Essay on Animal Farm by George Orwell: A Fairy Story





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Video: Allegory in Animal Farm: Characters & Examples



In this lesson, we’ll explore how George Orwell’s novella, ”Animal Farm,” is an allegory of the problems that arose out of Russian communism. We’ll look at how the different characters in the book represented real figures or groups of people from history.

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  • 0:00 Background of Animal Farm

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Lesson Transcript

Instructor:
Natalie Purcell

Natalie teaches high school English and French and has a master’s degree in teaching.

In this lesson, we’ll explore how George Orwell’s novella, ”Animal Farm,” is an allegory of the problems that arose out of Russian communism. We’ll look at how the different characters in the book represented real figures or groups of people from history.

Background of Animal Farm

Animal Farm, a novella written by George Orwell in 1945, is an allegorical commentary on what went wrong when Czarist Russia evolved into Communist Russia. An allegory is a narrative that uses literary devices to unveil hidden meanings. At the time when Orwell’s book was published, Animal Farm wasn’t very popular because Russia was actually an ally to the western world in the fight against Hitler during World War II. Orwell himself wasn’t always completely anti-communist. He was actually a socialist who supported the belief that industry should be controlled and owned by the workers for the good of everyone, not just the elite. It wasn’t until he witnessed the corrupt evolution of Communist Russia, and how it departed from the initial goals, that he felt he should warn us of the dangers of unchecked authority. Orwell wanted to show the negative side of communism when it is taken too far. In this lesson, we’ll take a look at how George Orwell critiqued Communist Russia through use of allegory.

The Pigs

First, let’s look at the pigs in this novella:

Old Major is the oldest boar on the farm and is well respected. At the beginning of the book, he tells all the animals of a strange dream he had about a farm where all animals were equal because they kept what they produced. He further explains that animals don’t have to live short lives, dominated by hard labor and hunger, all for the benefit of humans. He declares that man is, ”the only creature who consumes without producing.”

Old Major and his strange dream represent Karl Marx and The Communist Manifesto of 1848, in which Marx presents the evils of feudalism and capitalism, and the idealistic world of communism, thereby inspiring the Russian Revolution of 1917. Just like the revolution on Animal Farm, the Russian Revolution also started out with great intentions. Even the flags of Animal Farm and Soviet Communism resemble one another.

Soviet Communist Flag
Soviet flag
Animal Farm Flag
Animal Farm flag

After his involvement in the revolution on Animal Farm, Snowball is a pig who rises as one of the leaders. Described as ”vivacious” and ”inventive,” Snowball wants to spread the word about Animal Farm to all the neighboring farms, so that other animals can be free from man as well.

Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin’s second-in-command during the Russian Revolution, and the leader of the Red Army in the subsequent Russian Civil War. Trotsky also wanted to spread the word about communism to other nations. However, both Snowball and Trotsky get elbowed out of their positions of power by other more ruthless and corrupt leaders.

Napoleon is another pig who rises as a leader. Rather than trying to influence and gain consensus from the other animals through energetic speeches, he secretly raised himself a well-trained personal army from nine puppies. He then used them to implement his goals, no matter how brutal or treacherous the methods.

Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party from 1922 until his death over 30 years later. Stalin formed the KGB, the communist party’s secret police, who ruthlessly carried out all of his commands. The false confessions of disloyalty on Animal Farm and subsequent executions were modeled after Stalin’s Great Purge of the 1930s, in which anyone determined to be a counter-revolutionist was killed.

Napoleon and his entourage
Napoleon and his entourage

Finally, Squealer is the pig who always spreads persuasive messages supporting the leader’s goals. He announces changes in the rules, or reinvents history in order to confuse the other animals. He’s probably not a symbol for a specific person, but more of an embodiment of hypocrisy and propaganda in general. He could represent the communist newspaper, Pravda, that was the official voice of the party in the 1930s, used to keep the public calm and under control with its misleading messages.

The Humans

Next, let’s take a look at some of the humans in this novella:

Mr. and Mrs. Jones are the cruel and incompetent owners of the farm at the beginning of the story. They sometimes forget to feed the animals and try to whip them into submission. They represent the last czar of Russia and his wife, Nicholas II and Alexandra, who were very unpopular, partially because they got Russia dragged into World War I and then mismanaged their involvement.

Mr. Pilkington, the neighboring gentleman farmer, is a symbol for the U.S. and the U.K. Meanwhile, Mr. Frederick, the shrewd neighboring farmer who drives a hard bargain and is always involved in lawsuits, represents Hitler. Napoleon is always negotiating back and forth between the two of them, and simultaneously sending Squealer to explain to the other animals why he’s dealing with humans at all.

Mr. Whymper acts as a mediator between Animal Farm and the humans in the outside world. He realized early on that the animals would need a broker to act on their behalf, and he was happy to do it as long as he got paid. Mr. Whymper represents the gullible westerners who were willing to spread the communist message and cater to Stalin’s goals for personal profit.

Other Animals in Animal Farm

Now, let’s take a look at some of the other animals in this novella, including horses, a donkey, a goat, a raven, ducks, hens and sheep:

Boxer is a male horse who’s the biggest and strongest animal on the farm. He’s not very smart but, he works harder than all the other animals, and he’s instrumental in the battles they fight against the humans. He represents the uneducated working class of Communist Russia, whose labor and loyalty the party could not survive without. In the end, when Boxer becomes too old and weak to be useful any more, he’s sent to the slaughterhouse, the same fate he would have met under human authority.

Boxer working harder
Boxer the horse working harder

Clover is the female counterpart to Boxer, representing the female working class in Russia. Like Boxer, she’s loyal and strong, but she’s slightly smarter, realizing when the pigs change the rules or stray too far from their original goals. The only problem is that she can’t read or express her thoughts, so she has no choice but to go along with what the pigs say.

Mollie is a pretty white mare who likes to wear ribbons and eat sugar. She’s not fond of hard labor or of fighting in the battles with the other animals. She’s portrayed as foolish, lazy, and materialistic. Mollie represents the middle class in Russia, not completely disloyal, but also not wanting to give up what they have for the common good. When Mollie defects, it symbolizes the Russian bourgeois who abandoned the communist cause and fled to the West when they were asked to give up their luxuries.

Benjamin the donkey and Muriel the goat could both read and were fairly wise. Benjamin and Muriel represent the literate, elderly men and women of Russia who were wise enough to see what was happening, but too old to do anything about it. Some say that Benjamin may have a touch of Orwell himself in his character, particularly when he implies detachedly that he has seen phases come and go and he already knows how this will turn out as well.

Moses the raven was Mr. Jones’s special pet. He told the animals of a wonderful place called ”Sugarcandy Mountain” where they would go when they died. After the revolution, Moses was chased off the farm along with Mr. Jones. However, he was later allowed to return, and was even given beer every day by Napoleon. Moses represents the Russian Orthodox Church, which was dismantled after the Russian Revolution, but was allowed to be re-established later on when it suited Stalin’s needs.

The ducks and the hens were the ones to point out that the motto of Animal Farm, ”Four legs good, two legs bad,” did not include them, and the hens were the only animals to lead a rebellion against the pigs when it was announced that their eggs would be sold. The hens and ducks represent those who were left out of the communist ideals, specifically the clergy, the rural land owning farmers, and the educated. When the hens stage a rebellion, smashing their own eggs, it symbolizes the rural farmers in Russia who rebelled by slaughtering their own cattle rather than giving them up to the state.

The Hens ready to rebel
The Hens Rebellion

Finally, The sheep were easily trained to chant, ”Four legs good, two legs bad,” especially during Snowball’s speeches. They’re not very smart, and they follow along with anything Napoleon wants. The sheep represent the easily manipulated followers of communist propaganda. Orwell is warning readers to beware of overly simplified political slogans that can be easily chanted. They usually lack substance.

Summary

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is an allegorical commentary on the downside of Russian Communism from start to finish. An allegory is a narrative that uses literary devices to unveil hidden meanings. Orwell’s metaphorical comparison includes the characters of the pigs as Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin and humans as the U.S., U.K., and Hitler. Other concepts symbolized in this novella include the uneducated working class, the middle class, literate elderly men and women, the Russian Orthodox Church, those who were left out of Communist ideals and easily manipulated followers. Orwell wanted to show the negative side of communism when it’s taken too far.


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Farm the critical russian cliffsnotes revolution essays animal

Free essay outline the ways in which napoleon obtained and maintained power on animal farm.. The russian revolution and george orwell39s animal farm essay. In this satirical fable orwell uses his allegorical farm to candidly illustrate the corruptive nature of power and to symbolise the communist system in thenbsp. In 39animal farm39 the author george orwell develops an allegory or metaphorical representation of the russian revolution. In this lesson we will look at their new leader napoleon and compare him to the world leader he is intended to symbolize. Free essay in george orwell39s animal farm the pigs take over manor farm and dominate the weaker animals by using a combination of strength fear and.. Napoleon demonstrates how the other farm animals39 weakness can be dominated by strength fear and trickery revealing one of george orwell39s themes. In thenbsp. It is suggested that snowball mr. Jones and napoleon be used in this analysis but there are other great examples as well. Thesis statement essay topic 3 animal farm in historical and social context. In many ways animal farm is a complete allegorical fable like retelling of the founding of the soviet union completenbsp. The characters of animal farm represent figures in russian history during the russian revolution. Places objects and events of the russian revolution are also symbolized in animal farm. One of the main characters of animal farm is an allegorical parallel of joseph stalin. Napoleon is the pig that emerges as the leadernbsp.

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