Animal Farm: Its Parallels to European History

Topics: Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, Russia Pages: 9 (3101 words) Published: March 4, 2007
Animal Farm is not just a novel for entertainment; it is a historical satire: a satire on European History. George Orwell was concerned with the spread of communism throughout Europe and the world and the oppression that took place under it. He hoped to bring awareness to the problem, and did so with his novel, Animal Farm. He wrote Animal Farm to parallel the events in European history concerning the Bolshevik Revolution and the communists' rise to power. He used a wide variety of characters, scenes, and objects in the novel to represent important peoples, places, and events that were pivotal to the history of the time.

In Animal Farm, Mr. Jones represents the last Czar of Russia, Czar Nicholas II (Sparknotes). Mr. Jones repeatedly abuses and mistreates his animals, through acts of whippings, lack of adequate food, and harsh labor (Orwell). After a night in which he forgets to feed his animals, the animals break into food supply and begin to feed themselves. Jones and his men attempt to stop the animals but are chased off and away from the farm (Orwell). Shortly before the animals revolt, Mr. Jones and his men go "rabbitting" in which they try to rid the farm of rabbits that aredestroying the crops. Mr. Jones and his men's' attempt at "rabbitting" parallels Czar Nicholas II's attempt to maintain law and order in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution, as the rabbits of the farm represent the lower social classes of Russia, who begin to start waves of violence throughout the cities before the revolution (Newspeak). The animal's revolt against Mr. Jones parallels the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, in which the people of Russia ousted Czar Nicholas II after years of oppression and poverty, paralleling the lack of food and harsh punishments for the animals.

The animals of Animal Farm represent the people of Russia, but individual pigs mirror key people in the history of Russia. In the beginning, the pigs represent the Intelligentsia, the smartest people in Russia to lead the country in the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution, because the pigs are the smartest animals on the farm after the revolt and they lead the farm right after the revolt. Afterwards the pigs are voted to be the leaders due to their smarts, a precise parallel to the Intelligentsia (Sparknotes).

Old Major is an elderly pig on the farm that sees a better future for the animals of the farm. He sees a farm for animals to be equal and lead peaceful lives, without the interference of humans; he calls it Animalism. He states that the only way for the animals to achieve this, is through a revolution (Orwell). Old Major is a representation of Karl Marx, the creator of Socialism. Karl Marx's socialism hoped to create a better world for its followers. Marx's followers were workers, as he believed they should rule the people. He believed the only way to achieve this was through a revolution of some kind. Both Karl Marx's socialism and Old Major's Animalism wanted to create a better world for its followers. They both believed the only way to achieve their goals was through a revolution, and they both believed the workers should rule (workers in Animalism being the animals) (Sparknotes).

Another pig that represents a famous historical: Napoleon is the pig that succeeds to continue Old Major's Animalism. He, at first, upholds all of Old Major's rules about Animalism, but as the story moves on, he begins to abuse his power by assuming all leadership, removing all opposition and then installing fear in all the animals through his force of dogs, who will attack anyone that doesn't follow his rules. He twists Old Major's rules to suit his needs, such as when he twists the rule of no animals were to drink alcohol, to no animals were to alcohol in excess (Orwell). These events directly parallel the Russian leader, Joseph Stalin. Like Napoleon's twist of Animalism, Stalin twisted Socialism into his own, to create communism, having complete control of Russia....

Cited: Kuhn, Rick. 20 Apr. 2006 The Internationale. 22 Feb.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Penguin Books Ltd., 1996.
"Purge Trials." Encyclopedia Britannica
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