Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Animal Farm

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Who would have thought that Animals could demonstrate the same flaws in leadership as humans? Many of the characters portrayed in George Orwell’s story Animal Farm can be compared to communist leaders often. The characters that had the most defined personalities in the book to compare to communist leaders were Mr. Jones, the dogs, Clover and Muriel, Benjamin, Mollie, Mosses, Old Major, Snowball, and Napoleon. Mr. Jones, the initial farmer on “The Manor Farm” represented an authority figure that was overcome.

Mr. Jones represented Nicholas II, who was the monarch of Russia prior to the revolution. Nicholas was in reign 184-117, similar to Jones’ in the point that it was cut short. Throughout his reign of Russia there was a large quantity of conflict between classes. In some ways, Nicholas’ actions led up to the revolution, just as how Jones began to give them less and less rations. In the end Nicholas was killed with his wife and kids, just as the animals would have liked to do to Jones, instead Jones simply ran away and only returned once, which worked for the animals too.

The dogs cannot be compared to a communist leader, for they were within the working classes. When they had their puppies that changed though. The puppies were trained by Napoleon in the isolated attic. When the time came to finally release the dogs, they were just like his secret service; they followed and protected him wherever he went.

Clover and Muriel symbolized the almost, but not quite enlightened class. Clover was gullible, loyal, and hard working, three aspects that made her perfect for the pigs to use. These two were part of the working class, and were worked day-in and day-out by the pigs, but Clover had doubts. Every time that she was cheated, she had slight doubts, so she fetched another animal to read the commandments to her since she could not read. Often Muriel was the one that read the commandments to her. After she read the changes, her subconscious mind still persisted to inform her that they were changed, but she refused to believe it on account of her poor memory. I think that Muriel also had this subconscious nagging, but put it off and blamed himself too.

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Benjamin was possibly the smartest animal on the farm, maybe even more intelligent than the pigs. He was old, so he had seen many different types of animals, good and bad. He also contained a great memory of everything he knew. Throughout the whole story Benjamin was pessimistic, and I think that this is because of how many different animals that he had seen in his life. Inside, he might have been afraid of becoming happy, because from his experiences, everything, even happy things, always came to an end yielding harsher times. The other very unusual aspect about Benjamin was that he was the one and only animal on the farm that had the potential and the ability to stop the pigs, yet he did not. The one time that we do see him using his intelligence, and him being emotional, is when Boxer is taken away to be slaughtered.

Mollie portrayed the bourgeoisie that fled from Russia. The bourgeoisie were the middle class, like Mollie. Before the revolution Mollie had a good life, sugar cubes, attention, her ribbons, looking pretty, basically everything that she wanted, but in the time of the pigs’ rule, her life became harder, and she recognized this, so she fled. This is like the bourgeoisie, who were also middle class, and were the employers of wage laborers, or the Proletariat, so when the working classes revolted, these people, like Mollie, fled for a better life like the one they had before.

The bird Mosses depicted the Russian Orthodox Church, and the return of religion. In the beginning of the story, when times were hard with Mr. Jones, Mosses was there, making the animals happier with stories of SugarCandy Mountain. During the revolution, before the pigs began to completely dominate, Mosses disappeared and was absent until the times were harsh again, this time with Napoleon though. Once again, he gave the animals hope that there was somewhere better out there with his tales of SugarCandy Mountain.

Old major corresponded to Karl Marx. Marx published two main books about communism, Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (the communist manifesto), as well as Das Kapital. His first book, the communist manifesto told about how he wanted to overthrow capitalists in a working-class revolution, and would create a classless society. This was similar to what old Major was saying with his speech instead of a book. In 1864, the first collaborators came together in London and established the First International. This was similar to the gathering in the barn, and just as old Major did, Marx made the inaugural address. Both of these two populaces were most influential after they died. Marx’s ideas became known as Marxism, just as Major’s became known as animalism. Neither of them were able to see the drawbacks that communism would have, nor would they be able to see it in action at all, for they both died before the revolutions.

Snowball was similar to Leon Trotsky, a Russian communist leader. Trotsky helped lead the Russian revolution of 105, and returned in 117 after the revolutions were over. He aided in overthrowing the normal government, and also helped to establish a new government with Lenin, but after Lenin’s death, Trotsky lost support, and was forced out of power by Stalin, and was banished from Russia in 1. This is just what happened with Snowball, who helped greatly during the battles that the animals had, and was then forced off of Animal Farm by Napoleon, and was then banished from Animal farm.

Napoleon represented Joseph Stalin, who was also a disciple of Lenin. After Lenin’s death, he overcame his rivals, among them was Trotsky. In the 10s he had secret executions to eliminate threats to his power, just as Napoleon did to any animal that stole or violated a pig’s rule. Another animal that was executed was Boxer, secretly, of course, but afterwards it was denied. Stalin was known for bringing the Soviet Union into world prominence, but at terrible cost to his own people, just like Napoleon did for The Manor Farm, at the cost of the animals.

These characters are very similar in actions and personality to the characters that Orwell intended for them to represent. Every one of them has an interesting story behind them in the book, as well as in comparison to real-life people in history. Hopefully, this book will educate people all around the work about how horrible, and corrupted communism always is in the end.

Even the best of leaders with the best intentions can be swayed and corrupted if they are given ultimate power. The Story Animal Farm represents the Russian Communist Revolution and power in my opinion. Each of the characters, as explained above, represents a particular person in the Russian revolution, from the working-class to the dictators.

The Russian revolution started with Marx, who had the same beliefs and ways as Old Major. After these two died, their followers continued to work towards their ideas. Lenin followed this through with his two disciples, Trotsky (Snowball) and Stalin (Napoleon). After Lenin’s death, these two rivals fought for control, but in the end, Stalin, or Napoleon prevailed. Using squealer, who represented the mass media and a good talker, he used language to twist the truth, and to gain as well as maintain political control. In the end, times were worse in Russia than they had been before, except for, of course, Stalin, or Napoleon and the pigs. The working class was once again the working class, except for now they had even less power than before.

The whole theme of Animal Farm revolves around the fact of communism. The plot is almost identical to what happened during the Russian revolution, and communist leadership, and the reader feels sorry for the animals, as well as for the people in both the animal revolution and the Russian revolution. This comparison shows the truth of communism, not simply the sugarcoated facts, that do not admit that communism always turns out worse than situations were before.

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