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HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL BACKGROUND

Posted by saformo on 15 Octubre 2012

 

As Orwell spent more and more time with the down-and-outs of England, he became convinced that the only remedy for the invidious

problem of poverty lay in socialism, a political andeconomic philosophy arguing that only when the state controlsthe means of production and distribution will all members of anation share its profits and rewards. Unlike capitalism , thephilosophy holding that a nation’s means of production anddistribution should be privately owned and controlled, socialismargues that only government regulation of a nation’s economycan close the gap between the rich and the poor. Although hewas not a virulent anti-capitalist , Orwell did think that onlywith the gradual introduction of socialist ideas and practices intoBritish life would the poor eventually come to share in the fruitsof their nation’s prosperity

As he explained in his Preface to the Ukrainian edition of Animal Farm, “I became pro-Socialist more out of disgust with the waythe poorer section of the industrial workers were oppressed and neglected than out of any theoretical admiration for a planned society.”

After fighting against fascism (an oppressive system ofgovernment in which the ruling party has complete economiccontrol) in the Spanish Civil War, Orwell dedicated himself toexploring political questions in his writing. As he explains in theessay “Why I Write,” “Every line of serious work I have writtensince 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism.” His detestation and fear of totalitarianism — an even more extreme form of fascism in which the ruling party hascomplete control over all aspects of a people’s lives — thusinformed much of his literary output.Orwell examined socialism in a number of his nonfiction works butwas prompted to write Animal Farm by what he saw as a Prevalent — and false — belief that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was a steptoward socialism for millions of poor and oppressed Russians. Orwellfelt that Stalin’s brutal rise to power was not only barbaric , but abetrayal of the socialist principles for which Lenin, Trotsky, and hehad presumably revolted.

In hindsight , this seems obvious, but in the world of World War IIEurope, such an attack on Russia was willingly stifled by manyBritish leftists who wanted to believe that Russia was indeed movingtoward a true union of socialist republics. The fact that Russia was— like England — fighting Hitler also made Orwell’s position more unpalatable to leftist thinkers. Still, he felt that Russia was notprogressing toward socialism but totalitarianism : “I was struck byclear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, inwhich the rulers have no more reason to give up their power thanany ruling class.” Convinced that “a destruction of the Soviet mythwas essential if we wanted a revival of the Socialist movement,”Orwell began thinking about how he could best communicate hisopinions on socialism and Stalin.

His thoughts were ignited when he happened to see a village boywhipping a cart-horse. At that moment, Orwell received theinspiration he needed to formulate his ideas into Animal Farm : “Itstruck me that if only such animals became aware of their strengthwe would have no power over them, and that men exploit animals”as the government in a totalitarian state exploits the commonpeople. Now Orwell had a plan for his novel which would both arguethe need for a true socialist government and warn the world of theways in which socialist ideas threatened the will of these in powerwho wish to control other people. His book would demonstrate theways in which — despite all of their socialist propaganda — theleaders of the Russian Revolution (especially Stalin) had created ina system even worse than its previous one and sound an alarm to all English readers about the dangers of believing in the Sovietmyth. After a number of rejections from publishers, the novel was finally accepted by the small publishing firm of Secker and Warburgand proved to be a tremendous success, both in England and theUnited States. AfterNineteen Eighty-Four, another novel thatportrays life under an oppressive government, Animal Farm Is Orwell’s most renowned work.Of course, the novel’s meaning is not rooted solely in its portrayalof the Russian Revolution. The novel asks its readers to examinethe ways in which political leaders with seemingly noble and altruistic motives can betray the very ideals in which theyOstensibly believe, as well as the ways in which certain membersof a nation can elect themselves to positions of great power andabuse their fellow citizens, all under the guise of assisting them.The novel also presents the subtle ways in which a group of citizens— of a farm or a nation — can be eventually led by the nose into aterrible life ruled by a totalitarian regime . In “Why I Write,” Orwelldescribes Animal Farm as “the first book in which I tried, with fullconsciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose andartistic purpose into one whole.” His political purpose — presentinga model of socialism gone wrong — is found in the way that thenovel’s animals reflect different kinds of humans and their strugglesfor freedom and power. Orwell felt that a farm where “All AnimalsAre Equal” would solve many social and economic problems — buthe also knew that such a system would be difficult to maintain ,since some animals would act on the principle that “Some AreMore Equal Than Others.”

 

Animal Farm historical context. Scribd. 10-10-2012   http://es.scribd.com/doc/36842155/Animal-Farm-Historical-Context