How does Animal Farm qualify as a fable?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Animal Farm is a fable in that it has talking animals and is designed to teach a moral.

In many ways, this book is a fable and a satire, and an allegory.  Satire is biting social humor.  An allegory is kind of a grown-up fable.  It is a cautionary tale designed for adults.  A fable usually has magic or supernatural elements and often involves animals, putting this book clearly in fable territory.  However, fables are usually designed for children and this is not.

In the book, a group of farm animals take over the farm and overthrow their abusive and negligent owner.  They argue that humans have no right to take from animals.

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. (ch 1)

There are two ways we need to consider the lesson from this.  First of all, on a basic level we should treat animals with respect.  Second, we should treat other humans with respect.  If you are in charge of someone, you have an obligation to be a good leader and take care of the “subjects” or workers.

Although the story was based on the Russian Revolution, it is a universal cautionary tale about what happens when the populace is abused and downtrodden.  Revolution is not a thing of the past, making this tale still important.