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In Orwell's Animal Farm, the animals revolt against the cruel human leaders and set up a better method of farm management where all animals are equal. As time passes, the new leaders become greedy and corrupt, and the other animals realize conditions are just as miserable as before. There is a major connection between Animal Farm and Russian communism. The pigs are one of the most significant of these connections, representing the communist rulers of Russia, like Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Their traits, personalities, and actions are similar to the actual men in power. In the novel Animal Farm, the pigs represent the communist leaders of Russia in the early 1900s.
Old Major, the creator of animalism, represents both the original revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin, and the founder of communism, Karl Marx. Like these Russians, Old Major wants all individuals to be equal. Old Major is symbolic of Marx because, like Marx, he has a dream about the revolution. He says, "'That is my message for you, comrades: Rebellion! And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship, in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades'" (Orwell 4). Also, neither of the two live to see the revolution put into effect ("Animal" 1). Old Major is also symbolic of Lenin because while he introduces the idea of a revolution, Lenin introduces the New Economy Plan to Russia (Urban 1).
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In addition, Napoleon, the ruthless commander of Animal Farm, is symbolic of communist Joseph Stalin. Both characters can be described as "cruel, corrupt, and selfish" ("Animal" 1). Napoleon rids himself of Snowball and takes control, and Stalin removes Trotsky and names himself "political heir" ("Joseph" 1). Neither Napoleon nor Stalin had any compassion; they "ruled with an iron fist and killed all those who opposed [them]" ("Animal" 1). While Napoleon reigns with his dogs and Squealer at his side, Stalin uses his KGB and propaganda to control the people (1). Both leaders purge their nations of suspected traitors and, in Napoleon's case, Snowball loyalists (Urban 2). Napoleon, like Stalin, traded with other neighboring areas for materials even though it was initially decided there would be no interactions. Under Napoleon and Stalin's rule, there is "productivity and economy growth but at great cost" ("Joseph" 1). Even though the economy grows more diverse, animals and humans are dying both physically and mentally.
In Animal Farm, Snowball, the brilliant leader, represents revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Both are intelligent, efficient, and inventive. They are smart, young speakers that want a better life for all individuals ("Animal" 1). Snowball is run out of Animal Farm by Napoleon; likewise, Trotsky is killed at the hands of Stalin (1). Snowball is considered an "enemy of the farm," and Trotsky is considered an "enemy of the people" (Urban 2). Both were "repeatedly denounced as traitor[s] by [their] native countr[ies], and wild lies were invented to discredit [them]" ("Animal" 1). Rumors spread about the leaders being in neighboring areas, and whenever something goes wrong, they are blamed.
Like Stalin and Trotsky in reality, Napoleon and Snowball go head to head on many controversial topics, like building the windmill and education. Orwell says, "At meetings, Snowball often won over the majority by his brilliant speeches, but Napoleon was better at canvassing support for himself in between times" (63). To set up a positive method of communism, Snowball and Trotsky use their writing skills and intelligence to sway the public (Buch 2). Meanwhile, Napoleon and Trotsky find ways to gain popularity without giving speeches and displaying their knowledge.
In the novel, Squealer the pig is symbolic of propaganda in Russia. Squealer, like propaganda, is persuasive and can "turn black to white" ("Animal" 1). Squealer convinces the animals that Napoleon is smart and Snowball is wicked, while propaganda convinces people that Stalin is a good leader and Trotsky is a traitor. Squealer refers to reductions in rations as "readjustments;" this is symbolic of the new language invented to confuse people in the Soviet Union. Both assure the public that conditions are better now than before communism. Orwell states, "[Squealer] repeated a number of times, 'Tactics, comrades, tactics!' skipping round and round whisking his tail with a merry laugh. The animals were not certain what the word meant, but Squealer spoke so persuasively, and the three dogs who happened to be with him growled so threateningly, that they accepted his explanation without further questions" (72). Like Russian propaganda, Squealer answers questions indirectly and convinces the public by instilling fear in them.
In general, the pigs of Animal Farm represent the Communist Party loyalists. When communism is established, both are concerned with the welfare of the public. As time progresses, these original revolutionary ideas are altered and changed for the worse ("Animal" 1). The pigs and the loyalists take advantage of their roles as leaders. In the end, the pigs, like the loyalists, finally reach the height of their corruption and become as cruel as the previous rulers; Orwell says, "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but it was already impossible to say which was which" (139). Even though the revolution starts out with positive goals and intentions, the leaders become careless with their power and end up no better than their predecessors.
Overall, there is a clear connection between the pigs of Animal Farm and the Russian communist leaders. Every action made by the pigs is symbolic of an actual event in history. In the end, the pigs, like the communist rulers, neglect the revolution goals and are almost indistinguishable from the previous leaders.
"Animal Farm Symbolism/Interpretation." TNT Learning. 1999. (30 April 2007).
Buch, Fred. "Leon Trotsky." Fbuch.com. n.d. (1 May 2007).
"Joseph Stalin (1879-1953)." BBC History. n.d. (1 May 2007).
Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Signet, 1996.
Urban, Joan Barth. "Communism." World Book Encyclopedia. 2004 ed.