Animal Farm: An Allegory of Russian History

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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 ...

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...evolt and, in real life, it is estimated that somewhere between 4 and 10 million Ukrainian peasants were starved to death by Stalin. In the book, the hens smashed their own eggs to protest Napoleon’s action; in real life, the Ukrainian farmers slaughtered their own livestock before joining a collective as a form of protest. The problem got so out of hand that Stalin eventually executed any farmer found guilty of engaging in the practice.

Animal Farm is an excellent allegory of the period in Russian history between 1917 and 1944. George Orwell symbolizes the characters, places, objects, and events of the Russian revolution superbly. His symbols not only parallel those of the Russian revolution, but any revolution throughout history. The fable Animal Farm relates not only to the Russian Revolution, but also to any revolution where an absolute dictator emerges.

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