Bit and Spur Shall Rust Forever: Hollow Symbols in George Orwell's Animal Farm
George Orwell's political fable Animal Farm portrays a reenactment of the Russian Revolution, with major characters cast as farm animals and communism renamed "Animalism." True to the historical story, the aristocratic players manipulate the proletariat, deluding them with illusions of dignity and improved living conditions, while masterfully holding all of the power for themselves. Once Napoleon seizes control, he carefully dismantles the Animalistic system Old Major had preached by slowly altering the common symbols of freedom and patriotic sayings, and establishes a devious government at least as unjust as its precursor in its place. The meat of Animalism decays as Marxism did, resulting in a system of desired shape lacking desired thought, grossly symbolized in the following passage by Old Major's remains:
The skull of old Major, now clean of flesh, had been disinterred from the orchard and set up on a stump at the foot of the flagstaff, behind the gun. After the hoisting of the flag, the animals were required to file past the skull in a reverent manner before entering the barn. -(Animal Farm, 46-47)
Orwell uses symbols in terms of hollowness throughout Animal Farm to portray the empty promises behind false...
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