Bit and Spur Shall Rust Forever: Hollow Symbols in George Orwell ‘s Animal Farm
George Orwell ‘s political fable Animal Farm portrays a re-enactment of the Russian Revolution, with major characters cast as farm animate beings and communism renamed “ Animalism. ” True to the historical narrative, the blue participants manipulate the labor, deceiving them with semblances of self-respect and improved life conditions, while masterfully keeping all of the power for themselves. Once Napoleon seizes control, he carefully dismantles the Animalistic system Old Major had preached by easy changing the common symbols of freedom and loyal expressions, and establishes a oblique authorities at least every bit unfair as its precursor in its topographic point. The meat of Animalism decays as Marxism did, ensuing in a system of coveted form missing desired thought, grossly symbolized in the undermentioned transition by Old Major ‘s remains:
The skull of old Major, now clean of flesh, had been disinterred from the grove and put up on a stump at the pes of the Flagstaff, behind the gun. After the hoisting of the flag, the animate beings were required to register past the skull in a reverent mode before come ining the barn. – ( Animal Farm, 46-47 )
Orwell uses symbols in footings of hollowness throughout Animal Farm to portray the empty promises behind false forepart the hogs put up, and in bend the calamity of the animate beings observing their ain death. In add-on to the skull, Orwell besides “ hollows out ” the significances of the Manor Farm flag and the farm anthem to demo the sad autumn of the Utopian farm.
Once Napoleon chases off Snowball and reconstructs Animal Farm, he imposes many new processs, among them the revamping of Sunday meetings. Rather than run intoing to be after out the hebdomad ‘s work, the animate beings are given orders. They besides have to idolize the rotten skull of Old Major, which vividly symbolizes the foolishness of the animate beings under Napoleon ‘s regulation. It expresses their ignorance in the most in writing manner possible: the fear of a hollow idealism. Major ‘s caput represents Animalism, the merchandise of his head. The skull represents the frame of Animalism and his encephalons the theory behind it, since the skull supports the caput and the encephalons form the footing of idea. The frame of Animalism is the revolution, new societal construction and everything else required to back up the theory, for the theory entirely can non steer a society.
The asleep caput the animate beings worshipped contains a skull frame, but the encephalons and flesh have decayed. Therefore, the animate beings worshipped the revolution and new societal construction without recognizing that the theory, or spirit, of the motion have been abandoned by their new leader, Napoleon. They celebrate their state of affairs without recognizing that the societal ends they fought for are bit by bit vanishing under their new swayer. Their ideal is in fact dead as the caput of its conceiver.
A close analysis of the transition supports this reading. The phrase “ clean of flesh ” serves as a euphemism for the gross province of the skull. This elegant phrasing hides the disgust of the object from the reader, as the propaganda issued by Squealer the hog hides the disgust of Napoleon ‘s maltreatment of the Animalistic system from the animate beings. Furthermore, the skull has moved from the grove to a tree stump. Like the skull, the province of the Animalistic society moves from a productive, turning place to a dead topographic point, thanks to the corrupt Napoleon. Finally, the skull now resides by and associates with the range pole, a vehicle for propaganda and another symbol that is emptied, or “ hollowed out ” to demo the ruin of Animal Farm.
Snowball introduces the green flag hoisted up the range pole to observe Animal Farm ‘s success each hebdomad. Its colour “ represent [ s ] the green Fieldss of England, while [ its ] hoof and horn signif [ Y ] the future Republic of Animals. ” ( 24 ) Its original significance is lost when Napoleon removes the hoof and horn as one of his concluding Acts of the Apostless in the work. As the now-humane swine strips the flag of its animalian characteristics, it excessively becomes a hollow representation of its ideal: while intending to typify the future laterality of animate beings, it alternatively ends up typifying their subjugation. By this point, the hogs have abandoned their front legs as they have abandoned their old life style, bewraying the original farm commandment “ whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy ” ( 19 ) . By taking the hoof, the carnal leg marker, from the flag, the hogs take their carnal legs from the land, go forthing the remainder of the farm with a ruling symbol of their treachery. An image of an English field moving ridges above the farm, instead than an image of the animate beings suppressing an English field. The animate beings do non recognize that the flag becomes devoid of proper significance, merely as they did non recognize that the Animalistic facade as established by Napoleon was devoid of proper significance. They continue to pattern the tradition of lifting the flag, once more observing a symbol of their ain death.
After explicating his Utopian dream to the animate beings, Old Major sings the rallying melody “ Animals of England ” to them, stirring up their emotions with the about charming anthem about the inevitable freedom they shall bask:
Ringss shall disappear from our olfactory organs,
And the harness from our dorsum,
Bit and spur shall corrode everlastingly,
Cruel whips no more shall check.
– ( Animal Farm, 9 )
The vocal Tells of a hereafter where the objects that enslave them, such as the spot and goad, will non touch them. This vocal becomes the anthem of the farm and opens Sunday meetings. The animate beings are “ taken aback ” ( 72 ) when Napoleon outlaws it on history of it losing relevancy to their society. He claims that it should be abolished since it strives for an ideal that has already been reached. Its replacing, “ Animal Farm, Animal Farm / Never through me shalt thou come to harm ” ( 73 ) , gives a message with seize with teething sarcasm that is lost on the animate beings instead than an optimistic 1. The animate beings are led to sing that Animal Farm shall ne’er harm them, but the phrasing suggests a concealed 2nd significance. The hogs claim that the animate beings shall ne’er harm them “ through ” Animal Farm ; in other words, the Animal Farm ‘s pleasant visual aspect prevents the topics from protesting, so the farm itself shields the swayers. Again, the animate beings engage in a process, singing at the start of each Sunday meeting, which loses its original significance to the custodies of Napoleon ‘s reign, while retaining some gloss of its original signifier similar plenty non to give the secret plan off.
The sarcasm of the animate beings idolizing the symbols of their ain death runs throughout Animal Farm, doing a affecting poke on this society based around a false idealism. While the “ spot and goads ” may corrode everlastingly, the political ironss administered by the hogs grip the animate beings more tightly, as they are led to observe their ain calamity.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Penguin Group, 1996.