Orwells satire will be no iconoclastic wrecking job on the Stalinist Russia whose people had been suffering so cruelly from the war and whose soldiers , under Stalins leadership, were locked in desperate combat with the German invader even as Animal Farm was being written. That Orwells assault is primarily on an idea, the extremists fantasy of technological utopianism devoid of hard work, and less a living creature, the commander is chief, is demonstrating during the most dramatic moment of Farmer Fredericks attack on the farmthe juxtaposition of dynamited windmill and the figure of Napoleon alone standing unbowed. And despite Orwells fascination with Gullivers Travels, it is a sign of his attempt to draw back from the Swiftian revulsion at the flash a disgust that , as Orwell later noted could extend to political behavior toward the more balanced and positive view of life that Animal Farm, despite its violence, has few references to distasteful physical realities, and those two are appropriate to the events of the narrative.
Napoleon is a simple figure. Orwell makes no attempt as to give reasons as to why he comes to act the way he does. If Napoleon was a human character in the novel, if this where a historical novel about a historical figure Orwell would have had to make Napoleon convincing in human terms. But isnt human and this is not a novel. It is an animal fable and Orwell presents the figure of Napoleon in ways that make us see clearly and despise what he stands for. He is simplified for the sake of clarity. He lends force of Orwells political massage, that power tends to corrupt, by allowing the reader to fix his disgust at cruelty torture and violence.
The primary objective of the tale is that we should loathe Napoleon for what he stands for. The other animals are used to intensify our disgust or else to add color and life to the tale by the addition of the farmyard detail. The most significant of the other animals is undoubtedly the cart-horse Boxer, and in his handling of him Orwell shows great expertise in controlling the readers reactions and sympathies and in turning them against what is hates.
Throughout the novel boxer is the very sympathetic figure. Honest and hardworking, he is devoted to the cause in a simple-minded way, although his understanding of the principles of Animalism is very limited. He is strong and stands nearly eighteen feet high, and is much respected by the other animals. He has two phrases which for him solve all problems, one, I shall work harder, and later on, despite the fact that Napoleons rule is becoming tyrannical, Napoleon is always right. At one point he does question Squealer, when he, in his persuasive way, is convincing the animals that Snowball was trying to betray them in the Battle of Cowshed. Boxer at first can not take this, he remembers the wound Snowball received along his back from Joness gun. Squealer explains this by saying that it had been arranged for Snowball to be wounded, it had all been part of Joness plan. Boxers confused memory of what actually happened makes him a little uneasy but when Squealer announces , very slowly that Napoleon categorically states that Snowball was Joness agent from the start then the honest cart-horse accepts the absurdity without question.
Orwell through the figure of Boxer is presenting a simple good-nature , which wishes to do good, and which believes in the Rebellion. So loyal is Boxer that he is prepared to sacrifice his memory of facts, blurred as it is. Nevertheless, so little is he respected, and so fierce is the hatred the pigs hatred the pigs have for even the slightest questioning of their law that, when Napoleons confessions and trials begin, Boxer is among the first the dogs attack. Wish his great strength he has no difficulty in controlling them: He just simply, almost carelessly put out his great hoof , caught a dog in mid-air, and pinned him to the ground. At a word from Nahjleon he lets the dog go , but still he doesnt realize he is a target. Boxers blind faith in the pigs is seeming disastrous. Confronted with the horrifying massacre of the animals on the farm, Boxer blames himself and buries himself in his work. This show of power pleases us as a reader, in what we like to think of physical strength being allied to good nature, simple though a good nature may be. Boxer has our sympathy because he gives his strength selflessly for what he believes, whereas Napoleon gives nothing , believes in nothing and never actually works. Boxer exhausts himself for the cause. Every time the animals have to start rebuilding of the windmill he throws himself into the task without a word of complaint, getting up first half an hour, then three quarters of an hour before everybody else.
Boxers sacrificial break down in the service of what he and the other worker animals believed to be technological progress might be interpreted as allegorically portending the future deterioration of the animal community.
At last his strength gives out and when it does his goodness is unprotected. The pigs are going to send him to the knackers to be killed and boiled out into glue. Warned by Benjamin the donkey (his close, silent friend throughout the book), and by Clover he tries to kick his way out of the van, but he has given all his energy to the pigs and now has none left to save himself. The final condition of Boxer, inside the van about to carry him to the knackers in exchange for money needed to continue work on the windmill, emblematically conveys a message close to the spirit of Orwells earlier warnings : The time had been when a few kicks of Boxers hoofs would have smashed the van to mach wood. But alas! His strength had left him; and in the few moments the sound of drumming hoofs grew fainter and died away. This is the most moving scene in a book Indeed our feelings here as readers are so simple, deep and uninhibited that as Edward Thomas has said movingly, we weep for the terrible pity of it like children who meet injustice for the first time.
Boxer can be attributed to the tragic heroes cause he doesnt struggle with the injustice as the tragic hero should do. And surely we can consider him a comical hero as all through the story the reader has compassion on him. Orwell managed to unite tragedy and comedy in one character. Boxer arouses mixed contradictory feelings. His story is no longer comic, but pathetic and evokes not laughter but pity. It is an aggressive element, that detached malice of the comic impersonator, which turns pathos into bathos and tragedy into travesty.
Not only Boxers story reminds us more of a tragedy. The destiny of all animals makes us weep. If at the beginning of the novel they are happy and excited in the middle they work like slaves but still happy, at the end they are shaken and miserable. After Napoleons dictatorship has showed its disregard for the facts and its merciless brutality, after the animals witnessed the forced confessions and the execution, they all go to the grassy knoll where the windmill is being built Clover thinks back on Majors speech before he died, and thinks how far they had gone from what he would have intended: as Clover looked down the hillside her eyes filled with tears. If she could have spoken her thoughts, it would have been to say that this was not what they had aimed at when they had set themselves years ago to work for the overthrow of the human race. This scenes of terror and slaughter where not what they had looked forward to on that night when old Major first stirred them to rebellion. If she herself had had any picture of the future, it had been of a society of animals set free from hunger and whip, all equal, each working according to his capacity, the strong protecting the week. Instead she did not know why they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.
From the sketch of the political background to Animal Farm it will be quite clear that the main purpose of that episode is to expose the lie which Stalinist Russia had become. It was supposed to be a Socialist Union of States, but it had become the dictatorship. The Soviet Union in fact damaged the cause of the true socialism. In a preface Orwell wrote to Animal Farm he says that for the past ten years I have been convinced that the distruction of Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of socialist movement. Animal Farm attempts, through a simplification of Soviet history, to clarify in the minds of readers what Orwell felt Russia had become. The clarification is to get people to face the facts of injustice, of brutality, and hopefully to get them to think out for themselves some way in which a true and democratic socialism will be brought about. In that episode Orwell shows his own attitude to what is happening on his fairy farm. And he looks at it more as at the tragedy than a comedy, but still he returns to his genre of satire and writes: there was no thought of rebellion or disobedience in her mind. She knew that even as things were they were far better than they had been in the days of Jones, and that before all else it was needful to prevent the return of the humanbeings.
Finally, the moderateness of Orwells satire is reinforced by a treatment of time that encourages the readers sympathetic understanding of the whole revolutionary experiment from its spontaneous and joyous beginnings to its ambiguous condition on the final page. A basic strategy of scathing social satire is to dehistoricize the society of the specific sociopolitical phenomena being e