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The Writer in His Time

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I'm going to speak about the notion « The Writer in his time ».We can link this notion with the fact that some writers use their work to criticize their own society to denounce and express their way of thinking. Nowadays, the Anglo-Saxon society enjoys freedom of expression but in the past, it was not possible to enjoy this freedom because of censorship. We want to find out how writers managed to reveal their society through their work. To answer this question, we will analyse it through two texts studied in class. The first one is an extract of Animal Farm, a novel published in 1945 by George Orwell. The second text is an extract of 1984, a novel also written by George Orwell and published in 1948. We'll also study this thematic through my personal document which is the song Blowin' in the wind by Bob Dylan.

In Animal Farm, Georges Orwell uses the process of allegory to make a satire of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and to criticize the Soviet regime, especially Stalinism, and beyond, authoritarian regimes and totalitarianism. Since he couldn't criticize it because of censorship, he has made the choice to disguise it to denounce it through a novel staging animals. In this extract, Snowball and Napoleon, two pigs, call the other animals by the word « comrades » which refers to communism. Snowball and Napoleon behave like leaders and  represents Leon Trotsky and Joseph Staline. The extract of the novel 1984 describes a Great Britain thirty years after a nuclear war between East and West supposed to have taken place in the 1950s and where a totalitarian regime strongly inspired by both Stalinism and certain elements of Nazism. Freedom of expression no longer exists. All thoughts are carefully monitored, and huge posters are posted in the streets, telling everyone "Big Brother is watching you". As in dictatorships, public opinion is controlled and freedom of expression is restricted, in the novel by « The Thought Police ».

George Orwell intend to show the fake conception of freedom in the farm : the pigs give orders to the other animals and are really authoritarian. We can see that the pigs are manipulating the others and that they have dishonest intentions as Orwell suggests that they drunk the milk all alone when they could have share it with the other animals. The pigs uses their power and knowledge for bad purposes. Their use of the word « comrades » is used as a tool to manipulate the rest of the farm.

Similarly, in 1984, George Orwell through the imaginary dictatorship of the novel denounces communism and totalitarian regimes. The citizens have to live in the fear, thinking that « every sound made was overhead » and « every movement scrutinized ». The poster with the caption « Big Brother » is used to propagate the totalitarian regime and to better control the masses because the least action against the dictatorship will be known by Big Brother and sanctioned.

In the song Blowin 'in the Wind, Bob Dylan asks moral questions denouncing war and racism. For example, when he says « How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand ? », he uses the dove as a symbol of peace to show that peace can not rest because of all these incessant conflicts.

By associating pigs with revolutionaries in this way, Orwell manages to denounce Russian communism in a roundabout way. Indeed, in the same way as Napoleon and Snowball, the revolutionaries acted with the best intentions and things go wrong as Staline -represented by Napoleon- eventually took over like as when the pigs took control of the farm.


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