Symbolism in Animal Farm
Animal Farm is almost a direct parallel to Russia during the time of World War I through World War II. The characters all have real life counterparts that are easily seen. The events are also all real and conveyed in the novel in an easily understood way. The novel creates a new way to look at the events that transpired during this time period and allows people to really understand what happened. In Animal Farm, George Orwell employs many symbols to convey the parallelism between the novel and World War I and World War II in Russia.
The characters in Orwell’s Animal Farm represent real people that played major roles in World War I. Farmer Jones is the owner of the farm before the animal uprising. He represents Czar Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia before communism took hold. Napoleon is the main dictator archetype in the novel. He represents Joseph Stalin. Stalin was the dictator of communist Russia during the time of World War I. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky. Trotsky played a large part in the Russian Revolution but as Stalin gained more power, the two became enemies, much like the relationship between Napoleon and Snowball. The preface of Animal Farm provides evidence of these comparisons by saying, “Stalin and Trotsky, after all, were unmistakably Orwell’s feuding pigs, Napoleon and Snowball” (Orwell viii). Other minor characters also represent real life people. Boxer, the horse, represents the Proletariat. Boxer and Clover, who is also a horse, both represent the working class; “those who should realize they are being exploited but do not because of their own laziness or apathy” (Orwell, George 6). Mollie, another horse, also represents the working class but as part of the upper class who was still faithful to the czar. She does not participate in the revolution and misses the perks she used to receive when Farmer Jones was in charge. She eventually runs away. Another animal who is unhappy is Benjamin. Benjamin is a donkey who is “the cynical intellectual who refuses to get involved in politics and so fails to affect meaningful change” (Animal Farm 6). Moses, the raven, represents the Russian Orthodox Church. He sits around telling the stories to the animals of a perfect place where animals go after they die and do not work. Napoleon wants to get rid of him but cannot. Napoleon counters Moses’ preachers with his own brand of teachings. Squealer represents “Pravda”, the newspaper of the Ministry of Propaganda. Squealer helps to spread the “truth” that Napoleon approves. Other associates of Napoleon are Farmer Pilkington and Farmer Frederick. Farmer Pilkington and Foxwood Farm are like England under Churchill’s leadership. Farmer Frederick and Pinchfield Farm symbolize Hitler’s Germany. A published author speaking about Animal Farm said that “like Hitler, Frederick is treacherous” (Bloom 6).
The events in Orwell’s Animal Farm also embody real events that happened in the World War I time period. The animal uprising represents the 1917 Russian Revolution. The animals rose up against Farmer Jones to take the farm from him. In the Russian Revolution, the Russian people rose up against Czar Nicholas II because of awful living conditions and corruption. A quote that shows the parallelism of the discontent is, “Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs…yet he is lord of all animal. He set them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum…and the rest he keeps for himself” (Orwell 4). The Russian people were unhappy with how Czar Nicholas II and his family lived in luxury while they starved in the streets. The animals were unhappy with Farmer Jones for this same reason. This creates the need for another leader to arise. Napoleon and Snowball both rise up, but Snowball is soon run out of the farm by Napoleon’s lies. Napoleon is ruthless but clever. He has many followers that convince the others of his greatness, like...
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