Characters, items, and events found in George Orwells book, Animal Farm,can be compared to similar characters, items, and events found in Marxism andthe 1917 Russian Revolution.
This comparison will be shown by using thesymbolism that is in the book with similarities found in the Russian Revolution. Old Major was a prized-boar that belonged to Farmer Jones. The factthat Old Major is himself a boar was to signify that radical change andrevolution are, themselves, boring in the eyes of the proletariat (representedby the other barnyard animals), who are more prone to worrying about work andsurvival in their everyday life. Old Major gave many speeches to the farmanimals about hope and the future.Order now
He is the main animal who got the rebellionstarted even though he died before it actually began. Old Major’s rolecompares to Lenin and Marx whose ideas were to lead to the communist revolution. Animal Farm is a criticism of Karl Marx, as well as a novel perpetuating hisconvictions of democratic Socialism. (Zwerdling, 20). Lenin became leader andteacher of the working class in Russia, and their determination to struggleagainst capitalism. Like Old Major, Lenin and Marx wrote essays and gavespeeches to the working class poor.
The working class in Russia, as comparedwith the barnyard animals in Animal Farm, were a laboring class of people thatreceived low wages for their work. Like the animals in the farm yard, thepeople is Russia thought there would be no oppression in a new society becausethe working class people (or animals) would own all the riches and hold all thepower. (Golubeva and Gellerstein 168). Another character represented in the book is Farmer Jones. Herepresents the symbol of the Czar Nicholas in Russia who treated his peoplelike Farmer Jones treated his animals. The animal rebellion on the farm wasstarted because Farmer Jones was a drunk who never took care of the animals andwho came home one night, left the gate open and the animals rebelled.
CzarNicholas was a very weak man who treated his people similar to how Farmer Jonestreated his animals. The Czar made his working class people very mad with theway he wielded his authority and preached all the time, and the people sufferedand finally demanded reform by rebelling. The Czar said The law willhenceforward be respected and obeyed not only by the nation but also theauthority that rules it – and that the law would stand above the changing viewsof the individual instruments of the supreme power. (Pares 420). The animal Napoleon can be compared as a character representing Stalinin Russia.
Both were very mean looking, didn’t talk very much but always gotwhat they wanted through force. In one part of the book Napoleon charged thedogs on Snowball, another animal. Stalin became the Soviet Leader after thedeath of Lenin. He was underestimated by his opponents who always became hisvictims, and he had one of the most ruthless, regimes in history.
In was nottill very many years later that the world found out about the many deaths thatStalin created in Russia during the Revolution. For almost 50 years the worldthought that the Nazis had done the killing in Russia, when in fact it wasStalin. (Imse 2). The last characters that are symbolic of each other are the animalSnowball with the Russian leader Trotsky.
Snowball was very enthusiastic andwas a leader who organized the defense of the farm. He gave speeches andinstructions but was not very beneficial. All the other animals liked him, buthe was outsmarted by Napoleon. Trotsky and Stalin’s relationship was very muchlike Snowball’s and Napoleons. Trotsky organized the Red Army and gave speechesand everyone in Russia thought he would win power over Stalin. After Lenin’sdeath Trotsky lost all his power to Stalin and was expelled from the communistparty.
He was at one time considered the second most powerful man in Russia. (Trotsky Comptons 290). Besides characters there are many items that can be compared as symbolsin the book and in Russia. The whip that Napoleon used in the farmyard towield power can be compared to the power that Stalin used on the Russians. Napoleon carried a whip in his trotter.
Stalin used his power to starve theRussian people and to have Lenin arrested. Stalin’s main goal was to maximizehis personal power. (Stalin, Britannia 576). Stalin whipped his people intoshape by collectivizing agriculture, by police terror, and by destroyingremnants of individual prosperity. He also led the Soviet Union into thenuclear age (Clarkson 442).
Propaganda is another item that was used in the Russian revolution. Itcan be compared to Squealer in Animal Farm. Squealer brainwashed (a form ofpropaganda) the barnyard animals into believing that they did not like applesand milk, while he and Napoleon were stealing the food for themselves. InRussia, the Bolsheviks carried out propaganda on the people by passing outleaflets and putting stories in the newspapers that were not true. They toldworkers, soldiers, and peasants to not trust their own hands and to take awayland from the landowners. (Golubeva and Gellerstein 80).
Another item that is similar in both Animal Farm and Russia are the dogsand the secret police. Napoleon trained his dogs when they were puppies toguard him and to obey his every command. They chased Snowball away. Stalintrained his secret police to do his bidding whenever he issued an order. Stalin had his secret police kill between 60,000 to 70,000 people. Thesepolice were called the Checka and the graves filled with bodies stacked uponeach other with bullets in each skull were found many years later.
(Imse, C2). Another symbolism that exists in the book and in Russia is a similarityto events that took place. The windmill that is present in Animal Farm can becompared with the growth of industry in Russia or the Industrial Revolution. Snowball first introduced the windmill concept to the farm but Napoleondisagreed with him and had the dogs chase him away. Napoleon then presented thewindmill as a good idea and the animals were presented with hope that thingswould get better on the farm. When it blew down, Napoleon blamed it onSnowball.
Napoleon thought that if he could keep the barnyard animals busy allthe time replacing the windmill that they would not realize how bad theirliving conditions were, and he could blame the destruction all the time onSnowball. The windmill is the only thing that was holding the animals togetheras a unit. In Russia the growth of factory and industry was very depressingbut depended on the obligatory labor of serfs. Russia hoped that by keepingthe serfs working all the time and promising them a better world that theywould not realize how bad their living conditions were. The Industrialistswere pressing their own constitutional demands.
(Clarkson 352). None of thesocial classes were fighting each other because there were no classes left. What Russia got working was to make the people think that the prospect of lossof potential improvements in conditions of life of the here and now, could onlybe attained by stimulating labor to unprecedented efforts. The last event that was similar in the book and in Russia was the animalrebellion on the farm and the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Farmer Jones wasdrunk a lot and would forget to feed the animals on the farm. The withholdingof this food is what finally forced the animals on the farm to rebel againstFarmer Jones. In Russia, there were many food shortages which caused thepeople to demonstrate and then the Russian soldiers refused to suppress them andthe leaders demanded that Nicholas transfer his power to parliamentarygovernment because everything was getting out of control. Soviet workers andsoldiers formed a special committee and established a government.
The same daythe emperor abdicated. (Russian Revolution, Grolier npa). This actuallybackfired in Russia and the war continued and the people still starved. Many lessons can be learned by reading Animal Farm that can helpcountries and governments around the world from making mistakes in wieldingtheir power against their people. If a population is suppressed and notallowed to accumulate things for themselves then an overthrow of the governmentthat is suppressing them will be the result. WORKS CITEDClarkson, Jesse.
A History of Russia. New York: Random House, 1969. Golubeva, T. and L. Gellerstein.
Early Russia – The Russie. Moscos, PressAgency Publishing House, 1976. Imse, Ann. Mass Grave Seen as Evidence of Massecure by Stalins Police. Hunstsville Times, 13, August. 1990.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm. Signet 50th Anniversary Edition, Harcourt Brace &Company, 1996. Pares, Sir Bernard. The Fall of the Russian Monarchy. New York: A division ofRandom House, 1939.
Russian Revolution of 1917. Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc. 1992 ed. Stalin, Joseph.
Encyclopedia Britannica. 1917 ed. Zwerdling, Alex. Orwell and The Left. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1974.
OUTLINEThesis: Characters, items, and events found in George Orwells book, Animal Farm,can be compared to similar characters, items, and events found in Marxism andthe 1917 Russian Revolution. I. Leader Comparisons A. Old Major compared with Lenin and Marx B. Farmer Jones compared with Czar Nicholas II C. Napoleon compared with Stalin D.
Snowball compared with TrotskyII. Item Comparisons B. Whip compared with power C. Squealer compared with propaganda D. Dogs compared with the secret policeI. Event Comparisons C.
Windmill compared with industry growth D. Rebellion compared with revolution Category: English