Animal Farm


Symbols and Themes

Symbols are those things in a novel that stand for something else. Given that so many of the characters in the novel actually symbolize historic people, one must look at the characters to see whom they symbolize. Furthermore, there are elements in the story that stand for historic events. Still, it would be wrong to view the novel solely as a political allegory. Because of its broader impact, it is important to look at how elements of the story symbolize broad concepts as well as specific people or events.

Old Major - Old Major is a symbol of the major Socialist thinkers, Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. His age symbolizes wisdom. Moreover, he is respected by the animals on the farm and is seen as a de facto leader on the farm. However, like Marx and Lenin, he would be around to help inspire a revolution, but would not be there to lead for a substantial period of time following the revolution.

“Beasts of England” – “Beasts of England” is a symbol for the writings of Marx—most likely Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. Like these documents, the song “Beasts of England” outlines how the animals of England have been misused and offers a proposed remedy for their mistreatment.

Napoleon - Napoleon symbolizes Joseph Stalin, who initially helped lead Russia in a revolution for the people but, like Napoleon, became a brutal dictator who ruled through fear, intimidation, and violence.

Snowball – Snowball symbolizes Leon Trotsky, who challenged Stalin’s leadership of Russia. Like Snowball, Trotsky was removed from power and exiled from Russia.

Boxer - Boxer symbolizes the members of the working class who continued to support Stalin after the Russian Revolution, despite seeing no benefits in their living conditions.

Squealer – Squealer symbolizes all of the propagandists used in Stalinist Russia, as well as propaganda in other dictatorships.

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Essays About Animal Farm