Why does Orwell use a farm specifically as an allegory in Animal Farm?

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billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Orwell wanted to write a story in which there were many different kinds of animals representing many different kinds of people. He really didn't have much of a choice for his setting because a farm was about the only place (except for a zoo or possibly a jungle) in which he could have a whole lot of different animals living together. A farm was also a place where many of the animals worked in one way or another, and his story was intended to have animals substituting for workers. It would have been possible to have a story set in a zoo, with all the animals revolting and breaking out of their cages; but most of these were wild animals and the author would have a hard time showing them suddenly beoming cooperative and industrious. The pigs would have gotten eaten up rather quickly. On a farm he wouldn't have to show lions, tigers, leopards, bears, and snakes. Same problem with a jungle. There at least the animals are relatively free already and wouldn't have to revolt. There was really no choice for Orwell but to set his story on a farm.

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lentzk's profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Orwell's utilizes a farm as an allegory for industry Animal Farm.  The farm serves as an extended metaphor through out the novel for industry and production.  The farm is a cultivated place of production, the very embodiment of natural industry; crops are grown and harvested, and the animals serve as part of this equation.  Some animals contribute natural resources like milk and wool, and other animals are raised for slaughter.  Extending the metaphor, who better to be the workers of this allegorical state of industry than the animals themselves? 

The animals are truly the producers and workers of the farm. Orwell's choice about using a farm depicts the disenfranchised workers of Russia as little better than livestock, which could definitely be seen as a commentary on the value placed on human life by the communist regimes.  Orwell's vision for a political satire employs the farm to reveal a deeper truth about the plight of the workers and the communist state.

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