Animal Farm – Animalism vs Marxism
Characters, items, and events found in George Orwells book, Animal Farm, can be compared to similar characters, items, and events found in Marxism and the 1917 Russian Revolution. This comparison will be shown by using the symbolism that is in the book with similarities found in the Russian Revolution.
Old Major was a prized-boar that belonged to Farmer Jones. The fact that Old Major is himself a boar was to signify that radical change and revolution are, themselves, boring in the eyes of the proletariat (represented by the other barnyard animals), who are more prone to worrying about work and survival in their everyday life. Old Major gave many speeches to the farm animals about hope and the future. He is the main animal who got the rebellion started even though he died before it actually began. Old Major’s role compares 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 his convictions of democratic Socialism. (Zwerdling, 20). Lenin became leader and teacher of the working class in Russia, and their determination to struggle against capitalism. Like Old Major, Lenin and Marx wrote essays and gave speeches to the working class poor. The working class in Russia, as compared with the barnyard animals in Animal Farm, were a laboring class of people that received low wages for their work. Like the animals in the farm yard, the people is Russia thought there would be no oppression in a new society because the working class people (or animals) would own all the riches and hold all the power. (Golubeva and Gellerstein 168).
Another character represented in the book is Farmer Jones. He represents the symbol of the Czar Nicholas in Russia who treated his people like Farmer Jones treated his animals. The animal rebellion on the farm was started because Farmer Jones was a drunk who never took care of the animals and who came home one night, left the gate open and the animals rebelled. Czar Nicholas was a very weak man who treated his people similar to how Farmer Jones treated his animals. The Czar made his working class people very mad with the way he wielded his authority and preached all the time, and the people suffered and finally demanded reform by rebelling. The Czar said “The law will henceforward be respected and obeyed not only by the nation but also the authority that rules it – and that the law would stand above the changing views of the individual instruments of the supreme power.” (Pares 420).
The animal Napoleon can be compared as a character representing Stalin in Russia. Both were very mean looking, didn’t talk very much but always got what they wanted through force. In one part of the book Napoleon charged the dogs on Snowball, another animal. Stalin became the Soviet Leader after the death of Lenin. He was underestimated by his opponents who always became his victims, and he had one of the most ruthless, regimes in history. In was not till very many years later that the world found out about the many deaths that Stalin created in Russia during the Revolution. For almost 50 years the world thought that the Nazis had done the killing in Russia, when in fact it was Stalin. (Imse 2).
The last characters that are symbolic of each other are the animal Snowball with the Russian leader Trotsky. Snowball was very enthusiastic and was a leader who organized the defense of the farm. He gave speeches and instructions but was not very beneficial. All the other animals liked him, but he was outsmarted by Napoleon. Trotsky and Stalin’s relationship was very much like Snowball’s and Napoleons. Trotsky organized the Red Army and gave speeches and everyone in Russia thought he would win power over Stalin. After Lenin’s death Trotsky lost all his power to Stalin and was expelled from the communist party. 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 symbols in the book and