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Animal Farm and A Modest Proposal

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Dryden statement that “The boldest way to tell men freely of their foulest faults; to laugh at their vain deeds and vainer thoughts. ” provides a key insight into why writers use parody and satire. Across different generations and various social contexts authors have exploited the conventions of humour to expose injustice and promote a more pertained truth by mocking and imitating the thing they wish to criticise. In this essay I will be comparing “Animal farm” by George Orwell and “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift. Both of these texts relate to what Dryden said and are written in prose but are very different in style and context.

However they have in common the significant use of satire to express views about their societies. Satire is the use of ridicule, irony or sarcasm in speech or writing. It ridicules peoples hypocrisy or foolishness in this way often by parody. The writers of these two pieces of text can be called satirists. The satirist may use different forms of literature in prose or verse. But for the satirist some particular techniques are necessary to achieve his aim. Satire is of one the ways that the reaction or perception of life is expressed. “A Modest Proposal” was written by Jonathan Swift in 1729.

An Irish man born in 1667, seven months after his father’s death, Swift had a difficult life. He was a clergyman wanting to become Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. He was also interested in politics, which became a fascination for him. At the time Swift wrote ‘A Modest Proposal’ the fact he could read and write alone was a rarity and showed his stature and importance well. He was concerned about the relationship between Ireland and England. The English had taken control of Ireland and the potato famine had struck in the nation.

Swift did his best to help his people in his care, but also he liked to write pamphlets to influence people’s political views and to suggest answers to these problems. He did start to influence some people with his early writings but when he wrote ‘A Modest Proposal’ he was full of anger and despair at the failure of the nations leaders to tackle poverty. Some took Swifts literal meaning when he wrote about the Irish turning into cannibals; others saw the use of satire. This makes it an indirect approach to ridicule the English, in this case the desired victim.

Swift targeted this piece of text to the more important people and the people in politics and was trying to change the relationship between Ireland and England. The other piece of text is ‘Animal Farm’ which was written by George Orwell who was born in India in 1903. Orwell’s father was an official in the Indian Civil Service and throughout Orwell’s childhood he felt very isolated, a factor that later influenced his writing. In 1911 he was sent to boarding school on the Sussex coast where he was distinguished by his poverty and intelligence.

Orwell got a scholarship for Eton and stayed there from 1917 to 1921, and here published his first writing in college periodicals. He then went on to be an Imperial servant at Burma in 1922, serving in many countries but still had a desire to become a writer. In 1927 Orwell retired as an Imperial servant and chose to live among the poor. During World War 2 he served in the Home Guard due to illness and here he increased his journalistic output and his writing became progressively more anti-communist and also patriotic. Animal Farm” was written to make the Russians look like fools and to expose the tyranny of the Stalinist regime. It is a satire on the Russian revolution and is a novel full of symbolism. Through animal satire, Orwell attacks on the Stalin’s practices in Russia. Orwell bases his characters on real people. The pigs are seen as exploiters, the horses as labourers, the dogs as police and the sheep as blind followers. Animal Farm uses satire to show mans hope for Utopia in the way of using communism.

Orwell makes serious points about politics and uses wit angrily to attack cruelly and injustice, this is to try and change people’s minds. One way in which Animal Farm tries to make comparisons with the government and politics is by making rules. For example I have found a quote where Murial reads the writing on the barn wall to Clover; “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause. ” In most of the humorous moments in Animal Farm there is an element of cruelty or fear that reflects in the reader’s laughter. Orwell had these political views because of the way Russia had turned from communist into a dictatorship.

The people of Britain were disgusted at what Orwell had wrote because Britain’s relationship with Russia at the time was very good as they were allied in fighting nazism, and could be compared to Britain’s relationship with USA today and because of this it took several attempts to actually get Animal Farm published. Animal Farm uses the language of propaganda in a political way. With this political language Orwell makes lies sound truthful.

Here is an example of where this political language is used and how it compares to real politics, in this extract Squealer consoles the animals; Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure. On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be”. The reader can see the concern for the language in the simplicity of the sentence construction. Also from this quote you can see how Orwell uses Irony in “Animal Farm” Orwell pays lots of attention to style.

Firstly he tries to invent images to make the story clearer and easier to understand. He also puts constructs complex sentences to show the manipulation of information and also to keep the reader interested and hooked. It could be argued that Orwell’s writing directly descends from that of Swift’s simple, straightforward and concise. The format of ‘Animal Farm’ consists of very little dialogue, it is written in story form similar to a children’s storybook or fable with a lot of information condensed into a few words. Orwell makes a statement and leaves it.

Swift tries to manipulate the reader by telling the reader how he had these amazing thoughts and ideas of how to solve poverty in Ireland. It says, “There will remain a hundred and seventy thousand breeders. ” This is an example of how he uses figures as a way of manipulation. Swift uses syllogism in his proposal. He turns argument upside down to state the following “If starving children are killed at one year old. The children can help to feed the state. ” By the end of his proposal he states starving children can benefit the state. Swifts writing style was influenced by the culture, lifestyles and beliefs during his time.

Swift was influenced by the on going problems between Ireland and England in the 1700’s. Swift likes to make his points in ‘A Modest Proposal’ and isn’t afraid to include things that may shock the reader or maybe even offend some. I have found an example, which may shock some people as he is inferring that people will eat children “Infants’ flesh will be in season throughout the year…. ” Another quote in which you can see that Swift wants to make a clear point and that the style he is writing in is to get his points through to people comes from the very start in the introduction where he writes about the reason for the proposal, For Preventing the Children of poor People in Ireland, from being a Burden to their Parents or Country; and for making them beneficial to the Public. ”

Both Animal Farm and A Modest Proposal are pieces of text that are trying to make a point and put the authors views to the reader. Both readers are writing about serious ideas but are mocking the people who don’t make the ideas work and this is what makes both texts humorous. They are both satirical pieces of text. Animal farm makes the reader feel sorry for the weaker animals.

An example of where the reader can feel sorry for an animal is when Orwell shows Boxers emotional sides when he shows remorse for killing a man during one of the attacks. The reader wants the sheep, dogs, horses etc to be equal and when the pigs take control the reader feels angry and want the pigs to be punished. Animal farm reflects the views of the Russian revolution and this means the reader can relate to it very easily and can see the basic story line very easily. This book will help the reader realise about justice and fairness, it may help them see things that are happening in the world that are unfair which they didn’t see before.

Animal Farm might leave a kind of pessimism on readers who have knowledge of historical background that inspired Orwell to write it. For instance, one possible pessimistic view that can be derived from Animal Farm is the impossibility of establishing a social system in which there would be no inequality between individuals and there would be no individuals or groups of people who apt to make use of power just for their benefits. This book will make the reader laugh because of its satire but also give him/her an insight on politics and the Russian revolution.

I feel that the events depicted in Animal Farm reflect people’s views on fair rights and people being equal. It helped me understand more about what the Russian Revolution was about. I can see the satire used in Animal Farm in the way Orwell talks about the “Russian Revolution” and see how he based numerous characters on real people. A modest proposal was written to impact upon the reader, it is written to shock the reader. In this piece of text Swift talks about cannibalism and to be more precise eating young babies.

This immediately would shock the reader and may even put some people off the idea of reading it if they have heard that. This piece of text made me think about how badly treated the Irish were but although the text was on a serious subject, Swift managed to include some satirical moments which did make it less. This piece of text may have an emotional impact on the reader. This is because firstly the reader may have an Irish background and may be able to relate exactly to what Swift is talking about because some of their ancestors may have been in the same position.

Also another reason may just be that the thought of what Swift writes about is a thought you would not want to and to think about resorting to cannibalism and eating young children, the situation at the time must have been bad. But despite this Swift still has a satirical side, which he keeps in the text. Particularly evident at the end of “A Modest Proposal” when the tone changes to accusation and Swifts real intention is revealed. The impact of satire is a very great one in both ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘a Modest Proposal’.

I think that without it the texts would not appeal to the younger readers, as they may not find the topic very interesting. But with the added satire the younger reader will not mind if the historical and social circumstances have changed from each book. The satire kind of makes the reader feel a bit more at ease reading the two pieces of text and not make them feel two sad or depressed about the main topics being talked about. I think that “A Modest Proposal” contains more satire and the piece of text is basically is one giant, metaphorical irony.

Now I have considered both texts in this essay I can now link back to the quotation used in the title – “The boldest way to tell men freely of their foulest faults; to laugh at their vain deeds and vainer thoughts. ” After studying the two texts I now realise what exactly Dryden meant and I agree with what he says. Both “Animal Farm” and “A Modest Proposal” use satire to mock and basically expose; in “Animal Farm”, Stalin and his practices in Russia, and in “A Modest Proposal”, the English and rich Irish Protestants. Both pieces of text are dealing with foul faults, which the authors disagree with and make people look like fools as a result.

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