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On Foregrounding in Animal Farm

Author WangLiPing
Tutor MengXueQin
School Sichuan Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords foregrounding deviation totalitarianism animalism
CLC I561.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
Downloads 165
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George Orwell is one of the most influential writers in the20th century and his works mainly focus on politics. Because of his particular way of showing political themes, his languages and opinions exert deep influence on the literary creation by the western writers and playwrights of1950s and1960s. He writes about what he sees and what he thinks in quite a unique way that is different from other writers. This distinguished writer’s most remarkable works include1984and Animal Farm. This thesis focuses on the analysis of his masterpiece Animal Farm.Animal Farm is George Orwell’s representative political work attacking totalitarianism of the Soviet published in1945. In this novel, the plot of the story is somewhat pioneering and unique. The animals on the farm are suppressed by human beings, which leads to animals’ rebellion. When the owner of the farm is defeated by these animals, a new republic of animals is built up. Then the whole story is unfolded according to the development of the new republic. The ruler of the animal farm Napolean makes every means to drive his competitors out of the farm and he himself becomes the one with absolute power. Under his dominance, all the animals, in truth, are not equal at all. He, as a matter of fact, carries out totalitarian rules. He makes all the other animals work for his own interest. As a result, the newly set up republic turns out to be the same one as before. All the animals are actually unequal and they have no access to the right which they should have enjoyed. George Orwell aims at criticizing the man in power who carries out totalitarianism just as the protagonist Napolean in the story. The real target is Stalin in the Soviet. George Orwell shows his political attitude towards this historical event through the story of animal farm.In this novel, George Orwell uses a unique artistic way of writing technique in order to express the theme, that is, foregrounding. This writing style has appealed to a host of readers. Foregrounding is a key concept used to study literary languages. It originates from the famous theorist Jan Mukarovsky who points out that foregrounding can be found in our daily language use such as oral language or news reports. However, foregrounding in literary works are generally systematic. Mukarovsky believes that literature is the distortion of the norm of standard language. Therefore, the foregrounded language often leads to freshness, vividness, profoundity and strikes the readers as impressive. From this novel, we can see that George Orwell has a good command of this theory. He skillfully employs foregrounding in his story and makes the story interesting and fanscinating.This thesis analyzes the foregrounded elements in detail and the aesthetic effects it has produced by the use of this device. Chapter One expands on the concept of foregrounding including its origin and its development in literature. The application of foregrounding in poetry, fiction and short stories are analyzed in detail. Then it is followed by Chapter Two and Chapter Three which are the most important parts in this thesis:the foregrounded sections in the novel Animal Farm. Chapter Two focuses on the foregrounded plots consisting of the animals’ revolution, the Seven Commandments, the implications of the subtitle:A Fairy Story and the arrangement of time sequences as well as its aesthetic effects produced by foregrounding. In Chapter Three, the thesis expounds the foregrounded characters in this story namely the leading pig Napolean, the political propagator Squealer, the totalitarian victim Snowball, the revolutionary starter Old Major and the ignorant labor Boxer and the functions of these foregrounded animals. The last but not the least important, the thesis ends with the conclusion. Foregrounding plays a vital role in the story. It makes the content deviates from conventional way of creation and much more impressive to the readers.In a word, the whole story develops in an unconventional way in respect of plots and characterization, producing a striking effect. In turn it impresses the readers as fresh and profound. It is the employment of foregrounding that helps to express the theme more vividly and clearly.

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