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Introduction

There is no doubt that there is a difference between internal and external freedom. The United States, for example, has external freedom in that we are free from control of Great Britain. However, our internal freedom (such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of marriage, et cetera) is debateable. Animal Farm reflects this balance of freedom– the animals are free from human control but still experience an internal power struggle. George Orwell also relates the themes of Animal Farm to Russia through satirical references, showing the struggle of internal and external freedom during the World War. Freedom has always been an important political issue and struggle, and this book highlights that struggle by mirroring the real world. The animals end up gaining external freedom, but through this process create an internal hierarchy of roles that affects the freedom of animals even more than before. In Animal Farm, although the animals are free from external powers, an internal power struggle argues against their commandment of freedom, “All animals are equal.”

Internal vs. External Freedom

Even though the animals are free from the control of a third party, there is still an internal power struggle among them. In the “Beasts of England” song that Old Major introduces to the group, there is a verse that states, “Soon or late the day is coming/Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown/And the fruitful fields of England/Shall be trod by beasts alone” (32). The animals sing about freedom from human control, which is external freedom. However, this will not free the farm from an internal power struggle which will cause problems on the farm. The animals also discuss equality, therefore representing internal freedom, “And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship … All animals are comrades … We are all brothers … All animals are equal,” (32). This shows that there is at least an effort to make all animals equal, even though it is obvious that some animals have more power than others. However, it also symbolizes the propaganda in countries involved in the war; although everyone was deemed “equal,” each animal had a certain amount of equality. The animals then break this feeling of equality when they create an award, “The animals decided unanimously to create a military decoration, ‘Animal Hero, First Class,’ which was conferred there and then on Snowball and Boxer,” (59). When titles and awards are given, they denote a elitism and the idea that some animals are better, and therefore have more power, than others. Since there is not equality between the animals, freedom can not take place. When power isn’t evenly dispersed, certain individuals with more power can limit the rights of lesser individuals. Although the animals are free from control of humans, an internal power struggle between them destroys their hope of freedom and equality.

Internal Power Struggle

Animals of the farm are held down by internal powers despite their commandment of “All animals are equal.” Internal issues arise, creating a system of power that strips freedom of choice and decision making roles from low-powered members of society. The citizens of the farm take on a government-style hierarchy of roles when “all orders were now issued through Squealer or one of the other pigs,” (99). The rest of the animals do not have freedom to decide what they do since all animals are governed by the pigs, and their freedom is therefore limited. The rules made by the animals are also quite hypocritical, for example “four legs good, two legs bad.” Snowball has four legs and therefore should be seen as “good,” but ironically he is the one ganged up on by the rest of the animals. This blame and discrimination against Snowball without proof is shown in the novel, “Comrades, do you know who is responsible for this?…SNOWBALL!” He is not given a fair trial, nor dealt with in an “innocent until proven guilty” manner, thus marking his loss of freedom. Even though the animals state that “all animals are equal,” there is an internal power struggle that tears them apart. Even though the animals are free from an internal hierarchy of power, they accidentally create one themselves.

Conclusion

The animals state that all animals are equal, but it appears that some animals are “more equal” than others. Although the animals are free from a third party, such as the humans, they are subject to an internal power struggle. This struggle ends up creating a government-like system that has more effect on the animals than the humans did, which destroys the freedom of the animals. The novel reflects the power struggle in Russia, for it summarizes the same mirrored power struggle that takes place inside the country. The animals lose their freedom by accidentally creating a power struggle among themselves, causing factions to occur and gang up on certain animals. Although the animals are free from the humans, an internal power struggle destroys their commandment of freedom, “All animals are equal.”


Literature | Book Review


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