Essay analysis and response “On Animal Farm”

Posted: September 6th, 2013





Essay analysis and response “On Animal Farm”

Summary of the essay

The essay On Animal Farm is an analysis done by Christopher Hitchens of the in-depth meaning of the book Animal Farm by George Orwell. Within the essay, the major theme being discussed is correlation between the fictional characters and events in the book and the Russian Revolution. It analyzes the usage of fictional animal characters in a confined environment where they rule themselves to the political occurrences in the Soviet Union and the larger Europe.

The essay discusses the historical background of Animal Farm, the political ramifications that the book has on autocratic regimes, and the struggle for power between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The aspect of the Cold War and the East-West rivalry is also illustrated in the essay with a special reference to the Russian-British period of conflicts. The trend of the essay starts from the period of the Spanish Civil War: the adoption of Animal Farm as a cultural tool during the Cold War and the its modern relevance in the academic and political world (Hitchens line 23-9).

Logical methods in the essay

The review of Animal Farm in an essay by Christopher Hitchens introduces various logical concepts. Hitchens attempts to expose the logical methods that George Orwell used, for example, combining political and artistic ideas into a single entity. Hitchens mentions the outstanding theme of tyranny and other sub-themes like a high regard for satire in publications. According to Christopher Hitchens, the juvenile approach with the help of which Orwell tackled the controversial topics was a fallacy. It may be explained by the fact that George Orwell had no better way to address such political themes without jeopardizing his personal safety and that of other like-minded people and groups.

In the essay, Hitchens identified the childish approach as a logical method used by George Orwell. In writing the book, Christopher Hitchens notes that most of the themes are expressed in very simple and straightforward methods. Hitchens notes the use of animals by George Orwell as the main characters. Most of the activities in the essay are also illustrated in a humorous way that may bring out Animal Farm as a comedy rather than a political satire. Instances of farm animals singing “Beasts of England” in front of a flag at full mast for Christopher qualify as a comic scene. However, he notes that this approach might have been a guise under which Orwell intended to slip the production through most of Europe as a children novel (Hitchens line 45-47).

Christopher Hitchens notes the attention to detail as a method of developing a storyline that is highly relevant and exact. Christopher Hitchens compares the characters, major events, and outcomes in the novel Animal Farm to the historical happenings in Spain and the Soviet Union. Stalin is compared to Napoleon the, pig leader in the novel, as Stalin swayed the Russian Orthodox to his side, and he abolished the socialist anthem “The Internationale”, as it was conflicting with his new ties in Britain and America. Hitchens also notes the omission of Lenin from the works of Orwell. There are no fallacies committed in the logical comparison of the occurrences in the novel to the post-war Soviet Union under Stalin. The dates, major events, and the outcomes in the novel have a close resemblance with history in Russia (Orwell 34).

The process of publishing the book is addressed by Christopher Hitchens in a logical manner. The rejection of the responsibility to print the book by most publishers stemmed from the fact that most were politically conservative and did not associate themselves with revolutionary activities. This was the reason for the decline by TS Elliot and Dial Press who had trivial reasons for their decline. Christopher Hitchens analyzes the reasons for the delayed publication of the book based on the conflictual East-West relationships. These two parties had created a conflictual environment that pitted the political and ideological ideas of capitalism and communism against each other. Therefore, democratic principles such as revolutions, equality and increased participation of the citizens in the governance process were not encouraged, as they displayed the Westernization of the Soviet Union. Christopher Hitchens narrates of the reason that Elliot had rejected the request to publish Animal Farm was that it was too “Trotskyite”.

Christopher Hitchens describes the logical spread of the idea of revolution through the works of George Orwell with most of Easter Europe and within the Soviet Union. The disinterest in the new form of communism that was perpetuated by Stalin was fast growing and the discovery of Animal Farm by Ukrainian and Polish socialists served to aggravate the situation. It was due to the fact that most people still considered themselves staunch Leftists who did not embrace the inclination to the right. Hitchens notes that Orwell predicted the break up between the East and the West that culminated in the Cold War. The novel Animal Farm was transformed into a political tool that was used to promote propaganda in the society and the education system within the American right. For the communist states, the novel was banned from all learning institutions and other academic locations where its effect could be multiplied. At the end of his writing career, Hitchens notes that Orwell was labeled as a traitor by the Russian regime owing to the use of his material by the West.

In the essay On Animal Farm, Christopher Hitchens takes a logical approach in analyzing the changes that took place in the farm after the assumption of power by the pigs. The transformation of the original slogan that “All Animals Are Equal” to “Some Animals Are More Equal than Others” highlights this point by Hitchens. He illustrates the emergence of a new form of communism in Eastern Europe and Russia that contained a new class system that favored the ruling elite and disregarded the majority. Christopher Hitchens marks this political transformation as a moral in George Orwell’s story. Apart from illustrating this, Hitchens also brought out the modern relevance of the historical decisions to focus power on a group of ruling elite. The spread of class systems in the political arena spread to Asia where party leaders had comments that the economic prosperity would benefit some citizens more than others. The reaction that the societies in North Korea, China and Burma, where these books have never been published, will be similar to the Soviet Union under Trotsky’s influence.

Christopher Hitchens brings out the logical interpretation of the whole novel as a channel through which societies can liberate themselves. Hitchens and Orwell illustrate Old Major sharing a dream with the other farm animals in which there exists a world “without masters” and where every beast was free. This notion of ancient liberty is also mentioned by Hitchens and George Orwell in the works of John Milton and other English Protestants. This perceived freedom and liberty of living life as one saw fit resonated within the minds of the readers of the Animal Farm with the effect of reminding them of the better days before the installation of communism by Stalin. The logical fallacy that exists in the idea of complete liberty as was illustrated by Christopher Hitchens is that there is no such idea as complete freedom and liberty.

Logical response to equality

The essay On Animal Farm by Christopher Hitchens attempts to analyze the themes and main content of the book by George Orwell. The phrase “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others” is perhaps the most popular in the book that best depicts the inequality that existed within the context in which the novel was written. The dystopian society as discussed by Christopher Hitchens represented Russia in the 1970 under the leadership of Stalin. The experimentation with different degrees of Marxism, communism, and socialism in Russia resulted in high levels of economic and social inequality. Socialists like Stalin support the creation of socialist states based on need for state-led development and political revolution. However, most of the leaders who take over through coercive means end up becoming dictators, as the institutions that grant power in one head are seldom amended. The interests of the proletariat are ignored in such countries, while the government engages in plunder, corruption, and mismanagement.

It is possible to achieve an egalitarian society that treats all members equally and provides opportunities to everyone. Not only is the idea possible, but it has also been adopted in many developed states with a high level of success. The US democracy is one such example where equality exists primarily due to the state’s efforts at serving the needs of the citizens. The distribution and separation of power in the government ensures that everyone achieves a certain degree of equality. However, the relevance of the phrase “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others” in contemporary Europe is still vivid. The economic differences between developed societies and impoverished communities residing within one country illustrate the inequality that exists even in democratic republics. Similarly, within the liberal environment of the Manor Farm, a section of the animals enjoyed more preferences.

Works Cited

Hitchens, Christopher. “On Animal Farm”. Web. Accessed on 5 July 2012.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm: 1984. Orlando: Harcourt, 2003. Web. Accessed on 5 July 2012.


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