What are two scenes from Animal Farm that are historically based?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clearly, there are several parallels in the volatile history of Soviet Russia with the allegory of George Orwell's Animal Farm, which was written as a satire and warning of dictatorships. Here are two parallels between history and Orwell's allegory:

1.  The character of Snowball represents that of Leon Trotsky, a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist and the founder and first leader of the Red Army. He strongly opposed the policies and the growing bureaucracies of Joseph Stalin.  Like Trotsky, Snowball is expelled from power; Trotsky was exiled and went to Mexico where he continued to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the newly formed Soviet Union. In Animal Farm, there are always rumors about Snowball's desire to return and claim power. 

2. Napoleon's character mirrors that of Joseph Stalin.  Like Stalin, Napoleon gains tremendous power over the animals through the intimidation of the Stalinist "secret police" of the vicious dogs. His use of propaganda and rewriting of history like Communist Russia are evinced in Squealer's interpretations of what has happened.  Here is an example of how Squealer spreads Napoleon's propaganda:

"Comrades!" cried Squealer..."a most terrible thing has been discovered. Snowball has sold himself to Rederick of Pinchfield Farm, who is even now plotting to attack us and take our farm away from us!" [Chapter 7]

The tyranny of Napoleon makes animals confess to crimes they have not committed. For instance, in Chapter 8, a gander who supposedly knew of a plot by Snowball

...confessed his guilt to Squealer and immediately committed suicide by swallowing deadly nightshade berries.

Like Stalin, too, who forced many into labor camps, Napoleon becomes more and more despotic, making the animals work all the time, when they have originally been promised not to have to work as hard as they did for Farmer Jones. Also, Napoleon becomes more and more removed from the other animals and stands like a man, in imitation of the absolute power of Mr. Jones. This evolution mirrors  the dictatorship that was originally formed to organize a socialist Russia society and then meant to be dissolved, but  later became excessively powerful and Stalin an absolute dictator. 

Chris Curtis eNotes educator| Certified Educator