Overview of "Animal Farm" by George Orwel

Animal Farm is an allegorical novella published by George Orwell in England on August 17,1945. This novel is about a group of farm animals that come together to evacuate the human farm owner because of how tired they were of him basically using them as slaves. Once they successfully evict the farm owner, they then take over the farm and make their own government with two pigs being their main leader. However, one thing turns to the other and eventually after some altercations amongst themselves, one pig turns into their leader and rules a dictatorship-type government.

As a result, things in the farm begin to take a toll as there is a lot of problems between the animals in that small community and eventually everything in that farm turns out to be much worse than what they started with. Animal Farm symbolizes the events that led up to the Russian Revolution in 1917 and to the later events that led up to the ruling of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union or the “Stalinist Era.

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” The allegorical novella portrays many political leaders and the citizens of Russia and the Soviet Union as being represented by a group of farm animals. George Orwell wisely shows in this novel how there was a lot of betrayal in between the animals, which again, were the political leaders and citizens involved in the Russian Revolution and the Stalinist Era, by showing how some once-allies quickly turned into enemies all because of the focus that they each had on having the most power that they could attain.

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George Orwell also symbolizes in this novel how everything was once going great amongst the animals in the farm, but then political power and disagreements led to the downfall of their land and government just like how the Russian and the Soviet Union governments had a downfall of their own.

Animal Farm consists of a bunch of characters, from pigs to horses to dogs, each representing a political figure in the era of the Russian Revolution and the Stalinist Era. First off, the novel starts by introducing a boar by the name of “Old Major.” Old Major is introduced as a prize-winning boar and basically the leader of the farm animals when they are still living in the Manor Farm and under the influence of the human farm owner, Mr. Jones. “Old Major is a composite of Karl Marx and Vladimir Uyich Lenin, the major theorist and the key revolutionary leader of Communism, respectively”. (Rodden). Old Major gathers all of the animals in the farm and tells about a dream he had on how animals would not live under the influence of human beings but rather work together and keep each other under their own rule. Old Major also teaches the farm animals a song called “Beasts of England” which is an oath to show loyalty to the animal rule and it is used as a battle cry when fighting off the humans from the farm which later was called “Animal Farm” instead of “Manor Farm.” However, three days after giving out the speech about his dream, Old Major unfortunately passes away. As a result, that triggered three young pigs by the names of: Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer to speak Old Major’s dream into existence by successfully taking over the farm and them becoming the leaders of the Animal Farm. Napoleon and Snowball are the main leaders of the Animal Farm, they each represent a political figure which were: “Napoleon is Stalin whereas Snowball is Trotsky of the regime” (KÖSEMAN) and they start off positively working together and keeping everyone happy in their small community. However, there eventually came a time in which there was a disagreement between Snowball, which represents former Russian-Soviet politician, Leon Trotsky and Napoleon, which represents former dictator of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin. However, Snowball not only represented Leon Trotsky, but his name also had a meaning behind it. The name of Snowball makes us think of the actual snowball which tends to get bigger over time but it still can get easily destroyed. Snowball wanted to build an electricity-generating windmill, but Napoleon opposed to that suggestion and as a result, they each had to give out a speech to see which decision the other animals chose. Snowball was an intelligent leader that a lot of the animals liked, and Snowball did receive a lot of positivity from his speech because of how good he was at persuasion. However, when it was Napoleons turn to give out his speech on why it was a bad idea to build the windmill, his speech was rather vague and did not receive much attention. As a result, Napoleon knew that he was not going to win the battle by giving out a speech, so he called to the nine dogs that he educated early in the novel and had them escort Snowball out of the farm, making him the new and only ruler of the Animal Farm, which again, brings back meaning to the name “Snowball” because he was still easily destroyed by Napoleon. When Napoleon expels Snowball from the farm, it is a symbol of how Stalin escorted Trotsky from Russia. After Napoleon was able to kick Snowball out of the farm, he was able to have full power and command of the whole farm. Just in case, Napoleon ordered his nine dogs, which in this case represents the army and the units that Joseph Stalin had, to execute any other members that he felt would be a problem to his power since they had loyalty and respect to Snowball when he was around. Joseph Stalin did the same after he escorted Leon Trotsky from the office by eliminating political members to hire new ones that he trusted. Once Snowball was gone, Napoleon changed his mind over the building of the windmill, so he ordered for it to be built. After a storm knocked over the windmill, animals around the farm complained on how the walls were too thin for it to be protected. However, Napoleon used his thinking skills correctly by convincing the animals that it was Snowball who thrashed the windmill to make the animals think of Snowball negatively. This then led to some horrific decisions that Napoleon started to make around the farm and the other animals quickly noticed and complained about it. However, Squealer, Napoleon’s propagandist, started to convince the other animals that Napoleon was making wise choices in his decisions to improve the farm by a large margin. Squealer’s propagandas represent the ways in which those in power like to change up the truth in order to maintain political and social power in their region. Although Squealer did have his way with words, the common animals, which represented the citizens during the Stalinist era, still felt that their operator was awful at doing their job. However, there was one individual that despite all the second thoughts on Napoleon’s decisions, Boxer would still follow Napoleon’s orders no matter what had to be done. In this novel, Boxer represents all of the workers, from the army to political figures, that would work for Joseph Stalin because they would have to complete difficult tasks that no typical human being would do for the cruelty that those tasks contained. However, despite all of Boxer’s loyalty to Napoleon, when things started to crumble even more in the farm under Napoleon’s rule, Boxer was closing in on his last days due to the wounds that he received in battle. One day, Boxer went missing and Squealer stated that he had passed away peacefully in a hospital but in reality, Napoleon had sold Boxer to a glue market in order to make money to buy whiskey for himself. This shows that no matter how hard people worked for Joseph Stalin, he would do anything to benefit his own power or to raise his economic status. Most of the animals played a huge role in this novel because they each represented a political figure or other individuals that were involved during the Russian Revolution and the Stalinist Era which was a big turning point in the history of Europe.

The Animal Farm itself obviously represented the Soviet Union and Russia under the communist rule of Joseph Stalin. It included its citizens, which were the common animals, that were all hypnotized by the Seven Commandments which reminded them to stay loyal to their customs no matter the circumstance. The Seven Commandments were a set of rules that had to be followed by each member of the farm and they could never be broken. Just like the Animal Farm had the Seven Commandments, all those under the rule of Joseph Stalin had to follow the rules and customs of communism when living in that territory. On the Barn, where the Seven Commandments were painted on, there was a lot of revising and editing that was done to the Seven Commandments. The Seven Commandments were ordered to be change by Napoleon himself in order to increase his power so that he could do illegal acts with no one to complain about since they were written in the barn. Napoleon was able to change the whole history that the animals had because of the unbelievable power that he had with the nine dogs that would cause fear all around the farm. Napoleon could not be touched by any of the animals and changing the Seven Commandments clearly proved it. Joseph Stalin indeed did change the political history that Russia and the Soviet Union had in order to make life easier for him and to attain higher power. Speaking of the topic of power, public projects was a main task the Joseph Stalin would create because of the benefits that he would receive economically, eventually converting into his own power. Despite of all the urgency of food and shelter that the citizens cried for, Joseph Stalin ignored all of those cries and had tunnel vision on his own power. Likewise, Napoleon did not care what the other animals thought of the project of building the windmill because he knew that in the end, the windmill would cause him to have more power and have more wealth. Napoleon was a cruel leader because he felt unstoppable and because of his selfishness, all of the animals in that farm hated him as a leader. Eventually, that selfishness would turn against Napoleon when the farm was attacked by another neighboring farmer and everything in the Animal Farm went downhill after that occasion. Joseph Stalin was hated all around the world, especially by his people because of how self-minded he was and how he did not consider the people’s opinions. Although Joseph Stalin did save his country from the Nazi invasion, he is still remembered as a cruel leader because of his terrorist ways of getting tasks done. That proves that in order to be looked as an astounding leader, you have to contribute to your people for they are the number one asset when ruling a region.

All in all, George Orwell did an amazing job at analogizing the Animal Farm to Russia and the Soviet Union in this allegorical novel. George Orwell made it much easier to understand just how cruel Joseph Stalin was when leading by making it the simplest way possible by analogizing it with a group of farm animals. Orwell was a genius in the way he perfectly depicts the animals to match the political figure that they each represent. Each animal in the novel had a big role to play, so George Orwell did it with such detail in order to illustrate just how each political figure actually was in real life. It is known that George Orwell was a socialist himself, which is what Joseph Stalin ran with when he was ruling, but he did state that Joseph Stalin learned the ways of socialism in a terrible and violent manner that was not necessary at all for him to reach his goals. “In his preface to Animal Farm, Orwell says: ‘It was the utmost importance to me that people in western Europe should see the Soviet regime for what it really was. Since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call socialism.’'(Miller). George Orwell did an amazing job by making sure that people up to this day stay aware of how just cruel Joseph Stalin was despite of him being able to keep his country from being invaded by the Nazis. When writing Animal Farm with such cleverness, George Orwell spoke his heart out and was able to make it known that Joseph Stalin should never be looked as a good leader because no man that was responsible for the deaths of many innocent people, should be looked at positively.

Works Cited

  1. KÖSEMAN, Zennure. “Psychoanalitical Outlook for Orwell’s Coming Up for Air, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Gaziantep University Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 15, no. 3, July 2016, pp. 867–880. EBSCOhost, doi:10.21547/jss.256703.
  2. Miller, Stephen. “Orwell Once More.” Sewanee Review, vol. 112, no. 4, Fall 2004, pp. 595–618. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.southtexascollege.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=16298942&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
  3. Rodden, John. “Appreciating Animal Farm in the New Millennium.” Modern Age, vol. 45, no. 1, Winter 2003, p. 67. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.southtexascollege.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9406853&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

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Overview of "Animal Farm" by George Orwel. (2021, Mar 22). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/overview-of-animal-farm-by-george-orwel-essay

Overview of "Animal Farm" by George Orwel

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