Communist Allegory in Animal Farm

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According to William C. Foster's book, How to Read Literature like a Professor, “Nearly all writing is political on some level.” (111). In Animal Farm, George Orwell sends a clear message to his readers, showing that greed and hypocrisy can turn a whole society upside-down. Using allegory and symbolism, Orwell exposes the true nature of Stalinist Russia; where the populace was manipulated by various means, including propaganda, violence, and false promises. If examined closely, the many characters, events, and ideas of Animal Farm all have something to do with Soviet Russia and Communism in general.

The intelligent pigs serve as the political and ideological leaders on the farm, although Napoleon and Snowball dispute every decision made, eventually leading to the latter's exile. In the book, Old Major says, “Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion!” (9). Just like Karl Marx, Old Major comes up with the idea of a revolution, but he is unable to see his dream materialize. In some ways, he also represents Vladimir Lenin because his skull was put on display like Lenin's body, which was displayed in a mausoleum. The book describes Napoleon as “a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar...with a reputation for getting his way” (16). Napoleon is ruthless in his lust for power, even willing to tell lies to weasel his way out of tough situations. Most importantly, he frequently uses his loyal attack dogs to get rid of animals that threaten his authority. This is comparable to what Joseph Stalin did during his totalitarian rule, making use of the NKVD, his secret police force, to get rid of his political enemies. On the other hand, Snowball is d...

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...the human race had been finally overthrown.” (31). The horn and hoof on the flag represent the new society founded on the farm after the animals overthrow the humans. This is allegorical to the hammer and sickle used by the Soviet Union and other Communist states. Indeed, references to Communist ideals and symbols are quite prevalent throughout Animal Farm.

“Orwell is desperate for us to get the point, not a point,” says William C. Foster in How to Read Literature Like a Professor (98). When he wrote the book, one of his main aims was to enlighten his readers about the reality of life in the Soviet Union under Stalin. In Animal Farm, Orwell demonstrates what can happen when leaders become greedy, corrupt, and apathetic to the suffering of their people. Absolute power and dictatorships are particularly dangerous, as they can often abused for one’s personal gain.
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