George Orwell's novel Animal Farm does an excellent job of drawing
parallels from the situation leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Animal Farm is a satire that uses its characters to symbolize leaders of
the Russian Revolution. The animals of "Manor Farm", the setting of this
novel, which symbolizes Russia, overthrow their human master after years of
mistreatment. Led by the pigs, the farm animals continue to do their work,
only with more pride, knowing that they are working for themselves, as
opposed to working for their human master, Farmer Jones. Slowly over time
the pigs gain power and take advantage of the other animals. They gain so
much power that they become just as power hungry and corrupt as their human
master. The theme in the novel being that in every society there are
leaders who will, if given the chance, likely abuse their position.
Old Major is a prize white boar who helps point out to the animals that no
animal in England is free. He continues to tell the animals that the their
labor is stolen by man, who benefits alone. The animals in return get near
nothing, just enough to keep them away from starvation. Old Major gave
many speeches to the farm animals about hope and the future. He is the
main animal who got the rebellion started even though he died before it
actually began. Old Major's role compares to Lenin and Marx whose ideas
would spark the communist revolution. Lenin became the leader and teacher
of the working class in Russia, and their determination to struggle against
capitalism. Like Old Major, Lenin and Marx wrote essays and gave speeches
to the working class poor. The working class in Russia, as compared with
the barnyard animals in Animal Farm, were a laboring class of people that
received low wages for their work. Old major tells the animals that the
source of the problem is man, they must overthrow man to abolish tyranny
and hunger. Soon Old Major does die, but his words still echo in the
hearts of all the animals. With the leadership of the pigs, the smartest
animals, they repel against the human and gain complete control of the
farm. This would symbolize the Russian Revolution.
Another parallel represented in the book is Farmer Jones. His character
is similar to the politician Czar Nicholas who treated his people similar
to how Farmer Jones treated his animals. The animal rebellion on the farm
was started because Farmer Jones was a drunk who never took care of the
animals. This made them very angry, fed by the words of Old Major the
animals decided to rebel like the Russians. Czar Nicholas was a very weak
man who treated his people similar to how Farmer Jones treated his animals.
The Czar made his working class people very uneasy with the way he used
his authority and preached all the time, and the people suffered and
finally demanded reform by rebelling.
The animal Napoleon can be compared as a character representing Stalin in
Russia. Both were very mean looking, didn't talk very much but always got
what they wanted through force. In one part of the book Napoleon had the
dogs charge Snowball, another animal, as soon as he thought that the pigs
were becoming corrupt. Stalin became the Soviet Leader after the death of
Lenin. He was underestimated by his opponents who always became his
victims, and he had one of the most ruthless, regimes in history. In was
not till very many years later that the world found out about the many
deaths that Stalin created in Russia during the Revolution.
Another strong parrael would is the character of Snowball with the
Russian leader Trotsky. Snowball was very enthusiastic and was a leader
who organized the defense of the farm. He gave speeches and instructions
but was not very beneficial. All the other animals liked him, but he was
outsmarted by Napoleon. Trotsky and Stalin's relationship was very much
like Snowball's and Napoleons. Trotsky organized the Red Army and gave
speeches and everyone in Russia thought he would win power over Stalin.
After Lenin's death Trotsky lost all his power to Stalin and was expelled
from the communist party.
George Orwell has created a masterpiece which is excellent if it is read
without any prior knowledge to the situation in Russia. However the added
element does wonders for this novel. Orwell is a genius and he has
cleverly hidden the satire in such an excellent way, that everything fits
into the picture like a