In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the animals who work on Manor Farm want to achieve better and more equitable treatment than they have received. As a result, they rebel and take over the farm.
Ironically, the animals work like slaves even after the rebellion and are no better off than they were before. In fact, in many ways, they are worse off, largely because of the avarice of their new masters, particularly Napoleon.
The new social order is only a thinly veiled reference to the communist order under Joseph Stalin. In fact, the animals call one another “comrade.” Soon after the revolt, the new animal masters grow close to Mr. Pilkington, who states, "If you have your lower animals to contend with, we have our lower classes."
This statement encapsulates Orwell's intention to depict the political ideas of Joseph Stalin by using both Mr. Pilkington and the animal masters as Stalin substitutes. Orwell specifically notes that
No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
Both the human masters and pig masters see class distinction within the societal order, despite espousing the idea that all people (or animals) are created equal. In fact, number 7 of the animals’ Seven Commandments reads, “All animals are equal.”
However, just as the Russian peasants mistakenly assumed that overthrowing the Tsar would lead to greater equality and improved treatment, the animals on Animal Farm do not enjoy the same privileges as their animal masters. Orwell writes,
The animals had assumed as a matter of course that these [products of their labor] would be shared out equally; one day, however, the order went forth that all the windfalls were to be collected and brought to the harness-room for the use of the pigs.
Over time, Napoleon orders several revisions to the Seven Commandments. The real treatment the “lower animals” and “lower classes” endure can be succinctly summarized in the one remaining commandment:
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
The majority of workers endured terrible conditions in Russia following Joseph Stalin's post-revolution rise to power. Similarly, the animals at Animal Farm suffer horrendous treatment with Napoleon's growing control. There are people in today's world who suffer similar treatment in certain nations and totalitarian regimes.