Why does George Orwell choose specific animals in Animal Farm?

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George Orwell certainly did put in a great deal of work to fill his novel Animal Farm with symbolism to illustrate his themes. We can see symbolic reasons behind his animal choices.

Orwell uses pigs to symbolize the leaders of what was actually the Bolshevik Revolution and the start of communism in Russia because pigs are actually known to be the most intelligent animals found on a farm, next to dogs. Studies have shown that pigs are able to use mirrors to their advantage and do all kinds of tricks, including "jump hoops, bow and stand, spin and make wordlike sounds on command, roll out rugs, herd sheep, close and open cages, play videogames with joysticks, and more" (Angier, "Pigs Prove to be Smart, if Not Vain"). Hence, it was most definitely appropriate for Orwell to symbolize Carl Marx, leader of Russia's communist revolution, as an old, wise pig named Old Major. What's more, pigs are also known to represent uncleanliness as can be seen in the fact that they are known to wallow in mud and eat any slop and in the fact that pigs are forbidden cuisine in many religions like Judaism. Uncleanliness can also be likened to moral depravity; hence, it's also very fitting for Orwell to use the pig Napoleon to symbolize Stalin, the pig Snowball to symbolize Trotsky, and other pigs to represent other aspects of Stalin's regime.

Boxer is a horse whose motto is always "I will work harder." Boxer symbolizes the Russian people in general. Horses are known for their loyalty and their willingness to work, making horses a perfect way to symbolize the willing people of Russia.

Benjamin is a donkey who always questions the rightness of the pigs and refuses to do as they say because he sees any action as being futile; no matter what anyone does, "hunger, hardship, and disappointment" will always be, as he says, "the unalterable law of life" (Ch. X). What's more, Benjamin remembers every detail of the farm's difficult life. Benjamin symbolizes the older, cynical Russian citizens who did not believe communism would benefit society and even saw communism's evil side. Using a donkey is a perfect way to symbolize cynical citizens because donkeys are known to be stubborn, have good memories, and are unwilling to do anything that's not safe (Mike's Donkeys, "Donkey Facts").

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Why does George Orwell use animals instead of humans?

The idea of using animals in a satiric allegory has a long history. Probably the most famous example, prior to Animal Farm, is in Book IV of Swift's Gulliver's Travels, in which Gulliver encounters the realm of the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses who embody virtues that human beings, in Swift's view, lack. In John Dryden's satiric religious allegory The Hind and the Panther, the two title animals represent, respectively, the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. But your question as to why Orwell uses animals in his own satirical work can best be answered if you look first at the actual events of human history portrayed by Orwell in allegorical terms.

If we see Animal Farm in its most specific meaning as a parable about the Russian Revolution, the animals symbolize the Russian people apart from the ruling class of the Czar and his administration, the aristocracy, and the wealthy people generally. In less specific terms, the animals can be seen to stand for working-class people or, more broadly, non-wealthy people in any place and time throughout history. The wealthy, the rulers, are symbolized by the human Mr. Jones, the owner of the Manor Farm before the animals chase him out. Orwell is making the sharpest contrast possible in his portrayal of the ruling class, on the one hand, and the rest of the population—especially the working class—on the other. By making it a human vs. animal distinction, any doubts should be erased about how severely working people, in Orwell's view, have been oppressed throughout history.

But as in other satires, the use of animals also gives an irreverent, humorous tone to the allegory, in spite of Orwell's sympathies obviously being so strongly with the ordinary working people of the world. This is in keeping with the rather cynical message of his fable, in which it turns out that even among the oppressed ones who carry out the Revolution there are those who are primarily interested in seizing power for themselves, rather than in helping the other "animals."

This, of course, is exactly what happened in the actual history of the Soviet Union. What presumably was meant to be a workers' state with equality for all ended up a brutal dictatorship under Stalin, who made Russia even less free than it had been under the czars and killed millions of his own people.

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Why does George Orwell choose to make his characters in the book talking animals?

The allegorical satire of Animal Farm is amplified by the use of talking animals  There is a dark moral in Animal Farm, but it is accepted because it is presented in a humorous, nonthreatening way.

The idea that animals could work together cooperatively to overthrow their human bondage is laughable and really ludicrous if you think about it deeply.  So, what perfect way to show the inequality of class in society than by showing how the pigs eventually took over the idylic farm and became totalitarian rulers exactly like the humans had done.

By using animals, Orwell was able to avoid the psychological implications that would have come up had he used human beings as characters.  He is able to use the pigs to degrade the Russian Communist leaders, the sheep as the masses, the horse as the steady plodding worker who carries more than his fair share of the burdens. People who were accustomed to farm animals and their roles in farm life would have been able to relate to the attributes that Orwell gave to these animals.

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Why does George Orwell choose to make his characters in the book talking animals?

There could be a number of reasons for this.  One that comes to mind is that the story has a lot of qualities of the fable which usually uses animals with human qualities to make a point.  (Consider Aesop's Fables such as "The Hare and the Tortoise" and "The Fox and the Grapes").

Another reason might be to make those he was targeting appear foolish.  What nicer way to do this than call the leaders "pigs"?  Sheep represent the masses that are easily led astray and these could be seen as an allusion to some of Jesus's New Testament teachings.  Also, making the characters animals makes it easier to not have to define human features that may mislead the reader into thinking of an unintended target for the satire.

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Why has Orwell used animals as the principal characters?

In the tradition of such great satirists as Voltaire and Swift, George Orwell has written an allegory as the medium of his pointed criticism of Soviet Russia and Communism.  The animals used as characters represent various people and types; by using these animals, Orwell depicts concepts in an easily identifiable way. As explanation, Orwell himself wrote that he attempted in his novel "to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole."

In the preface to his novella, Animal Farm, Orwell, who was a socialist, describes how the idea of setting the book on a farm came to him:

...I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.
Thus, Orwell uses such strong animals such as Boxer to exemplify the compliance of those who are indoctrinated. A true believer in the precepts of Old Major, Boxer's solution to any problem is "I'll work harder" instead of being aware of his own strength. By using animals who simply represent a type, Orwell clearly communicates his thematic meanings. For instance, Napoleon is the totalitarian dictator; Snowball the benevolent dictator. Squealer is the propagandist, and Benjamin, the donkey who refuses to read, is the cynical intellectual who will not become involved, and, therefore, fails to effect a change. Minimus, who writes a poem in honor of Napoleon and composes a song that replaces "Beasts of England," stands for the artists whom the regime exploits for their propaganda.  Many of the animals are deceived by the propaganda spread by such as Squealer and Napoleon. For instance, Squealer explains the sudden disappearance of Snowball,
"Snowball was in league with Jones from the very start!  He was Jones's secret agent all the time....Did we not see for ourselves how he attempted--fortunately without success--to et us defeated and destroyed at the Battle of the Cowshed?"
The sheep are always the first to believe everything. Of course, sheep have long become the sumbol of non-thinking persons. Clearly, with the use of animals, Orwell gives readers easily recognizable types in a literary convention as old as that of Aesop. Indeed, this convention is effective as the animal community represents human society.

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