In the book Animal Farm, who and what does Moses the raven represents in the reality?

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shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Moses the raven represents organized religion, hence the name “Moses.” Like their allegorical counterparts in the Russian Revolution, the ruling pigs initially considered religion to be an enemy of the people, and an “opiate of the masses.” The fear was that, if  the animals believed in an after-life paradise, they would not be motivated to change their earthly conditions in this life. So the pigs sought to discredit Moses soon after taking power. Here’s how Orwell puts it in the novel:

The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put about by Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr. Jones's especial pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died.

Moses leaves the farm, but then, interestingly, Orwell has him reappear late in the book. But now, everything has changed on Animal Farm, and the pigs are not in such a hurry to get rid of him.

A thing that was difficult to determine was the attitude of the pigs towards Moses. They all declared contemptuously that his stories about Sugarcandy Mountain were lies, yet they allowed him to remain on the farm, not working, with an allowance of a gill of beer a day.

Why do the pigs let Moses hang around? Because by now they have become much the same as the cruel master they overthrew, Mr. Jones. Now they see the value in having their workers listen to Moses and go about their daily tasks with good behavior and a minimum of fuss. Many people feel that religion serves this function in a society.

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Animal Farm, Moses the raven represents organized religion in the Soviet Union. This is shown clearly in Chapter Two when Moses starts telling the other animals about a place called "Sugarcandy Mountain:"

In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges.

Just like the Christian view of Heaven, Sugarcandy Mountain is a place where animals go when they die. Like Heaven, too, Sugarcandy Mountain is an idyllic utopia where there is no suffering or pain.

When Stalin first became the leader of the Soviet Union, he actively oppressed organized religion. He did not want his citizens to believe in God or go to Church. He wanted them to be completely obedient to the state. But, when he was trying to encourage people to support the war effort in the 1940s, he reintroduced religion because he realized that it could serve a purpose for his regime. Specifically, it can make people accept harsh and unfair conditions because they think that they will go to a better place when they die.

It is for this reason that the pigs allow Moses to stay on the farm. They even give him a daily ration of beer because they know that his talk of Sugarcandy Mountain is good for morale. It will keep the animals from rising up against Napoleon because they think that they will be rewarded for their obedience and hard work when they die.