How does Animal Farm allegorize the Russian Revolution?

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Animal Farm is an allegory, a story with a deeper meaning. Specifically, it uses the setting of an English farm and a number of animal and human characters to symbolize the Bolsheviks and their revolution, which took place in 1917.

We can see this clearly through the character of Old Major, who symbolizes Karl Marx, the philosopher whose works inspired the revolution, and also Vladimir Lenin, the man who organized it. In addition, just like Lenin, Old Major dies early in the story, leaving the running of the farm to somebody else. In history, this person was Joseph Stalin, who became the leader of the Soviet Union. In the story, this role is played by Napoleon, who takes charge of the farm early on and whose reign is characterized by violence and manipulation—again, just like the reign of Stalin.

So, to understand how Animal Farm functions as an allegory, it is necessary to take a deeper look at the characters and events and relate them to the history of the Soviet Union. By doing this, you will see the many parallels between the novel and the real history.

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The plot and major events in the book parallel the Russian Revolution directly. For example, the Battle of the Cowshed represents the Russian Civil War and its battles with occupying Germany, in which Leon Trotsky proved to be an able stratagist, and the expulsion of Snowball represents Trotsky's eventual expulsion by Stalin. Most of the named characters represent figures in the revolution: Old Major is Karl Marx, Napoleon is Stalin, the dogs are Stalin's Secret Police, and Squealer is Stalin's propaganda. The movement of the farm from a Marxist Utopia to a dictatorship parallels Stalin's accumulation of power and the brutality and lies he used to control his people.

...a society of animals set free from hunger and the whip, all equal, each working according to his capacity, the strong protecting the weak... Instead — she did not know why — they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.
(Orwell, Animal Farm, msxnet.org)

Orwell did not intend to provide a subtle message with Animal Farm; it is a strict and deliberate condemnation of Marxist ideology, but without an explicit alternative. Orwell tended to be pessimistic about social ideals and believed that most social systems would lead to abuse and fraud eventually. In this case, he showed how the Russian Revolution and the actions of Stalin would lead to a worse system than even the Czars. Animal Farm exemplifies the inevitable decline of Marxist-based societies.

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I would examine the enotes contributions on this topic.  The link detailing "themes" and "characters" as well as "historical context" can really be helpful here.  I would say that one major allegorical element in the novel is how the Revolution on the farm was carried out far before anyone anticipated and before the animals were ready for revolution.  This is very similar to the Russian Revolution in that the interpretation of Marxist thought in Russia was to advance the cause of Revolution before the nation had undergone the necessary stages of industrialization to make such alteration possible.  At the same time, one can see the division between Napoleon and Snowball as the division between Stalin and Trotsky.  The use of Squealer as the force of the pigs' propaganda is similar to the Russian News Organization "Pravda," where state controlled media ends up becoming part of the political organization's extension of power.

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How does Animal Farm relate to the Russian revolution?

This is an intelligent question. Animal Farm is an allegory. This means that the characters in the work can refer to historical people.

Here are a few clear examples. Old Major refers to Karl Marx. They are both great thinkers who invented a new political philosophy, “workers unite,” and they both died before the revolution.

Animalism is communism. In short, in both systems the government owns everything, at least in theory. Snowball refers to Trotsky, who had good intentions,] but was chased away. Lenin chased away Trotsky, and Napoleon chased away Snowball.

Napoleon, the often brutal leader of animalism, is Joseph Stalin. Napoleon uses the dogs and Squealer to get his work done. This refers to the force and propaganda that Stalin used to entrench his government. 

All of these characters show that what is happening on the farm mimics what has happened in Russia. In this sense, the work is an allegory of the Russian revolution. 

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How does Animal Farm reflect the Russian revolution?

Orwell's characters and the events that transpire throughout the story symbolize and correspond to historical events associated with the 1917 Russian Revolution and the early years of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. Old Major symbolically represents Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin, and the school of thought known as Animalism that the pigs develop allegorically represents communism. Snowball represents the intellectual revolutionary Leon Trotsky, and Napoleon symbolizes Joseph Stalin. Squealer represents Stalin's propaganda machine, while the nine ferocious dogs symbolize Stalin's secret police force. Boxer represents the proletariat working class, while Mollie represents Russia's bourgeois middle class. The initial Rebellion allegorically represents the 1917 Russian Revolution, ending with the abdication of Czar Nicholas II, who is symbolically represented by Mr. Jones in the novella. The Battle of the Cowshed represents the infighting during the Russian Civil War of 1917-1922, and the Battle of the Windmill represents the Battle of Stalingrad, when the Soviets defeated the German Army in 1943.

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How does Animal Farm reflect the Russian revolution?

Animal Farm is an allegory which uses a fable to pretty much retell the Russian revolution and give comment on it. If you use the link below, you will see how most of the characters in the novel correspond to the major players in the revolution. Farmer Jones represents Czar Nicholas and the way Orwell saw that he treated his people (neglected them in favor of treating himself well). Old Major symbolized Karl Marx, who gave the people a vision of communism where everyone would be equal to everyone else and the people would be in charge of their own destinies. Orwell's feeling about the revolution can be summed up in how he ended the story...where the leaders of the "animalist" group became just as corrupt as the people they overthrew.

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How does Animal Farm reflect the Russian revolution?

Animal Farm is a direct satire and condemnation of the Russian Revolution. It includes allegories for several of the major historical figures of the Revolution, including Karl Marx (Old Major), Leon Trotsky (Snowball), and Joseph Stalin (Napoleon). The underlying brutality and eventual dictatorship of Communism is seen in the constantly-changing rules of Animalism, which allows a double-standard for some and not others. Aside from various major events that parallel real events in Russia, one important aspect of the book is the feeling by the animals that things are going to get better even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary:

None of the old dreams had been abandoned. The Republic of the Animals which Major had foretold, when the green fields of England should be untrodden by human feet, was still believed in. Some day it was coming: it might not be soon, it might not be with in the lifetime of any animal now living, but still it was coming.
(Orwell, Animal Farm, msxnet.org)

Like Russia, the animals continue to work for the benefit of their leaders and not themselves, believing that it will only be a short time before things become better. Just like in Russia, this never occurred; the leaders grew more powerful, more paranoid, and more cruel until the country collapsed. The Animal Farm is not depicted as collapsing in the book, but it is hinted that it is only a matter of time before the pigs overstep their power and the other animals revolt again.

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How does Animal Farm satirize the Russian Revolution?

The Russian Revolution are the events that ended the Tsarist regime and created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Animal Farmis a broad satire of those events, covering the initial propaganda of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, and the slow breakdown of Russian society because of the essential failings of Communism.

By showing Russia as a small, working farm, and the subversive leaders as overthrowing the farmers, George Orwell shows how propaganda can be more powerful than fact and logic. By swaying the masses with slogans and pitting them against a common enemy, the pigs are able to exploit the workers as much as the previous regime, but in secret. The pigs claim that they are enjoying greater comforts (beds, alcohol, extra food) in order to keep everyone else safe; however, the result is that the workers work harder than ever while keeping less and less of their own labor. The book therefore acts as a shortened account of the necessary failure of a Utopian Communist society, since inequality of result becomes institutionalized by government instead of acting as a economic driver.

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How is Animal Farm compared to the communist revolution in Russia?

George Orwell's Animal Farm contains elements that mirror the Communist revolution in Russia. Let's look at some examples to help you understand how this works.

First, consider the revolt among the animals. They are tired of the farmer being in control and giving them no say about life on the farm. Mr. Jones takes the animals' labor and products and gives them little in return. He kills them when he is finished with them. The animals feel helpless in the face of this, and they are attracted to Old Major's ideas of rising up and taking their freedom. They do not, however, take Old Major seriously when he warns them not to start acting like the humans.

The animals' situation reflects the discontent in Russia under the last czar. Conditions were horrible, and ideas about equality were spreading. Like the animals in the novel, the Russian people, or at least some of them, did rise up under Communist leaders to overthrow their elite rulers.

The parallels continue in what happens next. The leaders of the revolutions grow in power. In the novel, the pigs begin to take control more and more, and pretty soon, not all animals are equal. A new elite forms. The animals as a whole lose power, and their situation returns to what it was before: namely, oppression and exploitation. The same thing happened in Russia as the Communist leaders assumed power for themselves and as ideas of equality quickly faded. Conditions grew worse and worse under the new system.

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In Animal Farm, how does Orwell use animal characters to draw parallels with the Russian Revolution?

One does not necessarily have to be familiar with the characters of the Russian Revolution to "get" Animal Farm, but it certainly helps. Orwell fairly transparently uses certain characters to stand for prominent figures in the history of communism and the Russian Revolution. Old Major, for instance, is intended to evoke Karl Marx as he explains the nature of class conflict between pigs and humans. Of course, like Marx, he dies long before his ideas were ever really put into practice, but his teachings are used to justify many of the pigs' actions, even as they deviate from his true meaning. Napoleon, of course, is meant to stand for Stalin, who uses the revolution to arrogate power and privilege to himself, and Snowball is Leon Trotsky, driven from the Soviet Union because his popularity was a threat to Stalin. Other animals stand for groups of people. Boxer, for instance, represents the working-class people who rallied around Stalin despite the fact that they were quite clearly being exploited. Mr.  Jones, the farm's cruel owner, is Nicholas II. Moses, the raven, represents the priests. The sheep are blind party followers. The list goes on, but the important thing is that Orwell uses these characters to demonstrate how power has corrupted, and how the best intentions can go wrong. Tellingly, he exploits our common view of the characteristics of certain animals to make his point even more powerfully. The fact that he portrays the revolution's leaders as pigs, viewed as both intelligent and gluttonous, for example, makes his satire all the more biting and obvious.

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