Animal Farm And Russian Revolution
Published: Fri, 12 May 2017
Many of the animals in Animal Farm direct represent the dominant figures in Soviet Union from the times of the Russian Revolution to the Tehran Conference. First of all, Old Major who appears at the beginning of the novel is the animal version of Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx. Karl Marx was a philosopher who wrote The Communist Manifesto. This book talks about a communist government. This type of government abolishes class system and encourages equality among other human beings. Like Marx, Old Major also introduced the theory of “Animalism” where every animal should unite together against the humans. Old Major convinces the animal to believe in this theory by saying that their misfortunes can all be traced back to Man, who “is the only creature that consumes without producing” (Orwell, 7). In other words, Man takes advantage of the animals by forcing them to work themselves to death, while the Man does nothing but boss them around. Marx also wrote similar thing in his book when he talked about capitalist government taking advantage of the working class. Both Marx and Old Major never saw their theory come true during their lifetime but it was adopted soon after their death. Soviet Union adopted Communism in 1917 when Vladimir Lenin came to the power. Lenin was also another dominant figure in Soviet Union who resembles Old Major. He was the leader of the Bolshevik Party that seized control in the 1917 Revolution. He was inspired by Karl Marx’s theory of Communism, which urges the “workers of the world” to unite against their economic oppressors. Like Lenin, Old Major outlines the principles of Animalism, a theory holding that all animals are equal and must revolt against their oppressors. Lenin was responsible for changing Russia into the U.S.S.R., as old Major is responsible for transforming Manor Farm into Animal Farm. The U.S.S.R.’s flag depicted a hammer and sickle which was the tools of the rebelling workers and so the flag of Animal Farm features a horn and hoof. Secondly, Napoleon is an animal version of Joseph Stalin. Stalin was the second leader of the Soviet Union. After the revolution had occurred, Stalin was able to get rid of Trotsky, his main opponent. Like Stalin, Napoleon ran his opponent Snowball off the farm. Stalin then removed any other opponents and adopted some of their ideas. Likewise, in Animal Farm, Napoleon made sure no other animals would dispute him, and he took credit for Snowball’s idea of building the windmill. Napoleon controlled the mind of the animals and some animals started believing that, “Napoleon is always right,” (Orwell, 48). Stalin and Napoleon both wanted their nations to be great, so they began to make plans to better their territories. While Stalin tried to industrialize the Soviet Union, Napoleon made plans to build the windmill to furnish electricity. Both also tried to get as much work as they could from the workers. Right before World War II, Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Germany and trusted Hitler to honour the terms. However, Stalin was deceived, and Germany invaded the Soviet Union. In Animal Farm Napoleon also trusted someone he should not have. Napoleon sold timber to Mr. Frederick, who deceived him by paying for the wood with false bank notes. Mr. Frederick and other farmers then tried to overrun Animal Farm, but they did not succeed like Germany never succeeds. Lastly, Character of Snowball is a representation of Leo Trotsky. Trotsky was one of the original revolutionaries but as Stalin rose to power he became one of Stalin’s biggest enemies, and was eventually expelled from the Politburo in 1925 after one year, Stalin took control of the nation. “Politburo is a Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,” (Merriam-Webster.com). In the novel, Snowball was exiled from the farm just as Trotsky had been in 1929. Trotsky was not only exiled in person, he was also expelled from the minds of the Russian people, his historical role was altered; his face was erased from the photographs of the leaders of the revolution. In Russia he was denounced as a traitor and conspirator, and in 1940 a Stalinist agent assassinated him in Mexico City. Napoleon used propaganda techniques to erase Snowball from other animals’ minds. Napoleon used to say:
This explains that how animals were supposed to blame Snowball for any mishap that occurs on the farm.
Mankind in the Animal Farm is also a direct representation of dominant figures in the Soviet Union and its surrounding countries. Mr. Jones, who is a farmer and the owner of Manor Farm, represents the last Czar of Russia, Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov (Nicholas II). During the Czar Nicholas II’s reign, the Russian people experienced terrible poverty and turmoil, which was marked by the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1905 when protesters demanding social reforms were shot down by the army near Nicholas’ palace. Like citizens of Soviet Union, animals were also not happy with Mr. Jones’ control. They said, “Mr. Jones, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the light from his lantern dancing […], he drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel […], and made his way up to bed[…],” (Orwell, 1). This shows that character of Mr. Jones demonstrates that having power in no way means one is responsible or worthy of that power. When Russia entered World War I and lost more men than any country in any previous war, the furious and desperate people began a series of strikes and rebellions that signalled the end of the Czar’s control. When his own generals withdrew their support of him, Nicholas renounced his throne in the hopes of avoiding a civil war but the civil war arrived in the form of the Bolshevik Revolution, when Nicholas, like Jones, was removed from his place of rule. Mr. Fredrick was an animal version of Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler was a ruthless dictator of Germany and was responsible for World War II. Mr. Frederick “was also a tough, shrewd man, perpetually involved in law suits and with a name for driving hard bargains,” (Orwell, 38). These characteristic are similar to Hitler’s characteristic and actions. Through the course of the book, Fredrick becomes an enemy and then a friend and then an enemy again to Napoleon, who makes many secret deals and treaties with him. One of the major problems the two farms have is the issue of the timber. Napoleon sells the wood to Frederick for bank notes, only to find that they are false. During the world wide depression, countries were forced by necessity to trade with other countries. One country would have a product or natural resource another country would not; therefore to survive, the country would trade. Many times the trades were unfair and fraudulent. This created many international problems. Also, the deal symbolized the Non-Aggression Pact between Hitler and Stalin prior to World War II. This pact was then broken by Hitler when he invaded the Soviet Union. The breaking of the pact is similar to Frederick giving false notes to Napoleon. Pilkington symbolizes all the allies of the World War II except the Soviet Union. Like the Soviet Union before World War II, Animal Farm wasn’t sure who their allies would be. But after losing the relationship with Frederick (Germany), Napoleon (Stalin) decides to befriend Pilkington, and ally with him. Napoleon and the other pigs even go as far as inviting him over for dinner at the end of the book. Here Mr. Pilkington and his men congratulate Napoleon on the efficiency of Animal Farm. Russia’s allies, after the war, also admired its efficiency. Pilkington says, “If you have your lower animals to contend with, we have our lower classes!” (Orwell, 94). This represents the good relationship between them. Also, Pilkington’s large, poorly managed farm was figurative to the expansive British Empire, which was crumbling during the Second World War. This is in contrast to Frederick, who has the opposite scenario for a small, better managed farm. After the end of World War II, the Cold War was ignited between the US and the Soviet Union, similar to the end of the meeting where both Napoleon and Pilkington play simultaneously Ace of Spades, then get into a bad argument over it.
Many of the key events in The Animal Farm are representation of the events that occurred in the Soviet Union. Building of the windmill is a symbol of Stalin’s Five Year Plan. Just as the windmill was promised to make the animals’ life easier, the ‘Five-Year Plan’ was supposed to improve the Soviet industry as well as the working class’ life by increasing production and allowing the Soviets to shorten the work-week. And just like the windmill, Stalin’s plan was a failure. After the destruction of the Windmill, the Animals decided to build another one and in real-life, Stalin also kept mixing out new ‘Five-year Plans’ promising that each new plan would solve all of Russia’s problems and bring the USSR closer to equality with the industrialized nations of the west. “Snowball was in a league with Jones from the start! He was Jones’s secret agent all the time,” (Orwell, 53), was Napoleon’s excuse to make the animals angry when the windmill was destroyed. This made animals to finish the windmill to show Snowball their unity. Battle of Cowshed represents the civil war between the Tsarists forces and Bolsheviks. This war is also known as the Red October. This is where the Tsarists tried to take back the reign but they were defeated again. In the novel, Mr. Jones tried to back his farm but he was defeated. This only strengthens the animal farm. Animal Revolution represents Russian Revolution as a whole. There are a few things to notice about the Battle of Cowshed. First, Snowball (Trotsky) emerges as a military hero. Second, Mollie the horse, who represents the Russian upper-middle-class runs off and plays little role in the battle. Third, Boxer, or the double for the working class, reveals himself as a powerful military force. As the narrator tells us, “the most terrifying spectacle of all was Boxer, rearing up on his hind legs and striking out with his great iron-shod hoofs like a stallion,” (Orwell, 28). The Animal Revolution was supposed to make life better for everyone, but the life was worse at the end. The leaders also became the same as, or worse than, the other farmers (humans) they rebelled against. Even Russian Revolution was supposed to fix problems created by Czar, but the life became even worse after revolution. Both of these revolutions are based on the Communist theory and they both created tensions among the working and higher classes.
Many of the events, humans, and animals in the novel Animal Farm are direct representations of Soviet Unions and its surrounding areas. As you can see almost every event in the novel can be traced directly to an event in Russia during the period from 1900-1943, the overthrowing of “Nicholas the Second” to the battle of Cowshed. also all most all of the characters from “Animal Farm’ can be traced to a person or group of people involved in the Russian Revolution for example Napoleon represents Stalin in the way that he is obsessed with keeping power, and that he gives the pigs special treatment, also the way he use propaganda to make outsiders believe everything is great and that he is a god like leader who could never do wrong. One of the most obvious reasons that napoleon represents Stalin is the way Napoleon over threw Snowball the way Stalin over threw Lenin. Also as is proven by the previous statement Snowball represents Lenin, in the way that he took the teachings of Old major (Karl Marx) and over threw Mr. Jones (Nicholas the second). Snowball was great speakers as was Lenin, both were highly regarded by their followers and both were betrayed by their comrades.
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