Theme of Social Classes — Inevitable Social Classes in Animal Farm
Over the years, many movements have risen up attempting to eliminate social classes. They have come through social endeavors and political moves. Some have even come through religion. Yet no matter how much people try to erase those lines, they always appear. Many pieces of literature have addressed this. One of the most prominent is Animal Farm by George Orwell.
The Differences Made Visible
The story begins with the articulate speech by the wise old boar, The Major, where he points out the differences between the animals and the humans. While the animals slave away and are given just piddly amounts of food if they are fed at all, their humans are living it up with as much food as they want, as much drink as they want, and reaping the financial benefits of the work done all by the animals. It was an obvious injustice that any reader could see. The human master of them, Mr. Jones, was one of the lowest of farmers and shouldn’t ever have been in that position. What reader could argue that?
Let’s stop to examine that aspect. The animals saw themselves as the humans and the animals. Nothing more at this point. There were no grey areas. Humans bad. Animals good. We can almost excuse the animals feeling that way. The only humans they encountered were lazy, selfish and greedy. While we can look at their reactions as narrow minded and wrong, we can also understand that they made their decision on what they knew. Their experience was limited. Too bad they couldn’t read about more humans before making such a dangerous decision. While they personally needed a change, they might have gone about it a little different or at least with a different attitude against all humans.
The animals knew of only two classes: human and animal. But the point is that they knew differences could exist and did. The deck was already stacked against them. Subconsciously they carried it over to post revolution farmlife. Social classes were not desired, but they could not help but fall into them. It was ingrained in them.
Not So Equal
We can easily see the social classes developing on the newly acquired farm. As the reader we want to call out as we see “these classes are guilty of being like sheep in terms of following a leader and they rarely rise up or voice dissent despite the growing authority of the pigs.” (http://www.articlemyriad.com/social-stratification-class-animal-farm/) We see the dangers as they become “incredibly docile and obedient.” (ibid.) It also becomes evident how some social classes are dvided.
Typically one thinks of financial means determining social class structure. In Animal Farm, the classes are based on intelligence. It has been noted that even after a horrendous act had been committed, the animals were not smart enough to catch the holes in the stories given to them and quickly accepted every reason given to them: “Since there is a lack of education among the animals and the sense that they do not need to know anything beyond that which they’ve been told, they quickly forget that such a crime is an unforgivable offence once they are convinced they misunderstood the law in the first place.” (ibid.)
The lack of education divided the animals.This allowed the pigs to control and manipulate them. It can be further said that “because they are so easy to manipulate, they are taken advantage of and for this reason the working class constitute the downfall of the whole experiment and will cause the crumbling of this experiment in the” attempt to create their version of Utopia. (ibid.) The divisions became enhanced, and the more power settled on one class.
Could the animals have avoided dividing up into ‘cliques’? Was Utopia realistically achievable for them? I’d like to argue that it was. It would be nice that they had a chance to accomplish their dream. But was the dream a reality is more the question we should ask.
Could they really have found peace? Was it possible? No, it was not. Someone had to lead the farm for survival.
All the animals could see was the injustice they suffered. Were they correct? Possibly, but they dreamed of something was completely opposite and unattainable. While they could argue that the farm could have been run without the big divide of social classes, the lure of power was too great. The intelligence, or lack of, was too pronounced. It was inevitable that the animals would divide themselves into different social classes. Greed and power were too strong to overcome with just ideals.
It is just human, or animal, nature to create differences, see differences, and use the differences to make their mark. Social classes were inevitable in Animal Farm.