Compare Vladimir Lenin and Old Major from the book Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Old Major is the intellectual inspiration behind the Animalist revolution, much as Lenin was the animating spirit behind the Bolshevik insurrection. When Old Major dies, Napoleon vows to carry on the work started by the great revolutionary icon. But instead he establishes a personal dictatorship that violates every single one...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Old Major is the intellectual inspiration behind the Animalist revolution, much as Lenin was the animating spirit behind the Bolshevik insurrection. When Old Major dies, Napoleon vows to carry on the work started by the great revolutionary icon. But instead he establishes a personal dictatorship that violates every single one of the principles of the Animalist ideology. Orwell is referring here to what he sees as a similar betrayal of the Bolshevik Revolution by Stalin after Lenin's death in 1924.

However, one should be cautious in drawing too neat a parallel here. For one thing, Old Major dies before the animals actually take over the farm, whereas Lenin spearheaded the Bolshevik insurrection of October 1917. Moreover, Lenin established a brutal one-party dictatorship that openly used terror against its opponents. In that regard, one could argue that Stalin merely took Lenin's repressive policies a stage further. Nevertheless, it would appear that Orwell sees Lenin as having offered the kind of hope for a better future that Old Major conveys in his inspiring speech to the animals. In both cases, such hope is cruelly dashed.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team