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In the book Napoleon began his leadership role quite well, with his ideas being fair and with a positive meaning. As the story continues he becomes more corrupt, and his ideas turn into a dictatorship. “Napoleon lead the animals back to the store-shed and served out a double portion of corn to everyone, with two biscuits for each dog.” As time went on his true nature, of a power crazy character begins to surface, he becomes more selfish and the principle idea of equality no longer exists. The farm is run on terror, and no animal dare speak out against him, for fear of death. “The news leaked out that every pig was receiving a ration of a pint of bear daily, with half a gallon for Napoleon.”
Just as during the revolution, when at first Stalin was fair and just but as he was given power he turns into a corrupt man with dictatorship qualities. He became more selfish and sinister. When securing his power base he engineered the permanent exile of Trotsky. This compares to the book, when Napoleon and his ‘nine sturdy puppies’ chased Snowball out of the farm. Napoleon then proceeds to portray his true nature of an assassin.
Snowball is the other main leader in animalism, along side Napoleon. He was the one who was most interested in the well being of the animals and their education. The complete opposite of Napoleon. I fell if he had not been chased away (assassinated) then the idea of communism may have succeeded.
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Trotsky was a brilliant speaker and could capture the attention from all his followers. He was referred to in the book as “quicker in speech and more inventive.” Once the farm has been overthrown Snowball becomes very active in organising committees of different kinds. Napoleon shows no interest in Snowball’s activities, but secretly prepares the time when he will be able to rid himself of his rival and assume total control. When he was chased out, with Napoleon behind his exile, the animals were told that all the mal occurrences on the farm were down to him. He was an easy target to lay the blame, and Napoleon encouraged this.
In ‘Animal Farm’ the hens do not want to surrender all their eggs. To show their displeasure they “Flew up to the rafters and laid their eggs there, which smashed to pieces on the floor.” Napoleon was not happy so starved them until they surrendered. The hens represent the Kulaks whom were land owning peasants who did not want their farms to be collectivised after the revolution. Stalin then began to exterminate them as a class.
The building and re-building of the windmill, represents the building and re-building of the Russian Empire. It was designed to be built to improve the animals’ lives just as the new economic plans were designed to be run in five-year periods to improve industry. Each time in the novel that the windmill fell, it represented a war in Russia which caused the economy to crash. Each time the animals set out to re-build the windmill even better that the last “We will build it with wall three feet thick.” This pressure to build the new windmill better than the first was the death of Boxer, the death of the Russian peoples working spirit.
The dogs raised and trained by Napoleon represent the KGB. They were the secret police during Stalin’s dictatorship. In the book the dogs guard Napoleon ferociously and install fear in the animals in the same way as Stalin’s secret police.
Germany and Britain, Russia’s neighbouring countries represent the farms belonging to Fredrick and Pilkington. Stalin negotiated with both Germany and Great Britain. When several un-warned attacks were made to Russia from Germany, the unholy alliance between Nazism and communism fell apart, and Russia formed and alliance with Britain and the USA. This was as in the book, where Napoleon’s dealings with Fredrick (Germany) ended badly. Fredrick tricks Napoleon by paying for timber in forged notes. He and his men then proceed to attack the farm and blow up the windmill, the same as Germany attacking Russia in 1941. At the end of ‘Animal Farm’ the ‘allies’ Napoleon and Pilkington (Great Britain) are celebrating, when a quarrel erupts because Napoleon and Pilkington each play an ace of spades simultaneously. The same as the intensified hatred at the end of the Second World War, when the Soviet Union became an enemy of its allies.
During the revolution, Russia changed its name. It was at first known as the Soviet Union, then at the end of the Revolution was changed back to just Russia. This is much the same in the book. The farm, which represents Russia, is at first known as ‘Manor Farm’. Then with the start of Animalism, the novels equivalent of communism, it changes its name to ‘Animal Farm’. This represents the independence the farm now has just as the Soviet Union proved itself as belonging to the Russian people. The book ends when “Napoleon announced that the name ‘Animal Farm’ had been abolished. Hence forward the farm was to be known as the ‘Manor Farm’, which he believed was its correct and original name.
Boxer plays a major part in the novel, just as the hard working Russian people were important in revolutionary times. This is the representation Orwell tried to create- a hard, strong working character, Boxer, to compare with the hard working strong mass of Russian peasants. “The hard working animal, Boxer, was often known to work one or even two hours after the other animals had gone to sleep.”
This quote suggests that during the revolution people worked long, hard, unnecessary hours for little or no praise. Boxer worked hard for little or no comforts, the novel focuses on the work he did to build up the windmill, stressing that without him it would never have been finished. This is saying that the Russian empire could never have been built without the help of the Russian people.
His death represents the Siberian concentration camps, and the terror inflicted into the minds of the people, of the un-usefulness once unable to work. The other animals did not understand what was happening to Boxer when he was taken away after his eventually fatal injury. “’Good-bye Boxer’ they chorused ‘Good-bye’. ‘Fools, fools’ shouted Benjamin ‘do you not see what is written on the van? ‘Alfred Simmonds, horse slaughterer and glue-boiler Willingdon. Dealer in hides and bone meal, kennels supplied’’”. Only the cleverest ones on the farm comprehended Boxers fate.
Boxer dying and being taken to the slaughterhouse is just the same as the Russian working spirit being killed by the over work and under pay. The Russian people themselves weren’t killed, but their attitudes to work and living spirit was destroyed.
Religion during the Russian Revolution was a very prominent issue. People relied on their faith as not only a way of life but also an escape from the hardships of work and the tough lifestyle. In the novel Moses the tame raven represents religion. He disappears at the beginning of the book, and then suddenly re-appears at the end of the story without any commotion from the other animals. On his return he talks of more tales of a ’better place’. The animals resort to his stories to take their minds off of the hard labour, which is their life. “I’ve been to a better place called ’Sugar Candy Mountain’ where all animals live free of work, and the grass is always green.”
Squealer is of as much importance in the book as the real propaganda was in revolutionary times. When Boxer died Squealer spread around the farm tales that “Boxer was given the best medical treatment paid for by comrade Napoleon himself. He was there at Boxer’s bed when he passed away.” Of course this was all lies, however the animals didn’t know any different. This type of propaganda was told to the animals to coax them into a sense of well being, that everything was all right on the farm. In a way the animals were told what to believe, as Squealer was their only source of information, just as the newspapers, radio, posters and word of mouth, were the only sources of information in Russia. The Russian people were made to believe what Stalin wanted them to believe. Propaganda, didn’t however stop at the boarders of Russia, it spread to the neighbouring countries; Britain, Germany, and France. Just as the propaganda in the novel made its way to Pilkington and Fredrick. “It was given out by Fredrick and Pilkington that the animals practiced cannibalism and tortured each other with red-hot pokers.” Napoleon made sure this propaganda spread to the other farms, as this involved them, in an attempt to change their minds towards animalism. This was just as Stalin involved Germany and Britain to try and convince them towards communism and thus in creating his empire.
When the Romanovs were exiled from their house (’The House of the Romanovs’) it was kept as a museum. Much the same as the farmhouse belonging to the Jones’ was at first promised to remain a museum. “The empty farmhouse shall now be kept as a museum, and no animal shall inhabit it in any way.”
However as time passes, the pigs, thought to be the most intelligent, see themselves as worthy of the farmhouse to live in. Just as the leaders of Russia moved into the Romanov’s palace.
Mollie represents those in Russia who couldn’t survive under the communist leader. She represents those who weren’t willing to change or who were scared to change. This is proved in the book when Mollie is the first caught being touched by a human. “Mollie, I saw you with a human. It looked as if you were letting him stroke you.” This shows that some Russians still wanted the old regime, and so finally left Russia, just as Mollie left the farm.
In the book Mollie is very vein. This is a representation of those who were too involved in their own trivial lives than the welfare of their country. “Mollie was missing. She was found in Mrs. Jones’ room holding ribbons against herself in the mirror.”
Old Major was the one who founded the idea of animalism. He represents a combination of Karl Marx and Lenin. He delivered an emotionally charged speech, which captures the animals’ emotions. Like Lenin he uses short dramatic sentences “All men are enemies” “All animals are equal”. His idea of rebellion was very popular with the other animals just as Lenin’s idea of a revolution was popular with the Russian people. “This is my message to you comrades; Rebellion!” (Extract from Old Majors speech comparing a rebellion speech Lenin would have held.)
His ideas were not really followed correctly by the arguing pair, Snowball and Napoleon, the pushiest pigs. Animalism doesn’t turn out for the best. Just as the dictatorship in Russia by Stalin, wasn’t what either Lenin or Marx had intended.
The Jones’ didn’t look after their farm very well, not caring for the welfare of their animals. The animals were all dissatisfied just as the Russian people were dissatisfied during the reign of the Tsar. The Romanovs lived a life of luxury, whilst their people lived in appalling states of poverty. This is an exact parallel with the book.
Benjamin shows the cynical people. In the book he is always answering the inquisitive animals, using cryptic answers. When asked why he didn’t work, he replied, “Have you ever seen a dead donkey? Donkeys live a long time.”
Benjamin didn’t work, just as in Russia there were a small minority of people who didn’t work. These people were selfish and left everything up to other people. All the time making critical remarks but never doing anything to change, what they considered as bad things. Benjamin in the book is portrayed as being a clever but cynical character. His laziness could be seen as being clever. He knew that the animals were being used so he didn’t get involved.
In total I feel that Orwell has included the true happenings of the Russian Revolution very well in his novel ‘Animal Farm’. Not everything has been compared accurately, but there is of course room for poetic licence. I feel that Orwell was quite bias when picturing the revolution in his book. He portrayed the majority of events and the idea of communism as a failure. In some respects this is true. I do however think that the whole idea of communism wasn’t a complete failure, it did last after all.
I feel in ’Animal Farm’ the Russian Revolution is told as a mess, with nothing in working order, for example the many times the windmill was built, and the effort towards work the pigs put in. Overall he has picked up on the most important facts in Russian history. It puts the complicated events into an easy to understand book.