Animal Farm Essay, Research Paper
George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm does an excellent job of drawing
parallels from the Russian Revolution of 1917. Animal Farm is a satire that uses its characters to symbolize leaders of the Russian Revolution. The animals of Manor Farm, the setting of this novel, which symbolizes Russia, overthrow their master after years of mistreatment. Led by the pigs, the farm animals continue to do their work, only with more pride, knowing that they are working for themselves, as opposed to working for their human master, Farmer Jones. Slowly over time the pigs gain power and take advantage of the other animals. They gain so much power that they become just as power hungry and corrupt as their human master. The theme of the novel is Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts completely. This is a good theme for the novel Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution because it proves that even the ones you think you can trust are corrupted by the power they possess.
Old Major is a boar who helps point out to the animals that no animal in England is free. He continues to tell the animals that everything they produce is stolen by man, who does not produce but only consumes. The animals in return get near nothing, just enough to keep them away from starvation. Old Major gave many speeches to the farm animals about hope and the future. He is the main animal who got the rebellion started even though he died before it actually began. Old Major’s role compares to Karl Marx whose ideas sparked the communist revolution. Like Old Major, Marx wrote essays and gave speeches to the working class poor. The working class in Russia, as compared with the barnyard animals in Animal Farm, were a laboring class of people that received low wages for their work. Old major tells the animals that the source of the problem is man, and that they must overthrow man to abolish tyranny and hunger. Soon Old Major does die, but the animals still remember everything he said. With the leadership of the pigs, the smartest animals, they rebel against the human and gain complete control of the farm. This would symbolize the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Another parallel represented in the book is Farmer Jones. His character
is similar to the Czar Nicholas II who treated his people similar to how Farmer Jones treated his animals and was a poor leader at best, compared to western kings (Animal Farm,www.globalserve.net). The animal rebellion on the farm was started because Farmer Jones was a drunk who never took care of the
animals. This made them very angry so the animals decided to rebel. Czar Nicholas II was a very weak man who treated his people similar to how Farmer Jones treated his animals.
The animal Napoleon can be compared as a character representing Stalin in Russia. Both were very mean looking, didn’t talk very much but always got what they wanted through force. In the book Animal Farm Napoleon had the dogs charge Snowball to gain complete control over the farm. Stalin became the Soviet Leader after the death of Lenin. It was not until very many years later that the world found out about the many deaths that Stalin created in Russia during the Revolution.
Another strong parallel would is the character of Snowball with the
Russian leader Trotsky. Snowball was very enthusiastic and was a leader
who organized the defense of the farm. He gave speeches and instructions
but was not very beneficial. All the other animals liked him, but he was
outsmarted by Napoleon. An example of this is Leon Trotsky was one of the principal leaders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) government until ousted and exiled by his archrival, Joseph Stalin (Trotsky, Encarta). Trotsky and Stalin’s relationship was very much like Snowball’s and Napoleons. Trotsky organized the Red Army and gave speeches and everyone in Russia thought he would win power over Stalin. After Lenin’s death Trotsky lost all his power to Stalin and was expelled from the communist party.
Propaganda is another item that was used in the Russian revolution. It can be compared to Squealer in Animal Farm. Squealer brainwashed the barnyard animals into believing that they did not like apples and milk, while he and Napoleon were stealing the food for themselves. In Russia, the media carried out propaganda on the people by putting stories in the newspapers that were not true.
Events in the novel were also very well paralleled to the Russian Revolution. Such as when Napoleon orders animals to confess to crimes that they have not committed. Untold millions of party, industry, and military leaders disappeared during the Great Terror (Stalin, Joseph, Encarta). The Great Terror was when Stalin installed fear into the hearts of his rivals and the rest of the country. He arrested, killed and sent people away to concentration camps with much help from his KGB.
Another item that is similar in both Animal Farm and Russia are the dogs and the KGB. Napoleon trained his dogs when they were puppies to guard him and to obey his every command. They chased Snowball away much like how Stalin exiled Trotsky out of USSR and was later killed by a Stalinist agent. Stalin trained his secret police to do his bidding whenever he issued an order. This parallels to when Napoleon kills animals for doing nothing but are forced to admit to breaking one of the seven commandments. Trotsky and the “man of steel,” Stalin jockeyed for power. (Russian Rev., members.aol.com)
Boxer was the work horse on the farm and did his best for whoever led the farm. His motto Napoleon is always right, showed that he trusted and respected his leader to the point when he died. This is ironic because when Boxer got hurt Napoleon sent him away to be made into glue. Boxer can be compared to the working class in Russia who worked hard throughout the Russian Revolution despite the hard working conditions.
The only good character in Animal Farm is named Benjamin because he is one of the only animals that didn t believe in Animalism. Benjamin knew that life would always go the same and that is, badly. Benjamin was like all the skeptics in Russia who thought the revolution wouldn t change anything. They were also the ones who remembered how life used to be before the revolution.
Another important character in the novel is Moses the raven. Moses is used first by Mr. Jones and then by Napoleon to take the animals minds off their work. He talked of a place called Sugarcandy Mountain where it was Sunday seven days a week. Moses is like the Church in Russia that seemed to be used for political power and to give people a reason to work hard.
In conclusion George Orwell excellently portrayed the Russian Revolution by using animals and symbolism to get his point across. I believe the novel had two major points. The first being communism doesn t work, and the second being power corrupts but absolute power corrupts completely. I found it amusing how George compared Russian politicians to pigs.
“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.” (ch. X, Animal Farm) “None of you has ever seen a dead donkey.”