The Literary Merit of Animal Farm Essay

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The Literary Merit of Animal Farm

The year of 1945 marked a great turning point in world history. The end of the Second World War, the detonation of the atomic bomb, the beginning of the Cold War took place during that year. Also in 1945, George Orwell published Animal Farm, The book drew wide interest due to its scathing commentary on the Russian communist movement at a time when Britain and Russia were still allies. The body of criticism relating to the novel is among the greatest of twentieth century literature. Attacking the work from a variety of angles, every detail has been poked and prodded, but the consensus is still out on how best to judge Orwell's book. By analyzing the usage of simple themes, comparisons to
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By eliminating certain factors in the Soviet revolution at his own whim, Orwell gets the desired straightforward plot he is desires, but at the same time loses sight with his original goal of satirizing the actual revolution.

Although it is never explicitly stated in the book, the events that occur in Animal Farm closely follow those of the Russian communist movement. Many critics can trace every sentence in the book to a date and place in Russia. Jeffrey Meyers, author of three Orwellian biographies, claims that "...Though critics have often interpreted the book in terms of Soviet history, they have never sufficiently recognized that it is extremely subtle and sophisticated, and brilliantly presents a satiric allegory of Communist Russia in which virtually every detail has political significance," (Meyers). Meyers claims that down to the last detail, Animal Farm moves measure for measure with the Soviets.

Just as some critics claim that Animal Farm is solely intended to satirize the Soviet revolution, others argue that the novel is a cautionary tale against all power-grabbing totalitarians. Many point to the lack of a parallel character to represent Lenin as a sign that the book perhaps is meant to cover wider territory than simply the Soviets (Zwerdling). By

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