Animal Farm Essay, Research Paper
The purpose of a revolution, as history has shown, is to fight some sort of political
or social injustice suffered by a group of the general public. Typically a minority of the
population, in search of a better lifestyle fights back against the oppression they have
been forced to endure. History is full of countless examples of this. Two such notable
revolutions are the French and Russian movements, though they occurred at completely
different time periods they share common similarities. Many times in the course of a
revolution the initial goals of the revolting group are enjoyed and for a short period of
time a general sense of accomplishment is felt by the induction of new ideas. However as
seen in the French and Russian revolutions the leadership that was so strongly opposed is
returned to power with little change noted on the surface.
Author George Orwell in his recent novel Animal Farm writes a very effective
political allegory of not only the Russian Revolution but of movements of the same
nature. So transparent are the obvious links to the revolution that it took the acclaimed
author several publisher rejections, including his own, to finally find one who would
publish his book. Included in the reasons for rejection were the fear of the impact on
wartime needs and policies, and the opinion that Orwell’s satirical view was to strong
given the present political climate. None the less the novel was published by Frederic
Warburg, and rightfully so, as the tale of the Animal Farm is written to almost perfection
and has been called by many one of the best written books of our time.
The Russian revolution is one of the only revolutions in history that can be
compared to the French revolution in size and outcome. Orwell’s impression of such a
movement seems to be clouded by his negative interpretation of the actions of those in
power. Animal Farm’s use of satirical attacks on the revolution and it’s key players is a
perfect depiction of Orwell’s and those outside of Russia, especially in Britain, view.
Orwell’s story at the Manor farm takes the reader through the course of a revolution, from
Marxist views to the reign of Stalin or in his story Napoleon.
Through what Orwell calls a fairy tale, his characters represent the major figures
and themes of Russia under the revolution. The character Mr. Jones is the cruel and
irresponsible farmer who mistreated his animals and who was suffering from financial
difficulties, can clearly be a representation of Czar Nicholas II. Who as we all know was
at best a poor leader unable to properly govern. Karl Marx’s socialist order and ideas of
communism and equality that take front and center stage in Russia are the driving force
behind the initial revolutionary ideas in history and the novel. Marxist views are solely
brought to the forefront by the character Old Major who inspires the revolution and like
Marx devises the concept of animalism a clear parallel to communism. Animalism
preaches the equality of all animals, wild or domestic no matter the circumstances.
Unfortunately like communism, the human (in this case the animal) tendency for a
hierarchy of some sort quickly abolishes the ideas of equality. Orwell’s ability to deliver
this message in such a precise manner only strengthens the foundations for his argument
against such revolutions.
Leon Trotsky who by many was considered to be a diehard communist with the
goal of unquestionable equality for all Russians is nobly represented in Orwell’s tale.
Many who have criticized the novel so far have labeled it a pro-Trotsky novel. Evidence
of this is countless an quite apparent with the character of Snowball. One may consider
such a view point as the only flaw in the novel, while others may appreciate the Orwell
message that much more through his depiction. Snowball who like Trotsky is a good
speaker with idealistic goals for the equality of animals, tragically is exiled from his
position by the other leader of revolution, Stalin. Orwell’s character of Napoleon is by no
stretch of the imagination the most clear allegory in the novel. His characteristics as a
leader are a perfect satirical representation with those of Stalin. Napoleons ambitions for
power lead to his own personal corruption and the alienation of his followers.
Orwell’s brilliant comparisons continue and include; propaganda of Lenin’s
government being represented by a pig named Squealer, the KGB’s influential and many
times brutish behavior is found with Napoleon’s vicious dogs. The dedicated but tricked
general public of Russia are seen by the reader in the eyes and hard work of Boxer.
Delivering his message in such a manner, Orwell is able to satirically deliver what
many political or social commentators are unable to. Without directly discussing the
points of the Russian revolution his message is that much stronger. If instead Orwell had
decided to perhaps write a critical essay on the subject, though his message would be
direct and upfront, the effectiveness of his view would be lost. Also considering the
current political turmoil, an essay of such nature would have a very low probability of
any exposure. Such a writing style provides a greater circulation for his beliefs. It is
hard to imagine an essay of the same beliefs to be enjoyed by so many readers nation
wide and soon internationally. One could compare his method of writing to those of
writers during the French revolution. Though many of those authors feared prosecution
for their writings, they used satires and sarcastic remarks in well written pamphlets,
articles and dictionaries to have a chance to voice their true opinions. Their writings
were therefore more telling and had the ability to discuss subjects which were not
Though the attack on the Russian revolution is what is first felt by the reader, it is
difficult to dispel Orwell’s feelings against revolutions of the same nature which he
describes in his own words to be “violent conspiratorial revolution, led by unconsciously
power-hungry people”. With the only conclusion to such revolutions to be a change in
master. Though it is well known how deep Orwell’s true feelings are regarding ideas of
revolutions, the novel still serves as a template to the downside and in many cases the
harsh reality of revolutions.