Symbolism in Animal Farm

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The novel Animal Farm is a satire of the Russian revolution, and therefore full of symbolism. Generally, Orwell associates certain real characters with the characters of the book. Here is a list of the characters and things and their meaning: Mr. Jones: Mr. Jones is one of Orwell's major (or at least most obvious) villain in Animal Farm. Orwell says that at one time Jones was actually a decent master to his animals. At this time the farm was thriving. But in recent years the farm had fallen on harder times and the opportunity was seen to revolt. The world-wide depression began in the United States when the stock market crashed in October of 1929. The depression spread throughout the world because American exports were so dependent on Europe. The U.S. was also a major contributor to the world market economy. Germany along with the rest of Europe was especially hard hit. The parallels between crop failure of the farm and the depression in the 1930s are clear. Only the leaders and the die-hard followers ate their fill during this time period. Mr. Jones symbolises (in addition to the evils of capitalism) Czar Nicholas II, the leader before Stalin (Napoleon). Jones represents the old government, the last of the Czars. What does Orwell suggest?

Orwell suggests that Jones was losing his "edge". In fact, he and his men had taken up the habit of drinking. Old Major reveals his feelings about Jones and his administration when he says, "Man is the only creature that consumes without producing….” (Pg 16). So Jones and the old government are successfully uprooted by the animals. Little do they know history will repeat itself with Napoleon and the pigs. Old Major: Old Major is the first major character described by Orwell in Animal Farm. This "prize Middle White boar" is the kind, grandfatherly philosopher of change - an obvious metaphor for Karl Marx. Old Major proposes a solution to the animals’ desperate plight under the Jones ‘administration’ when he inspires a rebellion among the animals. Of course the actual time of the revolt is untold. It could be the next day or several generations down the road. But Old Major's philosophy is only an ideal. After his death, three days after the barn-yard speech, the socialism he professes is drastically altered. How? When Napoleon and the other pigs begin to dominate. It's interesting that Orwell does not mention Napoleon or Snowball at any time during the great speech of old Major. This shows how distant and out-of-touch they really were; the ideals Old Major proclaimed seemed to not even have been considered when they were establishing their new government after the successful revolt. It almost seems as though the pigs fed off old Major's inspiration and then used it to benefit themselves (an interesting twist of capitalism) instead of following through on the old Major's honest proposal. This could be Orwell's attempt to dig Stalin, whom many consider to be someone who totally ignored Marx's political and social theory. What does Orwell want to show through Old Major's apparent naivety? Orwell concludes that no society is perfect, no pure socialist civilisation can exist, and there is no way of escaping the evil grasp of capitalism. Unfortunately, when Napoleon and Squealer take over, old Major becomes more and more a distant fragment of the past in the minds of the farm animals. Napoleon: Napoleon is Orwell's chief villain in Animal Farm. The name Napoleon is very appropriate since Napoleon, the dictator of France, was thought by many to be the Anti-Christ. Napoleon, the pig, is really the central character on the farm. Obviously a metaphor for Stalin, Comrade Napoleon represents the human frailties of any revolution. Orwell believed that although socialism is good as an ideal, it can never be successfully adopted due to the uncontrollable sins of human nature. For example, although Napoleon seems at first to be a good leader, he is eventually overcome by greed and soon...
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