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George Orwell, born Eric Blair, was a cynical writer who expressed his views on the Russian Revolution through a book called Animal Farm. By the use of animals and farm life, George Orwell portrays people and events from the Russian Revolution in an allegorical form. To understand Animal Farm properly you need to understand Orwell's life and beliefs. If not, Animal Farm could be interpreted as either a fable about farm animals or an angry citizens stand against the ruling of Stalin and his communist ways.
To appreciate the political philosophy evident in Animal Farm you first need to understand the author, George Orwell. Orwell was born in 1903, in India but lived in England for the majority of his life. His parents were considered middle-class so Orwell got the best education at Eton College. After graduating near the bottom of his class, Orwell joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927. This gave Orwell a first hand experience on what it was like to see inequality and oppression from another point of view, from the top.
This experience left Orwell confused and bitter about how society was run. When he moved to Paris to become a writer, he was astounded to see how rich the rich were and how poor the poor were. In 1936, Orwell joined the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War and fought for his idealistic Marxist views, which were shattered by the reality of communism at work. Orwell came home disturbed by totalitarianism and wrote Animal Farm, a book, which comments on the Russian Revolution. George Orwell on why he writes - "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism... Animal Farm was the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole. " Animal Farm is a satirical book about the Russian Revolution.
In the beginning Manor Farm, later changed to Animal Farm, was run by old Mr. Jones, a drunken farmer. The animals worked day by day until Old Major, the wise old pig, gathered the animals together to tell them his dream. He dreamed of a place where animals ruled and united together as one to work in harmony. He put the idea of Revolution into the animals minds and, three days later, he died. The pigs, being the smartest animals, took over and planned a Revolution.
The animals overthrew Mr. Jones and ran him out of the farm as a result the pigs were in charge. Napoleon and Snowball were the two smartest pigs and constantly battled it out for ultimate power. Napoleon finally won and Snowball was exiled from the farm. With Napoleon in charge the farm atmosphere turned bad with animals being killed, slave labor, and the belief that all animals are equal was destroyed. Napoleon did dealings with the humans and became human himself.
The book ends with The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which. (Orwell, 1950. ) When reading Animal Farm it can be interpreted as either a fable about farm animals or a novel that takes a satirical look at the Russian Revolution. A fable is tale that normal has animals as characters and it conveys a moral. This is Animal Farm when read at one level. A satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize peoples stupidity or vice versa, particularly in the context of politics and other topical issues. Orwell used satire in Animal Farm to a great extent with every character or event being a carefully picked animal to correspond to the real person or event. Orwell chose a drunken farmer, Mr.
Jones to represent Tsar Nicholas II because a drunken farmer would not be able to run a farm very well. Orwell believed that Tsar Nicholas II wasnt very good at running a country. Along with fable and satire, Orwell heavily used allegory. Allegorical form is used when a story, play, poem or picture has an apparent meaning or message in the characters or events.
This message is used to symbolize a deeper moral or spiritual meaning by using symbols. Orwell used this tool in Animal Farm extensively with all the animals and events relating to the Russian Revolution and Russias people. The character Old Major, who inspired the animal revolution, symbolizes Karl Marx, the philosopher who invented communism. Other characters in the novel depict such varied people as Tsar Nicholas II, Leon Trotsky, religion and the Russian citizens. A major influence in Russian Revolutionary history was Joseph Stalin. Stalin the man of Steel was one of the most formidable dictators the world had ever seen.
Stalin did great things but all had bad consequences. He built the worlds first and largest collectivized farming system, made the Soviet Union a great industrial power which brought the country from the bottom to the top in industrial nations, built the worlds first state socialism system with benefits such as no unemployment, social services for all, mass illiteracy was eliminated and he led the country to victory in World War II. The price for all this was Stalin's rule as a dictator obliterating all independent thoughts and initiative. He was responsible for the deaths of millions due to World War II and also personal vengeance, isolated the Soviet Union from of the world and created an entire system based upon a fear that penetrated the hearts and souls of every living being. In Animal Farm Orwell allegorizes Stalin through a pig called Napoleon. Napoleon was a power hungry pig that started of to be a good guy supporting the Animal Revolution.
The animals trusted Napoleon and Snowball (Leon Trotsky) to lead them to a better life. Napoleon, who had a reputation for getting his own way, instead of debating with Snowball over issues as he was not a good speaker, he set the dogs on Snowball and chased him out of the farm. With Snowball out of the way Napoleon increased his personal power. This is almost parallel to Stalin, when he got Leon Trotsky (Snowball) exiled from the country and later, killed.
Other similarities include Napoleon killing a lot of animals. Stalin killed a lot of people in Show Trials. Characteristics of Napoleon and Stalin are similar with both having bad oratory skills, Napoleon used dogs, Moses and Squealer to control the animals while Stalin used KGB, allowed the church and propagandized. Orwell used a pig to satirize Stalin, as pigs are perceived to be the worst animals of the animal kingdom being smelly and disgusting. Pigs are also the closest animals to human beings so this could be another reason why Orwell chose the pig to represent Napoleon.
Other significant people in Russian history were represented in Animal Farm with the Tsar Nicholas II allegorizing Mr. Jones, the drunken farmer, with uncanny similarity. The Tsar and Mr. Jones are analogous; they both were leaders of either a country or a farm. Tsar Nicholas was not a great leader and was overruled easily by the citizens of Russia.
The Tsar could also be cruel and argumentative at times and was known to be brutal with opponents. He also lost a lot of battles and wars although, the Tsar could be nice at times, as he cared a lot for his family. Mr. Jones was also a poor leader of his farm and was always drunk. Jones additionally didnt feed the animals, neglected their needs and was known to give the animals a beating.
Jones sometimes let his kindness show when he wasnt drunk, and mixed in milk with the animals mash. The Tsar and Jones both failed as farmers and leaders through their own corruption and mismanagement. The fall of Tsar Nicholas II, which is represented by the Battle of the Cowshed in Animal Farm, was an important event that occurred in the Russian Revolution. Orwell intertwined these two events with practically no differences. The fall of the Tsar was due to the Tsars lack of leadership and his incapability to compromise with anyone elses ideas. The Tsar thought that the government didnt need changing and there was no problem with the current system and that any government criticism should be harshly suppressed.
This led to the overthrowing of the Tsar and later his death. This is similar to the Battle of the Cowshed where Jones tried to come back and regain his land except the animals ambushed him and made Jones retreat and never come back again. In this allegory the animals represent the angry citizens who overthrew the Tsar. The Battle of the Cowshed was not the only main event in Animal Farm with when Napoleon and Fredrick sign an agreement that Fredrick breached. When Napoleon takes over the farm he signs an agreement with Fredrick, one of the neighbouring farmers, to sell wood to him in exchange for money. Fredrick didnt keep to the agreement and gave Napoleon fake bills.
This is similar to history when Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Germany in August 1939. Germany didnt follow it and invaded Russia. Orwell allegorized this with the same exchange of an agreement and the similar characters. The underlying theme Orwell portrays in this novel is revolution. Orwell believed that revolutions, when they occur, rarely benefited those who are supposed to benefit from them. Human beings are too naive and this allows dictators to have their way.
As well as being naive, human beings are naturally greedy so this causes more problems. Greed causes humans to do irrational things, which makes revolution hypocritical because the person who starts the revolution always ends up worse then the person they overruled. In Animal Farm Napoleon started the rebellion and in the end he was greedier and eviler than Mr. Jones, the original leader ever was. Revolution is about a new start but it practically always turns out worse than the one before due to human greed and manipulation.
Animal Farm changed history and continues to as millions read the novel. Interpreted at different levels, Animal Farm could be read as a fable, nursery rhyme or an allegorized look at the Russian Revolution. Orwell used characters from the novel to depict real people with precise likeness. Napoleon the crafty pig depicts Stalin, while Snowball the intelligent pig is parallel to Trotsky, Stalin's co-leader. Events from the Russian Revolution are also underlying in Animal Farm with The Battle of the Cowshed representing the fall of the Tsar Nicholas, while the exchange of fake bills represented the non-aggression pact. Orwell wrote Animal Farm in 1945 and still today countless people read and enjoy his satirical view of the Russian Revolution.
Free research essays on topics related to: napoleon and snowball, animal farm, world war ii, leon trotsky, tsar nicholas
Research essay sample on George Orwell And Symbolism In Animal Farm
Symbolism In Animal Farm Essay
Animal Farm has been described as ¨a satire on the Russian
revolution¨, as a result, many symbolisms can be found in this book.
However, Orwell also associates ¨certain real characters with the
characters of the book.¨ This is proved by Snowball and Napoleon,
characters which represent Leon Trotsky and Stalin, respectively.
However, this are not the only symbolisms. Throughout the novel, we
find out that Napoleon is always surrounded and supported by the pigs.
Pigs which might represent the communist party, Stalin's friends as
well perhaps, as the Duma ( or Russian parliament).
Moreover, as we have seen, the pigs have a different lifestyle from
the other animals.They live ¨in luxury and enjoy the benefits of the
society they help to control.¨ It is here, where Orwell expresses ¨the
inequality and true hypocrisy of communism¨ and even criticizes
"Marx's over-simplified view of a socialist, "utopian" society."
Further more, towards the end, he even emphazises this by describing
that "Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without
making the animals themselves any richer except, of course, the pigs
and the dogs."
As we read the novel , we can find out that orwell, uses " very
cleverly" the name Boxer as a metaphor for the " Boxer Rebllion in
China" . This might be because it was this event which "signaled the
beginning of communism in red China". What is more, Boxer, together
with Clover are used to represent the proletariat in the Russian
We find out that it is indeed the proletariat, the class which mainly
supports Stalin (Napoleon). This might be because they are unable to
distinguish the difference between their lives under the...
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