How can I understand George Orwell's novelĀ Animal Farm?

Expert Answers
kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To understand Animal Farm, it is helpful to look at the social and political context of the novel. Orwell wrote the novel as a satire of the Russian Revolution of 1917 when the Bolsheviks rose to power. You will notice that many of the characters in Animal Farm resemble the key figures from this period. Napoleon, for instance, represents the dictator, Joseph Stalin, who famously exiled Leon Trotsky from Russia, who is depicted in the story as Snowball. This exile is very similar to Napoleon and Snowball's arguments over the windmill in Chapter Five. You can find out more about the context and its significance in the first reference link provided.

Secondly, you can improve your understanding by looking at the story's key themes. Consider, for example, the corrupting influence of power on Napoleon. You can also look at the role of religion in the story, as shown by Moses, the raven, and his tales of Sugarcandy Mountain. Using the descriptions of Sugarcandy Mountain, think about why it is so special to the animals and consider how Moses's stories act as a distraction from everyday life on the farm. You can find more themes in the second reference link provided.