The Allegory Of Russian Revolution In Animal Farm

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George Orwell (June 25, 1903 to January 21, 1950), born Eric Arthur Blair, was a novelist, essayist and critic best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. He was a man of strong opinions who addressed some of the major political movements of his times, including imperialism, fascism and communism.

Sometimes called the conscience of a generation, Orwell best known for two novels, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Both books, published toward the end of Orwell’s life, have been turned into films and enjoyed tremendous popularity over the years.

Animal Farm was an anti-Soviet satire in a pastoral setting featuring two pigs as its main protagonists. These pigs were said to represent the secretary-general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–53) and premier of the Soviet state (1941–53), who for a quarter of a century dictatorially ruled the Soviet Union and transformed it into a major world power, Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky the communist theorist and agitator, a leader in Russia’s October Revolution in 1917, and later commissar of foreign affairs and of war in the Soviet Union (1917–24). In the struggle for power following Vladimir Ilich Lenin’s death, however, Joseph Stalin emerged as victor, while Trotsky was removed from all positions of power and later exiled (1929). He remained the leader of an anti-Stalinist opposition abroad until his assassination by a Stalinist agent. The novel brought Orwell great acclaim and financial rewards.

According to one biography, Orwell’s first word as a child was ‘beastly.’ Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War and was badly injured. He and his wife were later indicted of treason in Spain. Orwell was once a BBC producer and ended up loathing his job as he felt he was being used as a propaganda machine. George Orwell studied in Eton. He was born in Motihari, India and died in London, United Kingdom.

The author target audience was general public in USSR: people whom he wanted to inform about the dangers and logical outcome of Communism during World War II. Furthermore, he wants next young generation to know about communism and how communism affects people life. He had used different writing techniques and styles of language, simplest of language and he made point of view a cross in the story that much easy to understand. Satire was one of the novel’s most evident styles and allegory was another style because some of the seemingly useless and worthless characters were actually important figures in the Russian history.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a satirical allegory through which he presents his cynical view of human nature. He uses the animal fable effectively to expose the issues of injustice, exploitation and inequality in human society. Orwell uses the allegory, Animal Farm, to present the story of The Russian Revolution and essentially express his opinions on the matter. By plainly exposing the unjust and corrupt system that is communism, Orwell is ultimately presenting his pessimistic view of human nature. It is evident through the text that Orwell believes that in theory everybody wants equality, hence the concept of communism, yet it is in our nature as human beings to seek power. This can be shown in the text when the pigs initiate to drink the produced milk by themselves with the reason that they deserve it because they are the cleverest among the animals. It all started with a simple milk and continued to more until they gained the power and respect from the animals and overruled the farm.

The innocence of animals helps Orwell explain the story of The Russian Revolution more genuinely and truthfully and helps the perhaps more biased audience see both sides of the story because their opinions are taken out of context, which helps them subconsciously realize the faults of communism by themselves. In the text, Orwell uses satire, stereotypes, symbolism and primarily allegory to clearly present his views of not only the philosophy of revolution, but also the wider topic of power-hungry human nature. Orwell uses stereotyped animals to create the desired image of his characters. For example, pigs are used to represent the authority figures such as Snowball and Napoleon, and also the Communist Party Loyalists. Pigs have connotations with being disgusting and repulsive, and the term ‘pig’ is often used to describe a person who is heartily disliked. Therefore, it is appropriate that the corrupt authority figures should be allocated the characters of pigs on the farm, because the audience can easily recognize the characters’ personalities. This technique is applied with other animal characters, such as horses, which are known to be hardworking, are represented as the submissive, unquestioning laborers, and sheep, which are identified as being gullible, obedient followers, are represented as people who readily accept propaganda without questioning the truth. Similarly, Orwell uses symbolism throughout the text; animal Farm, known at the beginning and the end of the novel as the Manor Farm, symbolizes Russia and the Soviet Union under Communist Party rule. But more generally, Animal Farm stands for any human society, be it capitalist, socialist, fascist, or communist. It possesses the internal structure of a nation, with a government (the pigs), a police force or army (the dogs), a working class (the other animals), and state holidays and rituals; the barn at Animal Farm, on whose outside walls the pigs paint the Seven Commandments and, later, their revisions, represents the collective memory of a modern nation.

The many scenes in which the ruling-class pigs alter the principles of Animalism and in which the working-class animals puzzle over but accept these changes represent the way an institution in power can revise a community’s concept of history to bolster its control; the great windmill symbolizes the pigs’ manipulation of the other animals for their own gain. Despite the immediacy of the need for food and warmth, the pigs exploit Boxer and the other common animals by making them undertake backbreaking labor to build the windmill, which will ultimately earn the pigs more money and thus increase their power. From an allegorical point of view, the windmill represents the enormous modernization projects undertaken in Soviet Russia after the Russian Revolution. The betrayal of the pigs blaming Snowball as responsible for the first collapse of the windmill represents treason for they have planned it so that the other animals doubt the intentions and ability of Snowball.

There are a lot of facts and quotations in the literary piece Animal Farm from abusing and manipulating of power to lies and deceiving people, rules and order, foolishness, follies, dreams, hopes, plans, cleverness, violence, pride, religions and more.

There’s this paragraph that talks about superiority and power, “The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership.” The pigs having the superiority and the power over the other animals gave them the assumptions that they don’t actually need to work for they already the ones supervising and controlling the productions in the farm and that their intellectual capability is enough.

In another line “Throughout the spring and summer they worked a sixty-hour week, and in August Napoleon announced that there would be work on Sunday afternoons as well. This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half” having the power means being in control of the situation and giving decisions in which favorable to you. Also, you get to redefine language, “strictly voluntary” literally speaking it means on your own choice whether to work in seven days or not but with the consequence of absenting yourself from it would reduce your rations by half means, you do not have the choice but to go anyway for you to eat and to survive.

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Another, ”Old Benjamin, the donkey, seemed quite unchanged since the Rebellion. He did his work in the same slow obstinate way as he had done it in Jones’s time, never shirking and never volunteering for extra work either. About the Rebellion and its results he would express no opinion. When asked whether he was not happier now that Jones was gone, he would say only ‘Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey,’ and the others had to be content with this cryptic answer.” donkeys really live longer than other animals, sheep and pigs max out at 15 (horses can make it twice as long. Since donkeys (old man) live longer than any other animal in the farm he have seen a lot, he have done a lot and I think he already know that nothing will ever change to the farm (country) whoever the ruler might be. Once someone is in the position there is a big chance that he might be into it for self-satisfaction and personal interest. So, I think Old Benjamin have learned it already and just accepted the reality of life and fate.

Animal Farm tells the story of a group of animals living on the Manor farm under the rule of the cruel farmer Mr. Jones. Old Major, the wisest and oldest of the animals unites the farm against the humans. Driving the humans out, the animals begin their own society based upon democratic principles. Animals are expected to follow the seven tenets of Animalism and treat others equally. Life on the farm for the animals is physically demanding, but there is plenty of food and life is good. However, the pigs have complete control over Animal Farm’s government and this peace will be short lived. Power struggles ensue and life becomes hard. Overtime the seven tenets of Animalism are eroded. Animals lose their freedoms and are unable to challenge the pigs’ authority, who are backed by a vicious and fiercely loyal army of dogs. Slowly over time, the virtues upon which Animal Farm is founded lose their meaning and the pigs become indistinguishable from the human dictators that they overthrew. Is life any different now for the animals than it was before the rebellion?

George Orwell’s writing style in Animal Farm is allegorical in nature. Many recent events in world history are paralleled in Animal Farm, specifically WWI, The Russian Revolution, the rise of Communism in Eastern Europe, and WWII. The Russian Revolution of 1917 established communist in Russia. By the end of WWII, when Animal Farm was written, Communist Russia was immensely different from the principles upon which it was founded. Stalin had complete control over the Soviet Union and most of his political opponents such as Leon Trotsky had been exiled or killed. In Animal Farm, the animal revolution is an analogy for Bolshevik Russia. Certain characters represent historical people. Stalin is personified in Napoleon, the lead pig who completely controls Animal Farm. Napoleon kills off other pigs who oppose his rule or animals he considers disloyal. These are representations of Stalin’s purges that began before the second World War and continued into the 1950s. Throughout Animal Farm, the animals undergo negotiations with other farms to gain resources. At one point, Napoleon begins to purchase goods from a nearby farm known as Pinch field. However, Mr. Frederick quickly turns against the Animal Farm, an analogy for Hitler and Russian involvement in the second World War.

George Orwell’s writing is short, simple, and to the point. He does not spend much time using figurative language or explaining a character’s feelings. He intentionally avoids using figurative language and chooses to use short words whenever possible. Some characters in Animal Farm that represent historical figures include:

Old Major- Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin

Old Major’s commandments of Animalism represent the communist theories created by Karl Marx (and Friedrich Engels) in his books The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. Major also represents Lenin because he is the individual who ignites revolution.

Snowball- Leon Trotsky

Snowball is driven off the farm by Napoleon, similar to Stalin’s rise to power when he exiles Trotsky to Mexico, thereby taking complete control of the Soviet Union.

Napoleon- Joseph Stalin

Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin because both take power as a dictator after revolution. Just like Stalin, Napoleon kills those he finds disloyal and bends the laws to suit his needs. George Orwell was strongly opposed to Stalin’s regime and showed the corruption of the Russian Revolution through Napoleon.

Boxer- Proletariat working class

Boxer’s immense work ethic and willingness to serve his fellow animals on the farm represent the working class of Russia. Boxer is manipulated by Napoleon and used for labor. He is lied to and controlled by the pigs, eventually being sold to a glue company who will slaughter him.

Farmer Jones- Czar Nicholas

Farmer Jones is an allegory for Czar Nichola the Second. Jones is overthrown by the farm animals, a representation of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Jones attempts to retake his farm later in the novella. This represents the subsequent civil war between the bolsheviks and supporters of the czar.

Squealer- Russian propaganda, specifically the state-controlled newspaper Pravada. Squealer convinces the other animals to follow Napoleon and justifies the corrupt rule of the pigs. He represents how those who are in control manipulate others to keep their power.

Mr. Frederick- Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler. Frederick is a direct metaphor for Hitler. He enters into an uneasy peace with Animal Farm and the two cooperate briefly before he betrays them (As Hitler did to the USSR. Orwell’s choice of a German name for him may also be a comparison.

Mr. Pilkington- Capitalist countries of the west such as the British Empire and the United States of America. Mr. Pilkington works together with Napoleon to stop his rival, Mr. Frederick. However, he does not trust Animal Farm and fears that his animals will revolt as Mr. Jones’ animals did. 

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