Social Class Conflict In The Novel Animal Farm And Play An Inspector Calls
In the twentieth century, the topic of class conflict and revolutionary ideas was an important issue. The conflict between different classes in a community resulting from different social or economic positions and reflecting opposed interests is known as class conflict. This essay will discuss how these ideas are explored in Animal Farm by George Orwell and An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley. George Orwell’s Animal Farm was published in 1945. Animal Farm is a political fable, which is set on a farm but is based on Stalin’s betrayal of the Russian Revolution. An Inspector Calls is J. B. Priestley’s most famous play, first performed in September 1945, it was written at the end of WWII, but the play itself is set in 1912. One of the most important messages that Priestley conveys is the collective benefits of socialism to society Soc. At that time there was no assistance for people who could not afford to look after themselves. Priestley wanted to address this issue. There are various points addressed throughout both the texts, upper-class thoughts on the lower class, greedy capitalist and abuse of power by the bourgeoisie. Orwell addresses these issues through his characterisation of Napoleon, demonstrating his superiority from the rest of the animals, his greed, manipulation and exploitation of the working class. J. B. Priestley issued this problem in society through Inspector Ghoul. Inspector Ghoul is shown as a very mysterious person, who somehow knows about everything. Through the play, inspector Ghoul tries to make the Birlings accept their involvement in the suicide of Eva Smith. This essay will analyse and discuss how the creators of texts explore class conflict.
In both texts, the author has portrayed the ways in which the bourgeoisie exploit the proletariat for their own selfish benefit. In both texts, it is seen that bourgeois considers themselves superior to the proletariat. For example Animal Farm the narrator states that “It had come to be accepted that the pigs, who were manifestly cleverer than the other animals, should decide all question of farm policy, though their decisions had to be ratified by majority vote.” The effect this has on the reader is that it causes them to think the pigs are part of bourgeois, who believe due to their status, they’re born smart and superior to the animals. Furthermore, another example of proletariat exploitation in Animal Farm is evidence when the narrator remarks “The pigs did not actually work but directed and supervised the others.” The pigs thought they were above such work as manual labour so they let the other animals such as boxer do the hard work. Napoleon and the other pigs were there to just direct them and the other animals listened. The natural division between intellectual and physical labour quickly comes to express itself as a new set of class divisions, with the brain workers as the pigs using their superior intelligence to their own benefit. They made the animals accept that they are superior, who know the best for everyone and used this against them, causing the other animals to believe in them and making them do all the work. the exploitation of the working class is evident through the characterisation of a selfish and greedy capitalist, Mr Birling. The audience witnesses this when he states ‘If you don’t come down sharply on some of these people, they’d soon be asking for the earth.’ Mr Birling feels that it is his responsibility to come down harshly on these people. Mr Birling comes down hard on them and called his workers ‘these people’ referring them as something not equal to their standard. He has set another standard for people who work, someone lower than them. He shows a clear distinction of how he thinks of them, to him they are simply peasants who are working under him for money to survive. He refers to the proletariat as ‘these people’, showing how he disparages them. Both texts stated above are set up in a similar timeline, hence possessing an akin concept, ‘The distinction of the upper class and the lower class’ or ‘Capitalism’. Orwell used real charters dressed up as animals to show the current situation, where Pressly used frictional charters to do the same. Both the authors use various texts to show the exploitation of the working class by the ruling class, proving in the end the one with power can do anything, to them it doesn’t matter if it’s unfair, they have the power and will do anything to profit themselves, even if it means to break or change the rules, just like how the pigs in Animal Farm did or how Mr.Birling considers the working class only as his peasants.
In Animal Farm and An Inspector calls bourgeois characters are presented as a greedy capitalist, who only cares about their profit and well being. An example from Animal farm “he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, should have a quiet place to work in. It was also more suited to the dignity of the Leader to live in a house than in a mere sty.” After the Rebellion, the animals are not supposed to adopt human voices and become as selfish and greedy as them. This idea, however, was soon shattered, for the pigs adopt a supercilious attitude and manipulate the animals so they alone may benefit. Whatever the pigs do is exclusively for their own pleasure and privilege. None of the other animals benefit as much as they from the hard work put in by the general animal force Likewise, in An Inspector Calls, capitalist greed and selfishness is expressed when Birling states that “They were averaging about twenty-two and six, which was neither more nor less than is paid generally in our industry. They wanted the rates raised so that they could average about twenty-five shillings a week. I refused, of course.” In this quote is is seen that even though the pay is not enough for the workers to survive, and they had protested to increase it, Mr.Birling refused, because it would possibly lessen his profits and without a second thought he refused, without realizing the hardships his worker might be going through to take such a brave step. This concept of a greedy capitalist is issued throughout both texts. Orwell used frictional charters where Priestly issued the situation in a more realistic way. They conveyed differences between both classes since the ruling has more education compared to the working class, they have their ways of breaking rules without getting caught. In both texts, it is shown, that the ruling class are greedy and will do anything that will profit them only, without having any concern about the working class. Consequently, in Animal Farm, George Orwell displayed this throughout the charter of Napoleon. J. B. Priestley displayed it through the Birlings.
In Animal Farm, the pigs gradually twist and distort a rhetoric of socialist revolution to justify their behaviour and keep the other animals in the dark. For example in Animal Farm “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” By the end of the novel after Squealer’s repeated reconfiguration of the seven commandments in order to decriminalize the pig’s teachings, the main principle of the farm can be openly stated as “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This outrageous abuse of the word equal and the idea of equality, in general, typifies the pigs’ method, which becomes increasingly audacious as the novel progresses. Similarly “The pigs begin living in the farmhouse, and rumour has it that they even sleep in beds, a violation of one of the Seven Commandments. But when Clover asks Muriel to read her the commandment, the two find that it now reads No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.” Throughout the novel, the pigs are seen to be bending the seven commandments to satisfy their own need and to justify their behaviour. Indirectly Orwell tried to display the readers the strategies, the Soviet Union and Russia used on the general public. Orwell connects it to the Russian Revolution by commenting on Soviet Russia and the global circumstances in which it arose. But the tactics that have been utilised by the pigs are the overworking of the proletariat, the justification of luxuries indulged in by bourgeois, the spreading of propaganda to cover up government failure. Similarly in An inspector calls “Sheila: (distressed) I went to the manager at Milwards and I told him that if they didn’t get rid of that girl, I’d never go near the place again and I’d persuade the mother to close our account with them.”. Sheila Birling who is the daughter of Arthur Birling, in this quote she is using her power and blackmailing the manager of the clothing store to fire one of their employees because she felt so. She didn’t consider the hardships Eva could face by this unnecessary action simply because her pride was hurt. Shelia used her superior power and without a second thought fired Eva. This shows the corrupting of bourgeois, which is also observed in Animal Farm. The difference of classes is commonly observed in the community, the unfairness and corruption Priestly, portrayed this in his play, he shows how unfair one life is without power. The bourgeois only does what suits their needs; use their superior power and money to execute that. It is widely known that power, in the wrong hands, can be an open door to corruption and unfairness. Orwell and Priestly have depicted this sad fact in their writing.
In summary, both texts use a variety of examples to exhibit class conflict throughout the story. The texts do this by demonstrating the behaviours of a capitalist. George Orwell showed it through the charter of Napoleon; J. B. Priestley projected it through the member of the Birling family. George Orwell portrays Napoleon’s charter to be self-centred, and only care about his profit and benefits and uses other animals on the farm to accomplish it. Napoleon displayed himself as an animal with superior knowledge and does not contribute to any labour work at the farm. J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls the characters of The Birling family are protected as a greedy capitalist, they abuse their superior power for their selfish needs. Mr.Birling fires his workers instead of increasing their hourly rates because that would mean less profit for him. Regardless of the ways each author showed the truth of this world, they managed to flawlessly portray their morals behind their story, “For every action, there is a consequence” and ‘Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.’
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