is an allegory of Russia before, during and after the revolution in 1917. The book was originally written about the Russian revolution
but because it was just after the war and nobody would want to read about war and fighting, the publishers refused to publish it. George Orwell
rewrote his story as a children's book about a farm in which the animals rebel against their human masters and he sucessfully managed to get it published.
Animal farm is a farm full of animals with neighbouring farms. The farm itself represents Russia. The poor state of the farm shows the poor state Russia was in at the time. The different types of animal on the farm represent different types of people in Russia at the time and the neighbouring farms represent different countries which bordered and were close to Russia.
In the story each type of animal represents a different type of person in Russia at the time. For instance, the pigs represent the natural leaders, people who take charge whenever the opportunity to arises. Snowball represents Trotsky and Napoleon represents Stalin. The cat on the farm represents the lazy people in society. Molly the sheep represents the vain people in Russia who really weren't ready to lose their useless novelties for the sake of the freedom of their country like Molly wasn't ready to lose her ribbons and sugar to liberate the farm. The sheep in the story represent the followers, the people who will follow whatever is set out by the leaders without question. The raven on the farm represents religion, the pigs disagreed with him but let him stay on the farm because he helped encourage hard work and submissive behavior. The raven is named 'Moses' which is blatantly taken from the Bible. He also speaks of 'Sugarcandy Mountain' which is symbolic of Heaven in the Christian faith. The horses in the book represent the working class people who aren't very intelligent but are loyal to their country and work hard. Boxer is the most obvious example of this in the book, he has difficulty learning the alphabet but is by far the hardest worker on the farm and is loyal to the farm until he dies. Boxer trusts Napoleon even when it is against his better judgement
"Ah, that is different!" said Boxer. "If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right."
He said this after disagreeing with Squealer about Snowball. It shows he trusts Napoleon's judgement even when it contradicts his own. The dogs in the book represent the secret police which helped enforce Stalin's rules. In the book the dogs always surround Napoleon and look vicious to intimidate animals into not trying to oppose him. Benjamin in the book is a very interesting character. He is the donkey and represents the wise people who know when and when not to speak. Up until Boxer's death Benjamin refuses to say anything other than a cryptic remark about donkeys living a long time. Benjamin is very intelligent but doesn't openly admit it to the other animals. He never seems very enthusiastic about the development of the rebellion and the windmill, he knows what's happening with the pigs and the rules but never speaks a word of it because he knows he'll get executed. Squealer the pig is a main character in the book and represents the propaganda minister. He distributes propaganda to the animals for the pigs and is very persuasive in his speaking.
The story starts off with the farm being run by Jones and his men. They neglect and mistreat the animals and often drink alcohol. Jones and his men represent the Czar and Czarina. The Czar and Czarina ruled over Russia before the revolution. They neglected the citizens of Russia just like Jones and his men neglected the animals. The people of Russia were left to starve while the Czar and Czarina lived in luxury with massive wealth. Just like how Jones and his men left the animals without food and whipped them.
In the story Old Major was a boar who represented Karl Marx who introduced the idea of 'Communism' to Russia just like Old Major introduced the concept of Animalism to the farm. He also taught them the song "Beasts of England" which is symbolic of the song "Communist internationale" which was a real song sung by supporters of communism at the time. In the book Animalism is the equivalent of Communism. Communism and Animalism have certain things in common like they both have the basic concept that all people are equal but in animalism it's 'All animals are equal.' Old Major died before the revolution took place just like Karl Marx died before the Russian revolution took place.
Two of the head characters in the story are Snowball and Napoleon. Snowball represents Trotsky and Napoleon represents Stalin. Trotsky and Stalin were the main leaders of the revolution in 1917. Snowball and Napoleon are both pigs who represented leaders. A while after Old Major's death Jones comes back drunk one night and left the animals unfed. The animals could stand it no longer and decided to revolt just like the people in Russia when the Russian revolution broke out. Jones and his men were driven out of the farm, in the revolution the Czar and Czarina were killed but since the story was intended for children George Orwell probably didn't want to include murder in his book from fear of not getting it published.
Once the animals had control over the farm things were much more prosporous than before since everything the farm made went directly to the animals instead of going to Jones and his men. This was the same as in Russia because everything they worked for went straight to themselves instead of the self-serving Czar and Czarina. The leaders of Russia grew more corrupt from the start of the revolution through to the end, the behavior of the pigs shows this. Shortly after the revolution the cows' milk goes missing. It's fairly obvious that the pigs took it for themselves without telling the animals. After the revolution the animals set up 7 commandments which showed all the animals' rights, this was later subtly changed to suit the pigs' regime and as very few animals could read they didn't notice the changes to the commandments.
After the revolution farms nearby were worrying about animals taking over their farms. They had never heard of animals rebelling and commandeering a farm by themselves. Just like the neighbouring countries to Russia in 1917 had never heard of a country's government being overthrown by the citizens. They were concerned it may happen in their own countries just like the other farmers were concerned it might happen on their farms.
A while after the revolution Snowball was run out of the farm by Napoleon's dogs, this is similar to how Trotsky was exiled from Russia by Stalin. Trotsky was a better speaker than Stalin and more intelligent. This was probably what made Stalin exile Trotsky from Russia, his jealousy. The same applies to how Napoleon was jealous of the other animals admiring Snowball more than him. After Snowball was driven from the farm Napoleon began to spread vicious rumours about him like saying that he lead the humans in the battle of the Cowshed.
"Did we not see for ourselves how he attempted-fortunately without success-to get us defeated and destroyed at the Battle of the Cowshed?"
This was said by Squealer, this is obviously not true as Snowball lead the animals in the fight against the humans in the Battle of the Cowshed. Most of the animals believed this though because they could not remember what happened very well. The same was true for Russia, after Trotsky was exiled Stalin referred to him as "Judas Trotsky".
The flag in the story represents the communist flag. The Animal farm flag is a hoof and a horn like the communist flag was a sickle and a hammer. The sickle represented agriculture and the hammer represented industry. The same was probably true for the animal farm. The changing of the flag at the end of the story to a plain green flag and the reversal of the name back to 'Manor Farm' represent the fall of communism.
One of the seven commandments was "No animal shall kill any other animal." This was changed to allow Napoleon to execute any animal he wanted to. Napoleon wanted to execute animals because he was paranoid that they were conspiring against him. Stalin was paranoid that his followers were conspiring against him too. He often thought his doctors were trying to kill him. The executions represent the 30 million of his own men that Stalin killed.
The fact that the pigs start sleeping in beds, wearing clothes and standing on their hind legs shows how they were becoming more like the humans who used to run the farm as time went on. At the end of the novel when the animals are just as miserable as when the humans were in charge and the pigs are unrecognizable from the humans shows how the ideals of communism collapsed under Stalin's rule and Stalin became just as bad as the humans he opposed in the beginning.
I got an A for this essay, which is a rarity for me.