Brave new world is a book categorized under the Utopian literature genre. Utopia is generally a society imagined to contain conducive and necessary conditions without the common evils like pain, hatred and neglect. Aldous Huxley writes the book in anticipation of what will exist in the society six hundred years to come. The Animal farm, on the other hand, is a book mainly full of allegory in which farm animals play a major role in exposing the evils in the Russian society. The two books are characterized by several thematic similarities with totalitarianism and propaganda starting the list.
Totalitarianism is basically the excessive use of power by those in authority to control, in an oppressive way, their subjects. Totalitarian leaders normally do not seek consultation before their abrupt actions. They do believe that whatever they say or do should be accepted by the subjects whether it is bad or good. The subjects do not have a say in the management or governing of their societies. Dictatorship and tyranny are synonyms of the word. Propaganda on the other hand, refers to the information being spread by certain individuals in order to attain their goals which are mainly self-based. It is normally applied in the political arena. The following paragraphs illustrate the comparisons of the two themes in reference to the two books.
In the Brave New World, Huxley reveals the use of scientific intellectuality by those in authority to control other citizens tyrannically. Normally, tyranny is practiced by politicians through war, crime or poverty but in this case, it is another unique method of oppressing the innocent people. Stratification of society through castes, predestined genetically with top dogs being the superior intellects, Alphas having full control over other genetically challenged human species. In chapter two one of the scientists tells the other as they make Alpha, “Now turn them so that they can see flowers and books.” The Servile, intentionally brain-damaged Deltas, Gammas and Epsilons are left toiling at the bottom and submit to the Alphas with no single objection or complaint allowed. When one of the scientists is asked by Mr. Foster on what he was doing on the cloned babies in tubes, he replies, “Oh the usual typhoid and sleeping sickness”(Chapter two). Tommy, a result of beta clone is intellectually challenged and cannot even remember simple things he had been taught even after his teacher reminds him. When asked about the longest river in Africa he does not remember even after being reminded by his teacher. “Then which is the longest river Tommy?” Tommy bursts into tears, “I don’t know.”
It is only in this world where history is not allowed to be read, taught, published or exposed to the public in any way. There is no historical dynamic. History is considered to be a bunk. It creates curiosity among the citizens to start doing some unnecessary comparisons with the current systems. This, of course, will be threatening to the current ruling authorities. In such world, there is no creativity of new ideas or in-depth feeling. Suppression of individuality is a common practice. Any form of intellectual discovery and excitement had been banned. Cloning scientists have taken control over this society; the clones are bottled and standardized from the existing hatchery. They then underwent conditioning, indoctrination and even brainwashing during their sleep. In this world, the Utopians are not allowed to learn new things or they are simply denied education which can make them value their thinking and human reasoning. The top men in this world believe in an equation that happiness is definitely the same as equality. To them, people should be happy irrespective of their class in the society for them to look equal to others who are genetically superior. This is an ill notion in this world. Naturally, happiness does not come without one’s freedom of expression. This renders this world one that will appear the unique among others.
Tyranny in the book is also portrayed when one of the characters, Bernard is being sent to exile in Iceland. He is not happy about this but Mustapha Mond, a controller obliquely sees the advantage Bernard has. To Mond, being sent to Iceland is better off than staying in the Brave New World. In Iceland, he would be able to meet people from other walks of life. People who have been free to their nations, people who came into existence from the normal natural process, he would be able to express his opinions like a human being. This shows the kind of lifestyle existing in the new world; world full of scientific clones. People in the new world do not worship God; they worship another human, Henry Ford’s spirit, the same spirit being worshipped by the leaders.
Animal Farm, a novel mainly with Russian settings, is also characterized by use of excessive powers by the authorities to control the subjects. However, in this case, Orwell has used animals to represent individuals of different characters in the society. Napoleon is the head of the government in the animal kingdom while Squealer (a pig) is the messenger as well as an inciter of the other animals. He informs them of any message from Napoleon. This way, Napoleon maximizes his dictatorship rules in the entire animal kingdom. It is seen that before chapter eight, Orwell had a close association with the animals and he would give his orders directly to them. However, all the orders were now given out through his messenger, Squealer or he would pick one of the remaining pigs to give out the orders as he wished. Squealer’s job is to inform the animals of the government decisions concerning different aspects such as labor distribution as well as food provision. He asserts that only publications run by the government can provide quality and accurate facts concerning various affairs like political and economic ones.
Unlimited use of power is portrayed by Napoleon when he explains to the animals the expulsion of Snowball, one of his enemies in the ruling of the animal kingdom. The two disagree over all the current political issues in the region. Snowball is later exiled from the animal farm. Napoleon through his messenger, Squealer, threatens, slander and manipulates his rival several times. An example is in chapter five, Squealer says, “Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball with his unexpected banishment”. Such a remark shows an extreme level of hatred by the messenger as well as the master. When one of the animals defends Snowball with the evidence from his enormous contribution at the Battle of Cowshed, Squealer is not ready to appreciate but he says that Snowball’s contribution in the battle was highly exaggerated. He says that it was just a little contribution just like anyone in the crowd did during the battle.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, this book employs allegory at its maximum level. The pigs represent the general Russian society. Squealer represents Pravda, Russian newspaper which is controlled by the tyrannical government. It is the government which defines what is there in the Pravda newspaper. Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, one of the most dictators Russia have ever had. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, Stalin’s most challenging political opponent. Stalin manipulates him and ensures that the public are by his side by the use of his messenger.
The two books also display societies where political propaganda is a tool, used by the leaders, to attract more attention and support from the public. In George Orwell’s book, the Animal Farm, propaganda is mainly fueled by the Pravda represented by the Squealer. It was used in chapter three to deceive, threaten and keep the people ignorant of anything that were happening around them. This would ensure that they don’t complain of anything thus allowing maximum exercise of power, not taking the societal needs into consideration. Squealer’s cunning and manipulative nature is appropriate for him in the deception of other animals. In chapter three, he was sent by Napoleon to tell the animals something on the uneven distribution of milk and apples. He goes and tells them, ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege.’ He goes ahead and says that milk and apple, as proved by science, are healthy delicacies to a pig’s life but not to the life of any other animals. He tells them that it is due to reasons related to health that they do take milk and apples. In addition, he tells them that pigs are natural brainworkers and need such type of diet in order to operate well. Moreover, he tells them that they are charged with the responsibility of management of the animal community at large. He further threatens them that if the pigs fail in their duties, Jones would come and take over. Jones was the most hated character among the animals and had been thrown out of the farm because of his abusive characteristics. The animals are convinced though not satisfied with squealer’s reason. This is a high level of propaganda in order to defend the leadership or rather non performing Stalin’s government.
Squealer was also used to spread false messages about Snowball (Leon Trotsky). He refuses to acknowledge or appreciate his contribution during the Battle of Cowshed, he instead says that all the attributes and respects to him concerning the incidence are all unnecessary exaggeration. In the Brave New World, propaganda that is spread by the scientists on the efficiency of scientific methods of making humans (cloning) makes people believe that perfect human can be created by fellow humans. All these are aimed to create a society that is fully inferior, uncritical and blindly subjective to the oppressive government rule. Through this technology, the government succeeds in gaining the most important success factor to any politician in the world, public attention.
It is therefore true that these two books are clear and common representation of what societies are. They bear a lot of similarities on the theme of totalitarianism. Other similarities also shows the type of societies that people are living in, most of them are not aware of what is there that requires corrections. Those in Huxley’s book have been kept silent genetically so that they cannot be able to understand anything bad happening or criticize but follow and obey any rule from the genetically superior individuals. The exile of Bernard in Brave New world and that of Leon Trotsky in the Animal farm are ironical as they give the two much freedom from the oppressive societies.
The books outline vividly the contemporary situations in the current world in terms of leadership styles and all the perils in different types of governance almost in all the nations across the world. The “Animal Farm” shows how most of the top rulers of the world use other professionals with public minds within their control and influence such as the media. Through this such leaders get maximum control over the majority blind common man with all the vices.
“Brave New World” shows how dictatorship and other leadership evils are being practiced through the use of scientific knowledge which is supposed to improve human life but not to worsen it.
In short, it can be seen that the two books have profound circumstances displaying tyranny and propaganda as two of the major and common political perils in any nation.