Having become a Socialist in the 1930s after he was in contact with unemployed, destitute coal miners, George Orwell (the nom de plume of Eric Arthur Blair) later became disillusioned with it; moreover, he was greatly disturbed by the spread of harsh dictatorships. His fable, Animal Farm, written as a reaction to his great disappointment in Fascism, Marxist Socialism, and Communism, uses animals to represent certain historical figures and portray events in Russian history from 1817-1943.
Major = Vladimir Lenin. Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917; he had read Marx's works.
Snowball = Trotsky. Trotsky who joined the Bolsheviks after having been in an opposing faction believed himself the heir-apparent of Lenin, but after Lenin died, Stalin outmanoeuvred him, having him thrown out of the party and exiled.
Napoleon = Stalin. Like Stalin, Napoleon eliminates his competition, running off Snowball. He is a brutal dictator.
Squealer = the Communists speaker who informs the public. He reinterprets what has happened.
Mollie, the young mare = a vain female who foolishly pays no attention to changes in life. She is satisfied with her state as long as she is pampered.
Benjamin, the donkey, = older people who have seen governments come and go and expect nothing. the cynicism of one who has seen everything and hopes for nothing.
Boxer = the firmly-entrenched believer in Communism. He thinks if he just works harder, conditions will improve, and he never questions authority. He represents one of the peasantry hoping life will be better.
Other human farmers = Germany and the Allies with whom Stalin entered into various deals and alliances.