Social Criticism in Literature

Essay by pinkness15High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2004

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Many authors receive their inspiration for writing their

literature from outside sources. The idea for a story could come from

family, personal experiences, history, or even their own creativity.

For authors that choose to write a book based on historical events,

the inspiration might come from their particular viewpoint on the

event that they want to dramatize. George Orwell and Charles Dickens

wrote Animal Farm and A Tale of Two Cities, respectively, to express

their disillusionment with society and human nature. Animal Farm,

written in 1944, is a book that tells the animal fable of a farm in

which the farm animals revolt against their human masters. It is an

example of social criticism in literature in which Orwell satirized

the events in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. He

anthropomorphises the animals, and alludes each one to a counterpart

in Russian history. A Tale of Two Cities also typifies this kind of

literature. Besides the central theme of love, is another prevalent

theme, that of a revolution gone bad. He shows us that, unfortunately,

human nature causes us to be vengeful and, for some of us, overly

ambitious. Both these books are similar in that both describe how,

even with the best of intentions, our ambitions get the best of

us. Both authors also demonstrate that violence and the Machiavellian

attitude of "the ends justifying the means" are deplorable.

George Orwell wrote Animal Farm, ". . . to discredit the Soviet

system by showing its inhumanity and its back-sliding from ideals [he]

valued . . ."(Gardner, 106) Orwell noted that " there exists in

England almost no literature of disillusionment with the Soviet

Union.' Instead, that country is viewed either with ignorant

disapproval' or with uncritical admiration.'"(Gardner, 96) The

basic synopsis is this: Old Major, an old boar in...