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Table of Contents Context George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Blair, a British political novelist and essayist whose pointed criticisms of political oppression propelled him into prominence toward the middle of the twentieth century.
Born in to British colonists in Bengal, India, Orwell received his education at a series of private schools, including Eton, an elite school in England. His painful experiences with snobbishness and social elitism at Eton, as well as his intimate familiarity with the reality of British imperialism in India, made him deeply suspicious of the entrenched class system in English society.
As a young man, Orwell became a socialist, speaking openly against the excesses of governments east and west and fighting briefly for the socialist cause during the Spanish Civil War, which lasted from to Unlike many British socialists in the s and s, Orwell was not enamored of the Soviet Union and its policies, nor did he consider the Soviet Union a positive representation of the possibilities of socialist society.
He could not turn a blind eye to the cruelties and hypocrisies of Soviet Communist Party, which had overturned the semifeudal system of the tsars only to replace it with the dictatorial reign of Joseph Stalin. Orwell became a sharp critic of both capitalism and communism, and is remembered chiefly as an advocate of freedom and a committed opponent of communist oppression.
His two greatest anti-totalitarian novels—Animal Farm and —form the basis of his reputation. Orwell died inonly a year after completingwhich many consider his masterpiece.
A dystopian novel, attacks the idea of totalitarian communism a political system in which one ruling party plans and controls the collective social action of a state by painting a terrifying picture of a world in which personal freedom is nonexistent.
Animal Farm, written indeals with similar themes but in a shorter and somewhat simpler format. Certain animals are based directly on Communist Party leaders: Orwell uses the form of the fable for a number of aesthetic and political reasons.
To better understand these, it is helpful to know at least the rudiments of Soviet history under Communist Party rule, beginning with the October Revolution of At the end of October November 7 on current calendarsKerensky was ousted, and Vladimir Lenin, the architect of the Russian Revolution, became chief commissar.
Trotsky was a popular and charismatic leader, famous for his impassioned speeches, while the taciturn Stalin preferred to consolidate his power behind the scenes.
In the following years, Stalin succeeded in becoming the unquestioned dictator of the Soviet Union and had Trotsky expelled first from Moscow, then from the Communist Party, and finally from Russia altogether in Stalin used his former opponent as a tool to placate the wretched populace.
Trotsky became a common national enemy and thus a source of negative unity. He was a frightening specter used to conjure horrifying eventualities, in comparison with which the current misery paled.
These and many other developments in Soviet history before have direct parallels in Animal Farm: Napoleon ousts Snowball from the farm and, after the windmill collapses, uses Snowball in his purges just as Stalin used Trotsky.
Similarly, Napoleon becomes a dictator, while Snowball is never heard from again. Orwell was inspired to write Animal Farm in part by his experiences in a Trotskyist group during the Spanish Civil War, and Snowball certainly receives a more sympathetic portrayal than Napoleon.Virginia's ONLY syndicated political talk radio show!.
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A short George Orwell biography describes George Orwell's life, times, and work. Also explains the historical and literary context that influenced Animal Farm.
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union.
Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed . THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMON REVISITED by Beryl Crowe () reprinted in MANAGING THE COMMONS by Garrett Hardin and John Baden W.H.
Freeman, ; ISBN Other essays and articles in the Literature Archives related to this topic include: Irony and Social Critique in “A Modest Proposal" and Candide • Common Themes in Romanticism, The Enlightenment, and the Renaissance • The Influence of the Enlightenment on The Formation of the United States • A Comparison of the French Revolution and American .
Updated 13 March, The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin, Published in Science, December 13, For copyright permission, click here.. The author is professor of biology, University of California, Santa Barbara.