Animal Farm book by George Orwell

by Kyla Camille, |

“You see that’s what I think is such a terrible, terrible betrayal, the trust that people have in government.” – Ralph Steadman

If there is one word that was invisibly written all over the book for a million times, it would be spelled as b-e-t-r-a-y-a-l. The working animals of the farm were too consumed by the promise of Napoleon and his company that they barely noticed the deep hole of treachery they were being pushed into. Commandments were put up, a national anthem was taught, a rebellion was being talked upon, and the whole “Animal Farm” was in complete ecstasy. Their claim for victory over man was a success, but it did not strike me as much to not sense a strange and malicious power being built behind and underneath the farm.

Napoleon and Snowball, being the superior and best educated among the animals for their cleverness, dominated the farm. When someone calls out for an explanation, Squealer will always be able to cover them up and persuade the working animals to rethink what they know. If I were to relate this to the present time, pigs represent the government, while Squealer is equivalent to a big body of media. In terms of pigs as the government, they are very similar in the way they control the farm and the country. They blind the working class with false hopes and promises to keep them doing their jobs well. Even when they are doubted by nonbelievers because of the ironies that they show (such as saying that killing their own kind is not allowed but they do it when somebody is a threat to them), they still manage to be on their feet because of Squealer, or the media. It is very easy for media to reach a wide number of audience. Media is also very influential, to the point that like Squealer, they can make the “working animals” think differently from their first personal opinions.

I can compare Snowball to a highly respected profile in the government. This is a kind of person who is a threat to another powerful man. Snowball, in the Philippines, may represent our former president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She is now held in custody for several charges, just like how Snowball was thrown out of the farm for “misleading” the animals. Everybody sees both of them as causes of all the unfortunate events and points at them whenever something else fails. In one angle, Snowball may also represent Ninoy Aquino, who was also very intellectual and respected. Ninoy Aquino was shot dead and the public blames Marcos for his death, saying that their political competition is what killed Ninoy.

Looking through the current issues in the Philippines, I see Alan Purisima as our modern Napoleon. Being able to graduate from a private university, Manuel L. Quezon University, he proves to have enough education to be a decent police officer. Although he has been in his position for several years now, he is questioned and under investigation for the lavish lifestyle that he is living, just like Napoleon. Purisima calmly explains that he is just an ordinary man who has a simple living and he convinces the public that he is a man with honor who only wants to serve the public, just like what Napoleon did. It’s funny that at this aspect, PNoy becomes like Squealer who defends the one on the hot seat.

Some of our police officers may be the dogs in Animal Farm. They are trained to defend their master even if he is the king of hypocrisy. They are on leash like dogs, and will only growl at the opponents of their leader instead of speaking like educated human beings. In the present time, corruption and vote buying are prevalent and known, but most of the officials play blind. Even when the dogs know that they are supporting inequality and injustice, they are still up for the “fetch” with hope of getting extra “dog biscuits”.

Boxer represents the hardworking employees of the Philippines who do not get anything good in return from the government. Like Boxer, who keeps in mind that Napoleon is always right and that he needs to work harder every day, it is a saddening truth that there are actually employed citizens in the country who are still giving the government the benefit of the doubt. For example, the MRT station nowadays is usually under repair. Most of the time, MRTs are jam-packed and do not offer a pretty comfortable ride for the commuters. A lot of the passengers are employees who pay taxes to theDoesn’t the government owe them at least a safe and convenient ride? They work hard enough and pay what is due but all they get in return is an overcrowded train and a disorganized system. Why is “Napoleon” not doing anything about it? Instead of fixing what is needed, he only points out what has changed over time.

The sheep are the unskilled workers or the less fortunate population of the Philippines who still believes that Napoleon is an upright leader, as they repeat “Four legs good, two legs bad.” In our country, a perfect example to show that some of our countrymen are acting like sheep is when they still let Erap win as mayor even after being betrayed by him a few years ago. I’m guessing that people allow themselves to be fooled and they refuse to remember. As long as they believe in his saying “Four legs good, two legs bad”, or may be translated as “Erap para sa mahirap”, they will always convince themselves and the people around them that “Napoleon” is always right.

Muriel simply embodies a highly educated and decent person who doesn’t want to be in politics. I learned from Rizal SPT class that when you are aware of your capability in becoming a leader, you should involve yourself in politics. If you do not, it is your loss because of letting an inferior man rule over you. Mollie, on the other hand, personifies the hardheaded residents who do not support change. The best example that I could think of is the repeating scenario wherein residents are being asked to relocate or evacuate for their safety, but they choose not to because of wanting to hold on to the lives that they’re used to. What they get in return for going against the government is wretchedness, just like Mollie.

I see Moses as a representation of religion. For every time a person listens to his belief, a light of hope sparks inside him. The “government” in Animal Farm hated Moses for making them believe in the Sugarcandy Mountain. In reality, the state and church are never simpatico since they both believe in different things.

I say that George Orwell wrote the book very well since he used words that are easy to understand even if he is actually tackling a very serious issue about how the government runs. It is not a hidden truth anymore that most of the time, too much power creates corrupt leaders. I have never been rooting for PNoy to be the start of a change in the system of the Philippines, but I do believe that there is always a chance. I don’t think that the Philippines needs “Rebellion”. Please, we’ve done it a hundred times. What we need is a farm run by a goat, not by a pig. Muriel, maybe?