George Orwell

George Orwell was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. His work is best known for lucid prose, biting social criticism, total opposition to totalitarianism and outspoken support of democratic socialism.

George Orwell’s book “Animal Farm” was published in 1945. From a literal point of view, it is a fairly simple story about a group of farm animals rebelling against their human owner and throwing him (Mr. Jones) off his own farm. In this story, the farm animals are driven by a dream of creating a Utopia for themselves where there will be freedom, equality and contentment for all of them.

The farm is turned over to the animals and gets the official name of Animal farm. Although after a while, the pigs, among all other ordinary animals, corrupt the rebellion by their lust for political power.

The pigs claim more and more farm assets for themselves which was originally meant for all other animals, they even steal a lot of farm resources to sell them in the human market and buy human luxuries like whiskey, which was strictly against the original aim of the animal rebellion. They get more and more violent in order to establish more control over the farm, they use the tactic of taming infant puppies and teaching them to protect the pigs and be hostile towards the animals when they grow up to being fearsome, ruthless dogs. They start erasing and modifying their history, changing commandments of animalism and the story of the battle of cowshed (where they had fought and won against a handful of armed landowners and their own master they had chased away). The animals realise that their lives are exactly what it was before the rebellion and worse because most of them didn’t even understand this. They’re eventually brainwashed into believing otherwise. The pigs start ordering executions for the animals that get too bold to question them.

In the final pages of Animal Farm, the animals watched as the pigs drink whiskey and play cards with other landowners after ascertaining trade among other things with them. Gradually, the animals become aware of the fact that the pigs have started losing resemblance to animals, and they can no longer differentiate humans from pigs, and pigs from humans.

Animal farm’s connection to the Russian revolution

Animal farm is also said to be an allegory to the Russian (or Bolshevik) revolution of 1917. The story of Animal farm is directly parallel to what happened with the Russian revolution. The animals rebel for equality and freedom for all of them, the idea runs close to USSR’s communism. The revolution gave birth to a government that turned out to be even more oppressive, totalitarian, and deadly than the one it initially overthrew. The characters “Old Major”, “Snowball” and “Napoleon” among others represent the dominant figures of the Russian revolution.

  • The Old Major is the character that implants the idea of animal rebellion and animalism among the farm animals. He represents Karl Marx, who implanted the idea of communism in Bolshevik Russia, of which the ideals behind it are soon forgotten. The Old Major’s character also runs parallel to Vladimir Lenin, like whom the old major called for rebellion and whose ideas were used as its foundation.
  • Mr. Jones represents Czar Nicholas II. The old Major describes Mr. Jones and other humans to be the only creatures who consume without producing, under the Czarist regime, the landowners oppressed in a similar way over the peasants.
  • Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, who was leading the Red Army. Trotsky escaped from the Soviet Union and went into exile after losing power struggle with Stalin.
  • Napoleon’s character runs parallel to Joseph Stalin. Both of their greed for power and wealth leave behind any ideals they might have believed in. Napoleon, like Stalin-   who was in due course accountable for the death of millions of Soviet citizens, turns into a totalitarian ruler.
  • Boxer and other animals symbolise the Proletariat, the members of the working class who do not have adequate education or information to comprehend the effects of the choices made by their leaders and rulers. They depicted the fate of the working class under communism.

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