Animal Farm and 1984 Comparison Video

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  • 0:00 Two Dystopias
  • 1:14 In Protest of Communism
  • 2:03 In Protest of Capitalism
  • 2:52 Trampling the Rights…
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
George Orwell's '1984' and 'Animal Farm' are about different societal and governmental extremes, but both serve as a warning. This lesson will compare the two famous dystopian novels.

Two Dystopias

George Orwell wrote some of the most acclaimed dystopian literature of the 20th century. The two most well-known of these were 1984 and Animal Farm. While dealing with different ideas, there are definite comparisons to be made between the two.

In both books, Orwell presents two frightening dystopias. In 1984, the world is locked in a state of eternal war. There is tyranny from the government and mass exploitation and mistreatment of the people. Thought police roam the streets, indoctrination is rampant, and love is forbidden. As we find out with Winston, the protagonist, history is prone to change on a whim as the books and records are constantly being rewritten.

In Animal Farm, we see the birth of a dystopia. Animals are subjugated to the whim of humans, so they revolt, but in doing so they are subtly betrayed by their leaders, the pigs, who end up just as bad as the humans ever were. Here we see a different type of rewriting; the rules of society are constantly being rewritten or rephrased to justify the leaders' actions.

While each book describes societies at completely different ends of the ideological or political spectrum, Orwell meant them both as warnings.

1984 tagline
1984 Poster

In Protest of Communism

Orwell wrote Animal Farm during World War II, and it was published just months after the end of the war. It's a loose allegory about the fall of the Russian Empire and the rise of the Soviet Union in its place. While Orwell was writing the book, many of his British countrymen cheered the Soviets for standing up to Hitler. However, Orwell saw past the convenient alliance and commented directly on just how the Communists had come to power. He saw them as ruthless. Early heroes were erased and old allies were killed when their usefulness had ended. The same fates meet Snowball the pig and Boxer the workhorse, two important characters in the novel.

In the closing paragraphs of Animal Farm, Orwell shows that the pigs, meant to represent the Communists, were just a different form of the traditional oppressor. The other animals couldn't even tell them from humans as the pigs meet around a table.

Animal Farm
Animal Farm cover

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