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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Animal Farm-Stasi

Web source reworked by Selkis

Some fantasy elements, in the broadest sense, can be found in George Orwell's Animal Farm, starting from the subtitle: "A fairy story." The wittiest fantasy episode is possibly in ch. 7, when the regime's ideology succeeds in convincing the animals that the cause of all their troubles is the 'treacherous' pig Snowball, to the extent that he is even likened to a . . .  vampire: "The cows declared unanimously that Snowball crept into their stalls and milked them in their sleep."
In ch. 8, the Leader Napoleon's trumpeter appears, and it is a "black cockerel," a beast often associated to the devil in the Middle Ages. A demonic reference possibly surfaced already in ch. 5, when "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," which recalls William Golding's Lord of the Flies, that is etymologically "Beelzebub," published a decade later.
When the horse Boxer was seriously injured, the mare "Clover treated the hoof with poultices of herbs which she prepared by chewing them," like a witch, or more precisely, a traditional she-healer.
The final pages, showing the ruling pigs who walk on their hind legs, and eventually change their snouts into human faces, overturns the whole literary history of metamorphoses, from Ovid and Apuleius to Dante, to Kafka and CS Lewis, while echoing EG Wells' Island of Dr. Moreau.