Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four

I have suggested that in order to fully understand Nineteen Eighty-Four, it is important that you read Orwell’s Animal Farm. The book was published in 1944, towards the end of World War II. Orwell’s criticism of Russian communism, especially of the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin (who was represented as the pig Napoleon) made it hard for Orwell to find anyone who would publish his book.

As some of you who have read Animal Farm have discovered, the central themes of Nineteen Eighty-Four are present in the earlier novel. An obvious one is the oppression of the majority of the people by a corrupt ruling elite who want power for its own sake. We also see the alteration of history and the manipulation of language as tools of social control. The major difference comes in the tone as the writing in Animal Farm is lighter in touch but Nineteen Eighty-Four is completely overlaid with a sense of darkness and doom.

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