“Animal Farm,” written by George Orwell and published in 1945, is a classic novella that serves as a powerful allegory of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent development of the Soviet Union. An allegory is a literary device where characters, events, and settings represent abstract ideas or moral qualities, often with a secondary, deeper meaning.
Summary of “Animal Farm”: The story begins with a group of farm animals led by pigs who rebel against their human farmer, Mr. Jones, seeking freedom and equality. The pigs, particularly Snowball and Napoleon, take charge and establish a new society based on the principles of “Animalism.” However, over time, the pigs betray the ideals of the revolution, and the farm descends into a dictatorship under Napoleon.
Characters as Historical Figures:
- Old Major: Represents Karl Marx, who developed the theories of communism and socialism.
- Napoleon: Represents Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union after Lenin.
- Snowball: Represents Leon Trotsky, an influential figure in the early Soviet Union who was eventually exiled and eliminated by Stalin.
Events as Historical Movements:
- The Rebellion: Represents the October Revolution of 1917, when the Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian monarchy.
- The Battle of the Cowshed: Represents the Russian Civil War and the challenges faced by the Bolsheviks.
- The Windmill Construction: Represents Stalin’s Five-Year Plans for industrialization in the Soviet Union.
Animal Farm as a Microcosm of Society:
- The farm initially embodies the ideals of equality and justice, but over time, a ruling class (the pigs) emerges and exploits the other animals, mirroring the transformation of the Soviet Union into a totalitarian regime.
Language and Manipulation:
- The pigs manipulate language and use propaganda to control the narrative, reflecting how totalitarian regimes use language to control the thoughts and perceptions of the populace.
The Broken Commandments:
- The pigs alter the original commandments that were established after the rebellion, highlighting the corruption of the revolutionary ideals. This mirrors how the Soviet government deviated from the principles of the October Revolution.