be the perfect adjective.

The sugar mountain that was told by Moses is somewhat confusing, I don't whether it emphasizes anything or not. And old major is really the main contributor and proponent of the idea of Animalism.

I definitely learn something from you, thanks.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 07:25 AM   #24

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Moses is organized religion or an orthodox priest.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 09:34 AM   #25

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This is an off-topic story about Animal Farm.

In 1992-93 my daughter did a book report on this book. This was a middle school (7th grade) assignment. The teacher assigned book reports on almost any book a student wanted, but assigned 1 to 5 points depending on the book. Several students were reading Illustrated Classics--really watered down comic book versions for which the teacher would allow 1 point. Mostly, these were the students whose reading level was pretty low anyway. For her first book, my daughter selected Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables. For that the teacher enthusiastically allowed 5 points.

For her second book, my daughter selected Animal Farm. The teacher was not pleased and told my daughter "I'm not allowing any fairy tales about talking animals." My daughter was shocked. She'd already read the book, and told the teacher that it was a political satire about the Russian Revolution. After some discussion, the teacher backed down and allowed one point for the book--the same as some of the watered down and Bowdlerized comics she was allowing several other kids to read. For her next book, my daughter selected Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 06:14 AM   #26

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This is an off-topic story about Animal Farm.

In 1992-93 my daughter did a book report on this book. This was a middle school (7th grade) assignment. The teacher assigned book reports on almost any book a student wanted, but assigned 1 to 5 points depending on the book. Several students were reading Illustrated Classics--really watered down comic book versions for which the teacher would allow 1 point. Mostly, these were the students whose reading level was pretty low anyway. For her first book, my daughter selected Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables. For that the teacher enthusiastically allowed 5 points.

For her second book, my daughter selected Animal Farm. The teacher was not pleased and told my daughter "I'm not allowing any fairy tales about talking animals." My daughter was shocked. She'd already read the book, and told the teacher that it was a political satire about the Russian Revolution. After some discussion, the teacher backed down and allowed one point for the book--the same as some of the watered down and Bowdlerized comics she was allowing several other kids to read. For her next book, my daughter selected Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.
That's very interesting. I'm by now, haven't yet finished Crime and Punishment! and still reading, although I have somehow a lot of time.

The Animal Farm: A fairy tale story was its complete name until it was taken out by the publisher. But seriously though, at first I thought it was just a fable, but something inside matters.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 06:42 AM   #27

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So no one mentions the Donkey(can´t remember his name)? Wasn´t he representing an educated group who sees what´s going on, but decides not to interfere?
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Old April 27th, 2011, 06:52 AM   #28

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So no one mentions the Donkey(canīt remember his name)? Wasnīt he representing an educated group who sees whatīs going on, but decides not to interfere?
It was Benjamin. But I don't see it as an intellectual stereotype although he knows exactly what happened and the reasons. However, his ignorance is just left off in the train, so I see it as unbearable for the educated group.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 08:08 AM   #29

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I saw Benjamin as a stock character, a cynic, who had little place in the plot. There is another interesting take, however. The critic Kingsley Martin wrote in New Statesman and Nation, 8 September, 1945, that
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The logic of Mr. Orwell's satire is surely the ultimate cynicism of Ben, the donkey. That, if I read Mr. Orwell's mind correctly, is where his idealism and disillusion has really landed him. But he has not quite the courage to see that he has lost faith, not in Russia but in mankind.
Quoted in Understanding Animal Farm, John Rodden - editor, Greenwood Press, 1999. Page 132.

The book I cited notes that Martin's review was more negative than most. Martin, as editor of the New Statesman and Nation, had previously rejected Orwells reports from the Spanish Civil War as "tiraddes against Communistm." Compare this to Orwell's original preface about Freedom of the Press. It's also interesting to note that Orwell had a farm near Wallington, and was known as a lover of animals. He had a dog named Marx. His tirades, of course, were against totalitarianism.

As for the cat, she seems to be more like the wild animals. The wild animals were more like the peasants or serfs. In spite of the preaching of "class equality" the peasants were looked down on as opposed to the work force. The revolution was driven by the work force and Trotsky (Snowball) promoted an Industrial Revolution (the Windmill). Snowball set up a reeducation committee for the wild animals, and the cat joined. But it seems like the cat was only interested in catching the birds. Yet the cat's activities never reached the level of a saboteur. But there's so little about the cat that she's hard to read.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #30

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In Summer, 1946, Orwell wrote an essay Why I Write. It is short and worth a read if you want to understand his later writings like Animal Farm and 1984. Here is an excerpt:

Quote:
The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's aesthetic and intellectual integrity.
This should also explain why I keep referring back to his book Homage to Catalonia and to his essay Looking Back on the Spanish War.
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