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Animal Farm by George Orwell is a novel based on the lives of a society of animals. Animal Farm goes deeper than just talking about animals, it symbolizes the corruption of Communist Russia. During the story, most animals are manipulated into believing the exact opposite of what is true. Animal Farm Although the title of the book suggests the book is merely about animals, the story is a much more in depth analysis of the workings of society in Communist Russia. Animal Farm draws many parallels to the propaganda used after the Russian Revolution, the rise of Stalin to power during the Russian Revolution, and how the Russian Revolution started.
The Russian Revolution is mainly associated with the February Revolution, the October revolution and the aftereffect. The February Revolution was when the people of Russia ousted the Tsar after his constant failure to lead. The October Revolution was when the government of Russia was reestablished and known as USSR. The aftereffect of the Russian Revolution was that instead of helping the people of Russia, it made it slightly worse. The rulers of the USSR asserted the same authority the Tsar had, but used more brutal methods, and example of this being the KGB.
The treatment of Napoleon and the pigs in animal farm emulates how Stalin abused the trust of the people so that he and his allies could live in luxury. The main reason the pigs were treated superior was because the leader of Animal Farm (Napoleon) was a pig. Because Napoleon was a pig, he gave the pigs liberties that other animals were not given, such as sleeping in beds, wearing clothes, and drinking beer. All of this was strictly against the original Animal Farm rules, but by using propaganda they avoided any conflict that could have taken place. An example of this was when the pigs were sleeping on the beds. When the animals realized that the pigs were sleeping on the beds, they went to commandments, or “laws” of Animal Farm. Surprisingly, one of the laws was altered from “No animal shall sleep on a bed” to “No animal shall sleep on a bed with sheets, but instead of thinking about someone changing this, they blamed it on their faulty memories. Squealer (the character who symbolizes propaganda in the Soviet Union) says that only sheets are evil because they are an invention of man, but because every animal sleeps on a bed the pigs are doing nothing wrong. This whole encounter symbolizes how Stalin abused the power given to him by the trust of the people. The reason for the rebellion in the Russian Revolution and in Animal Farm was to overthrow the corrupt dictators, but as Stalin’s rule progresses, he becomes as corrupt as the Tsar. Orwell symbolizes this by portraying the pigs as slowly becoming humanlike, sleeping on the bed being one of the depictions of this.
The political battles fought by Napoleon and Snowball symbolizes Stalin’s tyrannical power. In Animal Farm, after the revolution two animals strived for the title of leader, Snowball and Napoleon. Snowball was intellectual, passionate, and cared for the people living on the farm; similar to Trotsky. Napoleon was cunning, shrewd, and cared only about having absolute control of the farm, similar to Stalin. In chapter 5, Snowball proposes to build a windmill for the animals, in order to automate many tasks in the farmhouse. When Snowball was extremely close to winning the debate, Napoleon unleashed dogs upon him, forcing Snowball to abandon Animal Farm. He justified all to the animals with the help of Squealer, saying that Snowball “was a traitor, and plotted against all the animals”. By using this propaganda he was able to convince the people that Snowball was a traitor, and make them build a windmill. However, the windmill’s electricity was only used by the pigs. Similarly, in the Soviet Union, Stalin exiled and killed Trotsky. Trotsky’s exile illuminates Stalin’s power hungry motivations.
The overthrowing of Jones in Manor farm is similar to the overthrowing of the Tsar in the Russian Revolution. Mr. Jones represents the Russian ruler Tsar Nicholas II, the last Russian emperor. During the time that Jones led the farm, the animals were given minimal food, and were neglected for days. Old major, the prize winning boar, recognized these problems, and was the fueled the animals toward the rebellion. The rebellion was extremely quick, the animals broke into the food storage building after not being fed for days, and eventually oust the farmhands and Mr. Jones. During the Tsar’s reign of Russia, the common population was witnessing a period of poverty and anger, the latter being fueled by the Bloody Sunday massacre. Similar to the uprising of the animals in animal farm, the Tsar was overthrown suddenly because of a food shortage. Old major symbolizes Lenin, the leader of the party that took control after the Tsar was overthrown. He recites a theory similar to Lenin’s, saying that the working class should unite against the ruling class to live in economic equality. Similar to Lenin, Old major dies without witnessing the fruits of his labor.