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American Journal of Scientific Research

ISSN 1450-223X Issue 18(2011), pp.100-106
© EuroJournals Publishing, Inc. 2011

From Utopian Dream to Dystopian Reality: George Orwell’s
Animal Farm a Case Study
Bahareh Darvish
Department of English Language, Islamic Azad University
Chalus Branch, Chalus, Iran
Tel: 00989111935046
Mohammadreza Ghanbari Najjar
Department of English Language, Islamic Azad University
Jouybar Branch, Jouybar, Iran
Tel: 00989113139611; Fax: 00981243363190
The notion of utopia as an ideal state has been deeply rooted in history of man's
culture, from the earliest of antiquity to the present time. Even in antiquity utopia was an
ideal living state as inferred from the work of Plato, the great master of the classics; and Sir
Thomas More, the great humanist and utopist. The first and the most outstanding sample of
this type of work is Plato's Republic which is in a dialogue form and envisages an ideal
state in heavenly paradise and the next is More's Utopia. More in his Utopia depicts an
ideal state in nowhere which has been the prototype of many modern utopias. But by the
passage of time it becomes clear that the happiness that the utopists aspire for is just fake
happiness and at the end it leads to horror and nightmare of dystopia.
George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm, also depicts these two notions of utopia and
dystopia. The novel is a brilliant sample of utopia which turns into dystopia. In Animal
Farm, the animals wish for a dreamy farm with utopian characteristics but in the end they
are all left alone with a farm, filled with darkness, lies, conspiracy and broken dreams.
"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Keywords: Utopia, dystopia, George Orwell, Animal Farm,

1. Introduction
Utopia as a place for good and ideal life, from the time of Plato to the present has been associated with
knowledge, morality, virtue, happiness and pleasure. This association of a utopian world to that of our
own has been echoed so many times that this definition takes on metaphysical meanings, when the
notion of utopia comes closer to a place in heaven, in other times particularly in modernism it has
closely been associated with the notion of an ideal state with material and phenomenal cooperation,
comfort and beauty. Earlier, Plato had mentioned the same ideas. He was the first to outline a plan for
this ideal state which he called Republic. In More's Utopia the whole populace needs to work six hours
a day regardless of sex or age and everyone must be educated. In More's Utopia each citizen is given a
right to express himself in the government.

As far as mentioned all the utopias occur in a far and unknown place. no doubts. The first thing that can deem Animal Farm as a utopia novel is its location. the procedure of this disaster has not been discussed in detail. a protagonist who often questions the society often feeling that something is terribly wrong. free and equal. in addition. the mandatory division of people in society into castes or groups with specialized functions. he has recourse to this mood of thinking and writing so as to satisfy his deep urges and to introduce certain changes within reality if possible. Dystopian literature has been characterized as a fiction that presents a negative view of the future of society and humankind. Dystopian writers accuse the utopists for ignoring and sacrificing worthy ideals for the sake of unworthy desires. technological advances that enslave humans or regiment their lives. makes every living creature greedy and avaricious – and. But this kind of vice has no place whatever in the Utopian way of life". the fate of the mass must be put in the hands of elite – the creative minority of the society. although they are by no means definitive. the condition of living among the lower and middle class of this society is generally poorer than in contemporary society. The researchers focus on this new aspect of this novel that is following up the trend of shaping a dystopian society out of utopian ideals and dreams. 2. The animals established one central belief system that everyone could understand and follow on the farm. The place is isolated from others and its populace tries to make an ideal place where everyone is happy. The idea of perfect society. developed in reaction to the misery and hardship in which most individual have existed throughout history. constant surveillance by the state police agencies in the state. There are some common traits of dystopias. but most dystopian literature includes at least a few of them: there is a hierarchical society where its citizens are divided into the upper. these elite fail to create a saner and perfect world. an anti – utopian which. there is a fear and disgust of the world outside the state. But in dystopian. middle and lower class (caste system). .to the point that it becomes barren. As a matter of fact. The society is ruled by an upper class with few democratic ideals. which they called animalism. Orwell's “Animal Farm is a satiric portrait of a real society. The other important factor that the dystopian writers try to show is the failure of elite in controlling the society.From Utopian Dream to Dystopian Reality: George Orwell’s Animal Farm a Case Study 101 Utopia is a possible response given to the anxieties and pessimistic perspective as well as to unsatisfied hopes and dreams of people who wish an ideal and desired world. the dystopian writers saw through their plans and found the risk of tyranny and oppression. a society in which all people are equal and happy. man develops qualities out of pride. or turns against humankind. At the end they are in the same situation but in the control of pigs. suggests what society ought to be like" (Meyers 103). pride which glories in putting down other by a superfluous display of possessions. (Adams 42) When the utopian writers tried to depict an endless happy society to human. all the programs of the society and its educational system is made in a way to convince them into thinking that life under the regime is good and just. Animal Farm is the story of the animals that rebel against their master in order to build a utopian farm. and a collective loss of memory and history making mankind easier to manipulate psychologically and ultimately leading to dehumanization. According to utopians in order to have a better future. There are some other common themes that can be found in dystopian fictions: mastery of nature. In this novel the animals of Manor Farm transformed their farm into a utopia to suit all their basic needs. It is an ancient and eternal dream of the human imagination because he has never satisfied with realities. Discussion The present research tries to look at Animal Farm through a different perspective which has usually been ignored. by caste gating real evil. "Fear of want. This novel is usually categorized under the title of dystopian fiction. Dystopia is often a deliberate attack on the idea and possibility of utopia.

agricultural way of life. for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you. but I know. pass on that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious. and in accordance to their strength did everything they could at the harvest: And every animal down to the humblest worked at turning the hay and gathering it. The pigs elaborate Old Major's teachings into a system that they called animalism. (Orwell 10) After the first meeting. comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come. work night and day body and soul. Sometimes the work was hard. and the produce of our labor would be our own. and it was a great drawback that no animal was able to use any tool that involved standing on his hind legs. As Major describes. it is a dream of past the same as other utopian writer's dream. comrades. (Allen et al. his idea is a simple. it is isolated from outside interferences. (16) As it goes on animals try to do their best at the harvest despite many difficulties they encountered. Like the utopians they try for the welfare of all and their society. or made elementary remarks such as 'Mr.102 Bahareh Darvish and Mohammadreza Ghanbari Najjar The physical location of Manor Farm is shown to be an ideal setting far a utopian community: it is a pleasant place to look at. Even the ducks and hens toiled to and fro all day in the sun. it might be in a week or in a hundred years. Snowball and Napoleon especially and other pigs in general take the control of animals and organize. (25) All the animals regardless of their age. and it is suitable for establishing the kind of pastoral life which Old Major dreams of. Several nights a week.' Others asked such questions as 'Why should we care what happens after we are dead?'. we should starve to death. Some of the animals talked of the duty of loyalty to Mr. As for the horse. the song "Beasts of England" describes this kind life: the only "riches" in this song are barely and wheat and other foods for the animals. Just like what Thomas More asserts in his Utopia they assemble meeting and discuss about what they must do and Snowball and Napoleon act like the philarch in More's utopia. Utopian writers and also Old Major feel nostalgic for the past and yearn for the excellent future: Only get rid of Man. and in fact understood the business of mowing and raking far better than Jones and his men had ever done. it was the biggest harvest that the farm had . Almost overnight we could become rich and free. Jones was asleep. whom they referred to as 'Master'. which Old Major explained his dream for the animal. throughout the short remainder of your lives! And above all. for the harvest was an even bigger success than they had hoped. after Mr. Jones feeds us. that sooner or later justice will be done. Moreover. Jones. How they toiled and sweated to get the hay in! But their efforts were rewarded. to which they gave the name of Animalism. In the end they finished the harvest in two day's less time than it had usually taken Jones and his men. living off the products of the farm. as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet. If he were gone. What then must we do? Why. But the pigs were so clever that they could think of a way round every difficulty. Before Rebellion Snowball and Napoleon and Squealer prepared most of the work: These three had elaborated Old Major's teachings into a complete system of thought. teach and make them ready for the rebellion. Old Major aspires for a kind of land where everyone is free and equal. carrying tiny wisps of hay in their beaks. like the utopians of Sir Thomas More's. At the beginning they met with such stupidity and apathy. Fix your eyes on that. they held secret meetings in the barn and expounded the principles of Animalism to the other. and the pigs had great difficulty in making them see that this was contrary to the spirit of Animalism. He has a utopian vision. 14) Every writer of utopian literature suggests the principles and matters which do not exist around him and he yearns for them the same as Old Major does in Animal Farm. the implements had been designed for human beings and not for animals. they knew every inch of the field.

There was no wastage whatever. But it does not threaten citizens of Utopia where "there is plenty of everything and no reason to fear that anyone will claim more than he needs" (Utopia 42). But gradually this energetic and positive mood is disappeared after the Rebellion. the majority of the animals are neither free nor equal and they live in misery. This meeting ends with the singing the song. Snowball had found in the harness-room an old green tablecloth of Mrs. (28) More like other utopian writers emphasized on having the law or rules. They believe that because they have a utopian state. As it is seen throughout the novel Snowball and Napoleon give rules to the other animals and they obey even Napoleon's. (25-6) Although the harvest and other works of the farm were very difficult for animals. and they might have continued it all night if they had not been interrupted" (14). Above all. the hens and ducks with their sharp eyes had gathered up the very last stalk. The flag was green. On Sundays there was no work. Like the utopians they debate and consult about their society as More suggested in his Utopia that people discuss different things and then the philarch informs Archphilarch.” (Orwell 27) After the Rebellion. 42). 3. According to More "fear of want" threatens both individual and social security. and as their leader becomes more and more cruel and selfish. "walking very slowly and setting down their vast hairy hoofs with great care lest there should be some small animal in the straw" (6). good-natured and sympathetic relations between the animals: Boxer and Clover enter the meeting place. So the same thing happens in Animal Farm. "Beast of England" are optimistic. Later it is revealed that the pigs studied through the past three months and finally they succeeded in reducing the principles of Animalism to Seven Commandments. Jones's and had painted on it a hoof and a born in white. Breakfast there was a ceremony which was observed every week without fail. So at the end the Farm is the opposite of Major's optimistic dream. He insists that in order to have an ideal state every utopian people must obey these rules. Because every animal has enough food and they know that everything belongs to them not to human beings any longer. the quarrelling and biting and jealousy which had been normal features of life in the old days had almost disappeared. After the hoisting of the flag all the animals trooped into the big barn for a general assembly which was known the Meeting."(6) protects like a mother the brood of ducklings. Animals sing energetically "right through five times in succession. in which all . animals assemble meeting every Sunday. Change from Utopia to Dystopia in Animal Farm Animal Farm is a book which centers on the expectations of the animals of particular farm in order to have an ideal society. This was run up the flagstaff in the farmhouse garden every Sunday morning. because they see their own food that is produced by themselves is for themselves not for worthless parasitical human beings. Old Major's vision is a dream of a perfect world in which man has been eliminated. The movement from a utopian vision to dystopia reality in this novel is also an ironic reversal. The book opens in an optimistic mood: Old Major in his speech describes a simple. natural farm in which all the animals are free and equal. Here the work of the coming week was planned out and resolutions were put forward and debated. “Nobody stole. so there is no need for more laws.From Utopian Dream to Dystopian Reality: George Orwell’s Animal Farm a Case Study 103 ever seen. Clover. This mood is seen from the beginning of his speech. selfish rules because they do not want to destroy their utopia and see that Jones is back! But the animal's utopia like Sir Thomas More's utopia has very few laws. to represent the green fields of England. Snowball explained. when everyone knows there will never be any shortage?" (Robert M. In this regard Raphael inquires that: "Why anyone would be suspected of asking for more than is needed. the "stout motherly mare. as the difficulties of the animals become progressively worse. while the hoof and born signified the future Republic of the Animals which would arise when the human race had been finally overthrown. First came the hoisting of the flag. the dictator. Major's vision of the future and his song. but they were happy and satisfied. nobody grumbled over his rations.

"… the habit.that belong to Man and asks the animals to avoid these vices if this future free state is to be achieved. The reader. Indeed. instead there is a growing mood of despair and disappointment. Then there is another important meeting that Napoleon calls for it. After Napoleon takes control. The first meeting is an optimistic and energetic meeting which offer Utopian farm. of course. Napoleon suddenly calls his bodyguards (nine fierce dogs who are the puppies whom he has raised). “The utopian vision that begins the novel and the dystopian reality that end it are diametrically opposed. five times in succession). and they are enthusiastic about it. The next important meeting which occurs in chapter five is the assembly called to decide on the windmill. Later Squealer goes round the farm to justify Napoleon's behavior and emphasizes the importance of discipline. “they sang it three times over . while the animals themselves feel only a vague sense of loss and hopelessness. When they had finished it for the third times. This time." (the song they had sung joyfully at the earlier meeting. developed through long . it has been replaced by another. canceling the Sunday Meeting and telling the animals that the pigs would now be in control of all farm matter. Squealer with two dogs come and declared that Napoleon has abolished this song. First he pictures the unhappy lot of animals in England and then struggles that England could support many more animals and provide them a much more better life if it were not for men. In continue. their initial enthusiasm and the brightness of the vision keeps them plodding along even when the vision begins to slip away from them. "the dogs promptly tore the throat out'' (73) of the rebels. seeming to know in advance that some terrible thing was to happen" (72). And after trial Clover goes to hillside and recalls that first meeting: As Clover looked down the hillside her eyes filled with tears …. they instead talk and decide about what they must do next week but in the meeting "it was always the pigs who put forward the resolutions" (Orwell 25) and Snowball and Napoleon can never agree. This meeting is the opposite of the one called by Major. After the Rebellion on Sunday there is no work. The reader can see the situation becoming steadily more dystopian as the pigs take more and more power and privilege into their own hands and give less and less thought to the animals. can see in every new chapter how Animal Farm is moving away from that ideal.” (Allen et al 53) The first hint of dystopia is when the pigs secretly add the cows' milk to their own mash and Snowball assent to this first act of inequity. how precious rights and privileges are being abused. at which rebellious animals are. The animals begin to work toward the goal proposed by the dream. he describes many vices of Man and his cruelty to animals. in a way they had never sung it before" (76). After each confession. Old Major wants to free the animals from human rule. The meeting is a trial. and he tells them that he envisions a future happy time in which Man has been removed.the vices. (75) And then all the animals burst out into "Beasts of England. how miserable the situation has become for the animals. he immediately repeal all democratic running of the farm. And he warns that animals all the time must be careful not to listen to Man's false and misleading arguments if this future is to come to pass in some unspecified time. and understand. The whole book moves in a descending line from that initial scene. They all cowered silently in their places. Here it will be known that Napoleon from the beginning is only concerned what he is going to get out of new way of life. condemned and the trial sent shivers down the animals' spine. in which all animals are equal to one another. he then asks the animals to vote on whether the rats are brother and equal as to other animals. they chase Snowball from the Farm. After these scenes there is no return to the optimism of early scenes.very tunefully but slowly and mournfully. one by one. At the end he lists the things . These scenes of terror and slaughter were not what they had looked forward to on that night when old major had first stirred them to rebellion. In the middle of his speech. Reader can see. There is some protesting but this is immediately quashed by growling of the dogs.104 Bahareh Darvish and Mohammadreza Ghanbari Najjar animals are well-fed and comfortable. The details of the rest of the scene recall the details of Major's meeting. For the first time after the Rebellion this chase suggests the bloodshed. This meeting is the critical point in the change of mood: there is rivalry between Snowball and Napoleon. and to give the animals a comfortable standard of living.

no matter what happened. never criticizing. in the last scene of the book and the animals are not called to it. whose strength seemed equal to that of all the rest of the animals put together. . Animal Farm by the eminent writer George Orwell in order to study it in detail and find the answers to the questions which were the triggers for this study. Findings Considering Sir Thomas More as a humanist and his masterpiece Utopia and his idea of ideal state." The next is the rule "No animal shall kill any other animal. They were shaken and miserable. and the notion of dystopia presented by modern philosophers and novelists. The first Commandment that was "No animal shall sleep in a bed. "All animals are equal. The second scene takes place after the executions of the animals during Napoleon's trial: When it was all over. two legs bad. "…with sheets." when the pigs move into the house. the researchers depicted a modern masterpiece. this is added: "… without cause. it was theirs! In the ecstasy of that thought they gamboled round and round. The first occurs just after the successful revolution: A little way down the pasture there was a knoll that commanded a view of most of the farm." Then." is added: "…to excess." The pigs do not even bother to rewrite this Commandment on the wall.” (115) 4. "is changed when the pigs begin to walk on their hind legs: "Four legs good. overstrain himself but Boxer would never listen to her. and no developed through long years. (20-21) The scene expresses their pride and optimism in new society. when he braced his muscles against the weight of some vast boulder. they hurled themselves into the air in great leaps of excitement…. and with one accord they all lay down as though huddled together for warmth." The most chillingly ironic change of all is that made in the last chapter to the Commandment reading. The first two scenes taking place on a hill overlooking Animal Farm. (74) This perfectly balanced scene underlines the failure of their hopes and dreams of ideal society. Through the novel pigs change little by little the whole Commandment according to their benefits." The only one of the Seven Commandment which has not been broken and transformed by this time is the one reading "No animal shall wear clothes. The summary of the first two Commandments. The last assembly that occur. despite his failing health: Boxer worked harder than ever…. It was only his appearance that was a little altered…. (100) The once-powerful Boxer will soon fall. it seemed that nothing kept him on his feet except the will to continue. … Clover warned him sometimes to be careful not. the remaining animals…crept away in a body. and leather leggings.From Utopian Dream to Dystopian Reality: George Orwell’s Animal Farm a Case Study 105 years. Napoleon himself is appearing in a black coat ratcatcher breeches. Sometimes on the slope leading to the top of the quarry. never criticizing. of never complaining.In nothing that he did or said was there any sign that his strength was not what it had been. while his favorite sow appeared in the watered silk dress which Mrs." The new dictator pigs add: "…but some animals are more equal than others. "After Napoleon holds the trial and executes the animals." after the pigs taste the whiskey for the first time. This is a party between six most important pigs and neighboring humans. Jones had been used to wear on Sundays. There are a few scenes regarding Boxer which pictures how devotedly and whole heartedly he toils for the sake and welfare of his comrades: Nothing could have been achieved without Boxer. Yes. The animals rushed to the top of it and gazed round them in the clear morning light." (113) It is in this mood of despair and ignorance that the book ends. they add. of never complaining. “If did not seem strange… Not even when the pigs took Mr. "Four legs good. There are two pairs of scenes that can be considered as a hint for the change of the mood of the novel from utopia to dystopia. "No animal shall drink alcohol. Jones' clothes. to the rule. (54-5) This scene should be compared with the later scene in which Boxer continues the same way. …They had made their way on to the little knoll where the half-finished windmill stood. two legs better. never to regain his health.

Man finds himself responsible for. 1998. utopia is a place with important features such as justice. In his work More pictures an ideal place which is every ones desired place. Tom. Frank H. Davis. The utopia of Sir Thomas More. As the novel moves forward the utopian ideal promised by pigs little by little changes toward dystopia where animals find themselves in a worse condition than before. Utopias and Revolution. He also transferred this longing to his writings in order to satisfy his deep urges and passion for perpetual happiness. ed. Lasky. . planned a different garden and called it Utopia. New York: Cliffs Notes. 1945. trans. George. and Thompson. 1995. Holderness. Although the characters of the novel are animals we should not forget that the work is a fable. He thought that he got up from his nightmare but that was the plain truth. Black. New York: shocken Books.. Orwell: Animal Farm. et al. Longmans. Orwell. References [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] Adams. J. Because he could not fulfill his longing. Animal Farm. 2005. Utopia and its Enemies. Cambridge University Press. New Casebooks: George Orwell. Once he was an innocent optimist who sought an opportunity to amend all the injustices and follies. he has changed to an experienced pessimist who forecasts his dystopian hellish future. More like anyone else had the dream of utopia and also was influenced by the rising rationalism of his time. Rama Brothers India Pvt. Ltd. He got up from his sweet dream and faced the realities that surrounded him and were frightening and horrible. Redwood Burn Ltd. C.. Coles Notes. peace and equality has been with man from his exile from the Garden of Eden. Orwell's Animal Farm. By focusing on the elements of utopia in Animal Farm we can find a number of similarities between utopia and the promised land or farm pictured by pigs at the beginning of the novel. an Eden-like garden deprived from poverty and misery. Green and Co. Cotemporary critical Essays. George Orwell. security and peace. George. Robert M. Utopia and the Ideal Society.106 Bahareh Darvish and Mohammadreza Ghanbari Najjar According to More. Walter J. 1976. But now. Orwell confronts us with the reality of modern western society which in fact is opposite to that ideal utopia which is called dystopia. Utopia by Sir Thomas More.. on the Origions. Campbell. 1981. Graham. Melvin. L.W Norton and Compancy. Ltd. Macmillan: Macmillan Press. David Allen. Penguin Book. Mildred. Rev. New York: W. Kateb. 1981. 1963. Longing for an ideal place where there is justice. London: British Book Council. Being familiar with the ideal utopia. 1965. Hopkinson. and these characters resemble human beings.