Pass the Opium, Please
Uploaded by Fidaelio on Mar 03, 2001
Religion is said to be the opiate of the masses, and it is definitely a point of interest in George Orwell's famous novel Animal Farm. In it, Orwell pointedly attacks religion in general and Christianity in particular through the use of a well placed symbolic bird by the name of Moses. Orwell's stance is rather apparent as Moses darts about the farm scene conveying the duality of Christianity quite superbly.
At the first mention of the raven Moses, one immediately gets the impression that he stands for something quite larger than just a simple bird that lives on the Manor Farm. Firstly his name, Moses, is an obvious biblical reference conveying the idea that he may stand for religion or Christianity. It is not a subtle point that Orwell is trying to make with Moses. From the beginning of his involvement in the plot of Animal Farm, Moses is painted as a very special pet of Mr. Jones, the keeper of Manor Farm before the animal revolution. Mr. Jones in himself stands for something larger than just himself, he represents the old government, the government that the animals have pointed their military coup towards. In this case the most obvious connection can be made to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. In this vein of comparison, Mr. Jones represents the government under the ruling power of the czar. And if Moses is the especial bird of Mr. Jones, this means that religion was under the wing so to say of the czar (pun intended). After we learn this quality of Moses, we quickly learn that he is prone to rant on and on, talking about "a mysterious country called Sugercandy Mountain" (11), a magnificent place that all the animals supposedly went to when they died. In his reference to Sugercandy Mountain there is an obvious correlation to the kingdom of heaven in traditional Christian belief. This reinforces the idea in the reader's mind that Moses is most definitely standing for Christianity in this story. But so far Orwell has not made any criticisms against Christianity or religion, he has merely set up the character. The first time we get the idea that Orwell may be viewing Moses with a critical eye is when he describes the bird as being lazy and unwilling to do any. All the bird is apparently good for is to lie around all day and warm...