Animal Farm: The More Applicable Innaplicable Fictional Story to Reflect the Shitty State of Reality

By: Jacob Lewis

Its a little annoying that everyone has started reading 1984 because of the Trump administration. I am happy that people are reading, and it is a good book, but it really is the wrong analogy to the current administration. In the world of 1984, the super country of Oceania, and its potentially fictional figurehead Big Brother, have thought control and organization down to a science; with its limitations and revisions of the English language, policing of thought and good ol fashioned propaganda. It is a well-oiled machine that even the protagonists of the novel can’t escape in the end. Does this really sound like the Trump administration? They can’t even alienate an entire cognizable group of people from the country without causing a big “to-do.”

However, what really irritates me is that George Orwell wrote another book that more accurately describes this administration. And that, my dear friends, is Animal Farm. The titular Animal Farm was created as an independent animal state after an Animalism revolution overthrows its human masters. The Pigs declare themselves the leaders, as they are considered the smartest of all the animals. After some infighting between two pig leaders (Snowball and Napoleon) Napoleon is declared supreme leader and what follows is text book dictator and Stalinism allegory. While much of this is seen in 1984 as well (with a more fascism in the UK flavor), here are the key differences.

Revisionism

Oceania and Big Brother destroy facts and change history to remove evidence of Government error and fallibility. In Animal Farm, Napoleon (or his propaganda minister, Squealer the Pig) just says shit happened this way, and if you think differently you are remembering it wrong and are also probably an enemy. There is never an attempt to actually substantiate anything Napoleon is saying because, why would they. He said it so it must be true. Napoleon’s supporters, the Sheep (Orwell, sometimes not the most subtle of writers) always believe him outright, while the other animals are so confused about what is being said and reconciling it with what they remember that they either decide to just go along with it or say nothing. When they do try to object, the other side creates such a cacophony that they are never able to be heard.

Concealment of State of Country

The “proles” of Oceania are mostly living in abject poverty, a fact which is concealed through the country’s control over media and communication. Animal Farm, Napoleon just says “shit is great” or at least much better than it was before and…see above.

Finger Pointing

Oceania blames problems on one of two enemies, the States of Eurasia and Eastasia, and fosters nationalism through the idea of perpetual war and the unknown outsiders.

In Animal Farm, it’s always fucking Snowball. Snowball sneaks in and screws stuff up. Snowball is the problem with everything that has gone wrong before. Snowball is conspiring with outside enemies. Snowball is wire tapping everyone’s phone…wait, that one may not be from the book. How does Napoleon know all this? He knows because everyone knows he is really smart. Animal Farm also has the two enemies in the form of the neighboring farms. Similar to the enemies of Oceania, their perceived alignment with Animal Farm changes on a whim. However, Oceania did this to keep the idea of perpetual war alive, while in Animal Farm it changes when one of them slights Napoleon or Napoleon believes he can get a benefit from the other.

Manipulation

Oceania focuses on the manipulation of the current population in their entirety, more so the elite and the middle class than the proles. Animal Farm focuses on the manipulation of the gullible and the young through group thought and patriotism and relies on the remainder of the animals keeping silent out of confusion and perceived superiority and domination of the party.

The Ending

1984 ends with a reeducated Winston Smith proclaiming his love to Big Brother and implanted belief he had always been wrong to feel otherwise. Animal Farm ends with the animals peering into a farmhouse window and seeing pigs having dinner with the Pilkington Farmers. The passage reads:

“An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

When this does end, and if we represent Wilson Smith and/or the Animals, which one of these scenarios do you think is more likely. Trump will eventually create a system that will force compliance and the love of the masses, or that some day in the future, his supporters, after things have gone to shit, and realize that there never was any difference between Trump and the people they distinguished him from and despite all their best efforts, they are no better than when they started.

Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it? Of course, I personally hope it all ends like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, with our team winning everything that can possibly be won, and the other team losing for no other reason than some old guy likes my team more and believes the other team is a bunch of obvious villainous ass hats. Officially though, Animal Farm.

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