“Animal Farm” Mirrors the Russian Revolution in Both Characters and Events
Numerous characters in the novel are based, sharing parallel behavior and ideologies, on dominant Russian figures both during and after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Mr. Jones personifies Tsar Nicholas II (the last Tsar). Like the animals living under Mr. Jones, the Russian people living under Tsar Nicholas led lives of hunger and want. Old Major personifies Vladimir Lenin (leader of the Bolshevik Party that seized control in the 1917 Revolution). Old Major reestablishes Manor Farm into Animal Farm as Lenin transformed Russia into the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). Old Major’s principles of animalism (a belief that all animals must revolt against their oppressors and share equally in the prosperity of Animal Farm) represent Lenin’s communist political views (a political theory advocating class war leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs).
Snowball personifies Leon Trotsky, another Marxist thinker and Lenin ally who participated in a number of revolutionary uprisings and demonstrations. Snowball, like Trotsky, feels a series of rebellions is necessary in order to be ultimately successful in the purpose of revolution. Snowball’s intellect and plans for the windmill mirror Trotsky’s character and his plans about putting communism into practice. Trotsky was the leader of Lenin’s Red Army and an intellectual who put into plan his ideas about the best ways to transform Marx’s theories into practice. So too did Snowball draft his plans for a windmill and lead the army of animals against Mr. Jones. Napoleon personifies Joseph Stalin who values power and assumed complete control of the Communist Party through acts of terror and brutality. Napoleon’s dogs parallel Stalin’s KGB (Russian secret police that he used to eliminate all opposition).
Numerous events in the novel are based on similar circumstances that occurred in Russia both during and after the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Battle of the Cowshed represents the Civil War that followed the Russian Revolution of 1917. Napoleon’s forced confessions and bloody executions of the animals represent the various public trials and purges Stalin conducted to rid himself too of any possible threat of dissention. The hens unsuccessful rebellion against selling their eggs, which resulted in their starvation and death, represents the similarly unsuccessful Kronshdadt military base sailors rebellion sparked by food shortages and worsening conditions. Napoleon’s defeat of Fredrick in the Battle of the Windmill represents Stalin’s defeat of Hitler in the Battle of Stalingrad. Napoleon’s plan to build the windmill reflects Stalin’s Five Year Plan to revitalize Russia’s industry and agriculture.
Napoleon’s creating the Order of the Green Banner in honor of old Major represents Stalin’s creation of the Order of Lenin. Additionally, the 1945 novel’s ending card game represents the 1943 Tehran Conference (where Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt met to discuss ways to make lasting peace). However and forebodingly, despite flattery amongst them, the novel’s Napoleon and Pilkington ultimately betray their duplicitous natures by cheating in the card game.
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