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(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Of George Orwell’s six novels, the two most famous, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four (1949), were both written during the decade preceding his death. This animal fable is a political allegory of the Russian Revolution. The allegory, as various critics have demonstrated, has exact counterparts to the events and leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution, the October Revolution, and the development of the Soviet Union into a dictatorship under the control of Joseph Stalin.

The animals are led by the teachings of old Major, whose historical counterpart is Karl Marx. Snowball, the theoretician, represents Leon Trotsky, and it is Snowball who organizes the rebellion against Farmer Jones, who represents capitalism. Another swine, Napoleon, representing Joseph Stalin, discredits Snowball with the help of his propagandist, Squealer. Napoleon organizes a counterrevolution with the help of his guard dogs (the state police or palace guards, in terms of the allegory) and drives Snowball into exile (as happened with Trotsky), then plays one neighbor, Frederick (Hitler), against the other, Pilkington (a Churchillian Tory), paralleling the events of World War II.

Orwell explained his motive for writing the book in a special preface he...

(The entire section is 390 words.)