When Orwell published Animal Farm in 1945, a popular belief held that
the Soviet Union was an honorable nation. Orwell hoped to write a
novel that exposed the murderous truth of the Soviet System; he
employed allegory to show a truth that remained unclear to many.
As an allegory on early 20th Century Russia, ANIMAL FARM introduces
its audience to a wide array of characters--each serving as a symbol.
The table below provides a list of fictional characters, events, and
items from the film ANIMAL FARM, and the real-life counterparts they
appear to represent. Consider how each character could also be
interpreted to have a larger, broader meaning.
Farmer Jones : The farmer stands for the Russian Czar Nicolas II who
was forced to abdicate after the successful February Revolution. In
addition, Mr. Jones symbolizes the evils of capitalism, and the moral
decline of men under this type of society.
Humans: The humans stand for the capitalists, who exploit the weak.
The gradual transformation of the pigs into human-like creatures
represents the process by which the revolution's leaders became
corrupted. Whether capitalist or communist in name, the underlying
reality of many political systems is tyranny.
Old Major: Many believe Orwell made Old Major a symbol for Karl Marx,
the father of the Communist belief system. Both Old Major and Karl
Marx serve as the founders of a revolutionary creed, and both die
before the revolutionary events they predict.
Snowball: Snowball represents Leon Trotsky. Like Trotsky, Snowball is
a smart, young speaker who dreams of making life better for all
animals. One of the early leaders of the "October Revolution", Trotsky
... middle of paper ...
...work and submissive behavior.
"Beasts of England": This song--which becomes the official creed of
the animals' revolution--represents the "Communist Internationale," a
real song penned by supporters of communism in the early 1900's.
Windmill: The windmill stands for Russian industry. Soviet leaders
focused on making Russia industrially modern after the Revolution of
1917. Joseph Stalin, in particular, drew up several "Five Year Plans,"
which plotted the tremendous growth of Russia's railroads, factories,
coal and metal mines.
Contemporary Connection: In the original novel, Orwell ends the story
with the pigs' ultimate ascension. The cartoon film version flashes us
forward to a world after the pigs' fall. How does the film update
Orwell's allegory? Research the history of Russia and Eastern Europe
over the past 20 years. Who might Jessie represent?
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