Revolution Essay, Research Paper
ANIMAL FARM IN COMPARISON TO THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
Animal Farm is a satire on the Russian Revolution. You can look at this story as a fairy tale about the animals, or on a deeper level, as an account of the events in the Russian Revolution. I chose to learn more about the real meaning of Animal Farm, which Orwell indirectly explains throughout the story.
Animal Farm starts out with introducing us to life on the Manor Farm, and Old Major’s opinion on the outcome of their future. Old Major is convinced that the animals are being treated unfairly, and has the incredible idea of planning a revolt against Mr. Jones, so the animals can experience true happiness. He gets the animals excited by teaching them “Beasts of England”, a song about hope for the future.
The causes of the Russian Revolution were problems throughout Russia’s history. For centuries, autocratic and repressive czarist regimes ruled the country and most of the population lived under severe economic and social conditions. Old Major represents Karl Marx, an old European revolutionary who praised the people who struggled against the Russian autocracy. His ideas on the torture of animals by Man represent Marxism.
The first step of the revolution was the corruption of Mr. Jones, the irresponsible farm owner who lacked leadership. When the animals are left unfed one night, they help themselves to the feeding bins so they will not starve. Mr. Jones tries to stop them but he can not overpower the animals, and soon Mr. Jones, his wife, and all his men are driven right out of the farm.
Mr. Jones is representing Czar Nicholas II. Believing firmly in his duty to preserve absolute power in the Russian monarchy, Nicholas opposed any compromise to those favoring more democracy in government, and had little talent for leadership himself. Nicholas was forced to abdicate the throne after the Russian Revolution.
After Old Major died, the work of teaching and organizing fell upon the pigs, the most intelligent of the animals. Snowball and Napoleon became the new leaders of the revolution. They changed “Manor Farm” to “Animal Farm”, and expanded Old Major’s teachings into a system called Animalism (or Marxism according to Russia.) Because the animals couldn’t remember all the components of Animalism, Napoleon and Snowball simplified it to “4 legs good, 2 legs bad”.
Snowball is based on the character of Leon Trotsky, a great organizer, and Napoleon is based on Joseph Stalin, a cruel and ruthless leader. In the new Soviet government Trotsky became commissar of foreign affairs, and he is credited with creating, inspiring, and directing the Red Army. Snowball behaves similarly by also creating different organizations; one of his greatest achievements was teaching all the animals to read and write.
There is much work that has to be done on Animal Farm, and it seems that the pigs, especially Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer, a propagandist, are doing more supervising than working. You can tell a lot about the animals from their working habits. Boxer is a strong, dedicated worker, and represents the working class whose labors go to make other people happy, while he himself gets nothing. Benjamin, the donkey, works in the same lethargic condition that he did with Mr. Jones. This shows that he really doesn’t care about the outcome of the revolution, and in a way he represents the failure of Marxism and Communism. The cat always seems to disappear during working hours but seems to return during meals. The Cat represents the people who are only concerned for their own survival and personal gain. Moses, the raven, was Mr. Jones special pet, and told the others about a place called Sugarcandy Mountain, where they would go when they die. He symbolizes the Orthodox Church and organized religion. He was useful to the pigs because he kept the other animals quiet. The sheep are not very intelligent and do whatever is asked, as long as it is simple enough. They represent the followers of the working class.
The animals have been spreading the news of the revolution to the neighboring farms, Pinchfield and Foxwood. Mr. Frederick of Pichfield is an easygoing gentleman farmer, and Mr. Pilkington of Foxwoood is a tough shrewd man. When the farmers realize that Animal Farm is prospering, they decide to team up along with Mr. Jones and take action. This resulted in major battles of the revolution, The Battle of the Cowshed, and The Battle of the Windmill, both in which the farmers were defeated.
Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood represents England, and Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield represents Germany. The Battle of the Cowshed represents the invasion of the new Soviet Russia by the West, and the Battle of the Windmill represents the German invasion of Russia during World War II.
After the windmill was destroyed in The Battle of the Windmill, there were numerous attempts to rebuild it. This corresponds to Stalin’s Five-Year Plans, which is the name of each of the series of programs adopted by the former USSR for the development of the national economy and cultural life of the country.
It is after the exile of Snowball when Napoleon starts to lead a dictatorship. He abolishes “Beasts of England”, which signifies the end of the Revolution because Napoleon knew things weren’t going to get much better for anyone but himself.
The starting point of the Revolution was originally based on the cruelty of man, and how animals should never adopt their ways, but towards the end, it seems as though Napoleon has taken on the position of Mr. Jones, or Stalin had taken on the position of Nicholas II. This was gradually foreshadowed throughout the story by Squealer, or the propagandist, who secretly changed the commandments of Animalism to fit the exceptions of the pigs. It is proven that the animals are no better off with Napoleon than they were with Mr. Jones when the onlookers of the farmhouse party cannot distinguish the difference between the pigs and the humans.
Although this story was written based on The Russian Revolution, it also shows how any Revolution can corrupt. Lord Action: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”; this is the main theme of Animal Farm, and the main theme of the Russian Revolution.
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