Animal Farm Essay, Research Paper
Although George Orwell was a Socialist, he was critical of Communism. He hated totalitarianism, and it has been said that his “Animal Farm” was written as a biting satire of the 1917 Russian Revolution. In fact, many of the characters in “Animal Farm” are thought to be caricatures of the main figures of the Russian Revolution. In the course of this essay, I will discuss some of the main characters in the book, and show, through excerpts, the parallels between the two.
“Animal Farm” opens with this description:
Mr. Jones of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes. With the ring of light from this lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring.
Mr. Jones (and his snoring wife) can be compared to the Czar Nicholas II and the Czarina Alexandra on the eve of the Russian Revolution who were so out of touch with their subjects that they didn’t realize the revolution was coming.
The character Old Major dies early on in the book, but not before teaching the other animals about animalism. He preaches the following to the other animals:
Why, work night and day, body and soal, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet, that sooner or later justice will be done.
Old Major can be compared to Karl Marx who invented Communism, but died before the Russian Revolution actually happened. Amimalism, like Communism, was based on the idea that all were equal and that the workers who did the work deserved to have more in life.
The characters of Snowball and Napoleon are said to represent Trotsky and Stalin. They are introduced in the book this way:
Pre-eminent among the pigs were two young boars named Snowball and Napoleon, who Mr. Jones was breeding up for sale. Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with the reputation for getting his own way. Snowball was a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character.
In the book it is Napoleon who survives, through his evil control of the farm, just as Stalin survived. Napoleon ends up selling Snowball to Frederick of the Pinchfield Farm. Just as Napoleon could not rule with Snowball around, neither could Stalin rule the Russian people with Trotsky around. Like Snowball is accused of inspiring the hens to kill Napoleon, Trotsky’s followers were accused of plotting to kill Stalin and were executed..
It is hard to read the book “Animal Farm” and not see the many parallels between the animals on the farm and the historical characters in the Russian Revolution. However, the book may show the nature of all revolutions which start out with high hopes but end up not achieving their goals, which may explain why ” The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”