Animals Are Good Metaphors In Literature (Examples From Animals Are Good Metaphors In Literature (Examples From Animal Farm And Gulliver's Travels) Because we consider ourselves to be better or higher life forms than animals (especially pigs) showing them to be the same as or better than us is a good satirical tool for exposing human folly or for showing human behavior to be anomalistic. In animal farm George Orwell uses animals to represent specific people and also uses the tribulations of the animal society as a metaphor for the Russian revolution. Animals that are considered noble (such as horses) can also be used to proved lessons on how humans should behave. In Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift does the opposite, using a society of horses as a metaphor for idyllic morals, values, and as a lesson on how we, as people, should live our lives.
A number of the characters from the book Animal Farm by George Orwell represent actual historical figures from the time of the Russian revolution or represent the behaviors of various types or classes of people during this event. Orwell's book shows that animals in literature successfully represent people and therefore function as good metaphors. Mr. Jones symbolizes (in addition to the evils of capitalism) Czar Nicholas II, the leader of Russia before Stalin (Napoleon). Jones represents the old government, the last of the Czars. Orwell writes that "On a Midsummer's eve, which was Saturday, Mr.
Jones went into Willing don and got so drunk at the Red Lion that he did not come back till midday on Sunday. The men had milked the cows in the early morning and then gone out rabbiting, without bothering to feed the animals. When Mr. Jones got back he immediately went to sleep' (Orwell 17), within this quote Orwell shows how Jones runs the farm solely for profit without consideration for the animals condition. Czar Nicholas II treated the people within his country the same way Jones treated his animals, the Czar like Jones did not care for his people (in Jones' case animals) and only used them in order to improver as for himself. Old Major is the first major character described by Orwell in Animal Farm.
This "purebred' of pigs is the kind, grand fatherly philosopher of change an obvious metaphor for Karl Marx. Old Major says "And remember comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others.
It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle, All men are enemies. All animals are comrades' (Orwell 10).
In this quote Orwell is making the connection between Karl Marx (the inventor of communism) and Old Major by having Old Major express the basis of Marx's Communist ideas. Moses represents Orwell's view of the Church. Orwell uses Moses to criticize Marx's belief that the Church will just go away after the rebellion. Jones first used Moses to keep the animals working, and he was successful in many ways before the rebellion.
The pigs had great difficulty getting rid of Moses. "Moses, who was Mr. Jones's especial pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died.
It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges. The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place.' (Orwell 15-16). This is similar to the difficulty communist leaders had ridding Russia of the church. George Orwell's Animal Farm is a political satire of a totalitarian society ruled by a mighty dictatorship, an allegory using animals as a metaphor for the events surrounding the Russian Revolution of 1917.
At the beginning of the book the prize white boar, Major points out to the assembled animals that no animal in England is free. He further explains that the products of their labor is stolen by man, who alone benefits. Man, in turn, gives back to the animals the bare minimum which will keep them from starvation while he profits from the rest. Man representing the aristocracy of Russia. The old boar tells them that the source of all their problems is man, and that they must remove man from their midst to abolish tyranny and hunger. Under the leadership of the pigs, the most intelligent of the animals, they rebel against their human master managing to overthrow him.
After the rebellion, under the direction of Napoleon, the most outspoken pig, and Snowball, the most eloquent pig, the animals continue to work the farm successfully. This also happens in the Russian revolution, it is reminiscent of when Czar Nicholas II is overthrown and Stalin takes over rule of Russia. The animals' laws stated that they shall never become like humans; cruel and manipulative. They shall not wear clothing nor sleep in beds.
Most importantly, they are to respect one another's equality and killing another animal is strictly forbidden (all ideals of communism in Russia). Then, as with communism, things started going downhill. The pigs as leaders took bigger food rations for themselves justifying their behavior as something necessary for the "brains' of their animal society. At this point it became apparent that the pigs would abuse their positions and power in this animal society. Napoleon moves into Mr. Jones' house, sleeps in his bed, and even wears his clothes.
In order to make his actions appear legal, he arranged for the law had to be interpreted differently. In defiance of the original laws, Napoleon befriended Mr. Pilkington, the human owner of a nearby farm. The book ends with the pigs sitting at a table, eating with humans.
Napoleon announces to those around the table that the name "Manor Farm' will be reinstated. The humans and pigs converse while the other animals outside look on. They, the lowly creatures according to the pigs and humans, look from pig to man and from man to pig, unable to differentiate between the species. This section of the plot also follows events surrounding the revolution.
It compares to the end of the Russian revolution when the social conditions had reverted to being the same as or worse than when Czar Nicholas II was in power. The pigs make an excellent metaphor for the communist politicians because the are considered dirty, gluttonous animals. In Gulliver's Travels, during Gulliver's last adventure he visits a country inhabited by the Houyhnhnms, a society of horses. Gulliver finds much to admire in this society.
The horses were not materialistic, they were peaceful, open, honest, and egalitarian. They were shocked by Gulliver's stories about human society. The horses didn't understand and were disgusted by human government, law, materialism, and lying. According to the Houyhnhnm,' The use of speech was to make us understand one another, and to receive information of facts; now if anyone said the thing which was not, these ends were defeated' (Swift 195). This quote shows that the horses not only did not understand the faculty of lying, they did not even have a word for it. Throughout Gulliver's adventure with the horses, Gulliver realizes that humans perfectly resemble the society of "yahoos' in the horses country by discussing the way humans live and act and having the horses relate that to the yahoos.
Bye the time Gulliver leaves the Houyhnhnms, he agrees with them. Gulliver says that "When I thought of my Family, my Friends, my Countrymen, or human race in general, I considered them as they really were, Yahoos in Shape and Disposition' (Swift 227). Swift's choice of the horse is an apt metaphor for ideal morals and values because the horse is considered a noble animal. This is unlike Orwell's pigs which were used to portray the worst in human nature. As the preceding paragraphs have shown that animals can function as effective metaphors in literature. They can be used to show the bad points of humanity as demonstrated by the pigs in animal farm.
Pigs are an apt metaphor for the underside of human nature because they are generally considered dirty and gluttonous. Animals can also be used to show us ideal morals and values for which we should strive as did the horses in Gulliver's Travels. Horses are a good choice as a metaphor for model human behavior because they are considered to be a noble animal. I believe that both of the above uses of animals as metaphors in literature are effective because they successfully teach us lessons on how to live and how not to live. Works Cited Orwell, George. Animal Farm.
Norwich: Fletcher and Son Ltd, 1945. Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels. New York: Random House Inc.