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Animalism in Animal Farm

Animalism in Animal Farm

A thoughtful student contributed this essay so that it might help other students.

George Orwell’s classic, Animal Farm is about a group of oppressed animals on Manor Farm. The book takes the reader through the revolution of the animals. It tells of how the animals form a system of government, Animalism, on their new farm, Animal Farm. The animals try to form a government where everyone is dependent upon everyone else. The book conveys the message that no matter what laws and equality bind the citizens, corruption and power will seek to destroy that delicate balance. I believe that there is a similarity between the fictional Animalism, and the early form of Communism, called Marxism. In this essay, I will describe the main idea behind and similarities between Animalism and Marxism.

Karl Marx was born in the year 1818. He studied several different forms of government, searching for the key elements in their structures, including feudalism of medieval Europe, and capitalism. He fused the backbones of these two forms of government, and gave birth to early communism, which we call Marxism. The idea of Marxism is very complex. Stated as briefly as possible, it is the idea that the economy depends upon the production of the country. If all social classes are dropped, and very person instead works for rations, then there is no need for a large group of political leaders, for the country will basically be self-sufficient. Marx saw that the transition from capitalism to communism would occur after a revolution and require the brief rule of a dictator. After the government was establish…

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…e’s worth. Though there are still social classes, every human being counts as one vote, and only one. There is no oppression by the government, because the people elect their government officials. Orwell clearly states what he thinks of Marxists in his final line of Animal Farm: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”1

1 chapter10 of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm pg. 140


1. Andrews, William G., The Land and the People of the Soviet Union, “Marxism”, Pg.6-8, Harper Collins Publishers, NYC, 1991

2. Laqueur, Walter, Stalin; The Galnost Revelations, Charles Scribner’s Sons Macmillan Publishing Company, NYC, 1990

3. Unger, Howard, “Animalism vs. Marxism”,

Grass Symbols and Symbolism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Grass Symbolism in Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the very first observation that the narrator Marlow makes about his African experiences is that when he came upon the remains of his predecessor, Fresleven, “the grass growing through his ribs was tall enough to hide his bones.”[1] This juxtaposition of grass and mortal remains may remind many readers of several powerful scriptural images of mortality and the vanity of earthly endeavor–for instance

All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth away.[2]

Marlow’s striking image resonates not only with these scriptural connotations, but also with suggestions of the paradoxical natural vitality of the grass growing through the bones, and with overtones of moral judgment for the culpable neglect of Fresleven’s remains by his survivors.

Images of death are associated with grass repeatedly in Heart of Darkness. Long grass half conceals but ultimately reveals the bodies of dead carders, still in harness, in final repose beside the paths on which they labored (23). When Marlow’s native helmsman is killed, Marlow says that the dead body is “heavier than any man on earth,” yet when Marlow tips it over the side, it is swept back in the current “like a wisp of grass” (51). Here, if not earlier, a reader may realize that Conrad is combining images of death and grass systematically.

This motif is carried forward in two more strands. First, grass is associated with impermanence and futility in a series of increasingly intense images of material things, beginning with the almost comic picture of “wallowing in the grass” at the Lower Station, more like…

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… inhere in all humanity, civilized or not.

The full force of this motif may be seen, on reflection, in only the second image of grass in Marlow’s narrative. Immediately after describing the grass growing through Fresleven’s ribs, Marlow remembers visiting the sepulchral city where, on a silent and deserted street, in the dark shadows cast by tall buildings, he notices, improbably, “grass sprouting between the stones” (13) and then enters the offices of the trading company to begin a journey that does not end, not even at the end of Kurtz’s broad trail through the grass wet with dew and sparkling in the starlit darkness.


1. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, ed. Robert Kimbrough, 3rd ed. (New York: Norton, 1988). The description of Fresleven’s remains is on page 13.

2. 1 Peter 1:21. See also Psalm 90:5-6 and Isaiah 40:6 and 8.

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