George Orwell's novel Animal Farm does an excellent job of
drawing parallels from the situation leading up to 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 human 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 in the novel being that in every society there
are leaders who will, if given the chance, likely abuse their
position. Old Major is a prize white boar who helps point out to
the animals that no animal in England is free. He continues to
tell the animals that the their labor is stolen by man, who
benefits alone. 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 Lenin and
Marx whose ideas would spark the communist revolution. Lenin
became the leader and teacher of the working class in Russia, and
their determination to struggle against capitalism. Like Old
Major, Lenin and 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, they
must overthrow man to abolish tyranny and hunger. Soon Old Major
does die, but his words still echo in the hearts of all the
animals. With the leadership of the pigs, the smartest
animals, they repel against the human and gain complete control
of the farm. This would symbolize the Russian Revolution.
Another parallel represented in the book is Farmer Jones.
His character is similar to the politician Czar Nicholas who
treated his people similar to how Farmer Jones treated his
animals. 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, fed by the words of Old Major the
animals decided to rebel like the Russians. Czar Nicholas was a
very weak man who treated his people similar to how Farmer Jones
treated his animals.
The Czar made his working class people very uneasy with the
way he used his authority and preached all the time, and the
people suffered and finally demanded reform by rebelling.
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 one part of the book Napoleon had the dogs charge
Snowball, another animal, as soon as he thought that the pigs
were becoming corrupt. Stalin became the Soviet Leader after the
death of Lenin. He was underestimated by his opponents who
always became his victims, and he had one of the most ruthless,
regimes in history. In was not till very many years later that
the world found out about the many deaths that Stalin created in
Russia during the Revolution.
Another strong parrael 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.
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.
George Orwell has created a masterpiece which is excellent
if it is read without any prior knowledge to the situation in
Russia. However the added element does wonders for this novel.
Orwell is a genius and he has cleverly hidden the satire in such
an excellent way, that everything fits into the picture like a
jigsaw puzzle. I give this book five stars. This rating is
given for many reasons. It is a very easy read and quite
enjoyable to many levels of education.
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