Animal Farm: An Allegory Of Russian History

1058 words - 4 pages

Animal Farm is an allegory of the period in Russian history between 1917 and 1944. It is a satirical story written in the form of an animal fable. In writing Animal Farm as a fable, George Orwell is able to present his subject in simple symbolic terms by treating the development of communism as a story that is taking place on a single farm with talking animals. The characters of Animal Farm represent figures in Russian history during the Russian Revolution. Places, objects, and events of the Russian Revolution are also symbolized in Animal Farm.

One of the main characters of Animal Farm is an allegorical parallel of Joseph Stalin. Napoleon is the pig that emerges as the leader of Animal Farm after the Rebellion. He represents the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in Animal Farm, but can easily stand for any of the great dictators in world history. Napoleon seems at first to be a good leader, but he is eventually overcome by greed and becomes power-hungry. Stalin was the same in Russia, leaving the original equality of socialism behind, giving himself all the power and living in luxury while the peasants suffered. While Stalin’s national and international status flourished, the welfare of Russia remained unchanged. In Animal Farm, Orwell writes a similar thing: “Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves richer – except of course the pigs and the dogs.” In the novel, Napoleon openly seizes power for himself by using the dogs he trained to chase Snowball off Animal Farm. He banishes Snowball with no justification and rewrites history in order to further his own ends. Similarly, Stalin forced Trotsky from Russia and seized control of Russia. Stalin used his secret police to kill Trotsky, not just chase him out of Russia. Napoleon transforms the exiled Snowball into a despicable enemy, which mirrors Stalin’s abuse of the exiled Trotsky. This phenomenon is not unique to Russia or Animal Farm: it happens throughout the world. Governments have done similar things to improve their standing by blaming an invisible enemy. The purges and show trials with which Stalin eliminated his enemies and cemented his power mirrors the false confessions and executions of animals that Napoleon distrusts after the windmill collapse. Stalin’s tyrannical rule and abandonment of the founding principles of the Russian Revolution are represented by Napoleon’s turn to violent government and the adoption of human traits and behaviours.

Animal Farm symbolizes Russia and the Soviet Union under communist party rule. But more generally, Animal Farm stands for any human society, be it capitalist, socialist, fascist, or communist. It possesses the internal structure of a nation, with a government (the pigs), a police force or army (the dogs), and a working class (other animals). Its location amidst a number of hostile neighbouring farms supports its symbolism as Russia.

The Farmhouse in the story is a...

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