Animal Farm And Russian Revolution
Animal Farm and Russian Revolution Comparison:
Highlights, Events, Characters, Themes
The novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell, is an anti-utopian story of animals
taking over a farm in England. There are many parallels between the events and
characters in Animal Farm and those of the Russian Revolution. As in the Russian
Revolution the animals in Animal Farm strive to create a better life for themselves by
taking over the farm. But in the end their lives are no different than before except they
have different leaders. In addition, their new leaders became the same way as their old
The Russian Revolution was a series of events that eventually led to the formation of the Communist government of the USSR. It began with the overthrow of the monarchy of the last Russian Czar, Nicholas II. After the monarchy was overthrown, a Provisional government was established with the intent to change the social, economic, and political system to one based on the philosophy of communist socialism as defined by Karl Marx (1 xi-x). This government was soon divided into two fractions. One, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir llich Lenin, favored establishment of a centralized communist society. The other faction, the Mensheviks favored establishment of a constitutional government because they believed Russia was not ready for revolution. In reality, neither party held a real majority, and many political figures became powerful and then were expelled. Leon Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks and supported plans that would be for the good of all Russian people. Joseph Stalin built consensus with the members of several factions. In the final stages Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power and formed the communist government of the USSR ("Russian Revolution").
Much like the Russian Revolution events, Animal Farm tends to follow a similar sequence of events. The overthrow of Nicholas II is much like taking over the Jones' farm. The labor parties overthrew Nicholas II, and the animals rebelled and took over the farm. The Provisional Government set up in Russia involved many different factions and people, yet only a few individuals really possessed any power (3 158-73). Similarity the animals in Animal Farm gather to form a new society that would improve life for all, only to find that the pigs have already planned how the farm would be managed. The increasing frequency of disagreements between Snowball and Napoleon can be compared to the Provisional government's splitting into two main factions, the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Napoleon and his dogs attack and expel Snowball, which parallels the expulsion of Leon Trotsky by Lenin's Secret Police. The Battle of the Cowshed could be compared to the various uprisings and confrontations that took place in Russia in the early days of the Revolution. The Battle of the Windmill can be compared to World War I and the Russians' main enemy, Germany ("Russian Revolution"). The author of Animal Farm bases much of the events on the Russian Revolution.
The characters in Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution can also be compared. Mr. Jones is very similar to the Czar Nicholas II in that he is more interested in his own personal comforts than the well being of his animals or his farm. Old Major can be said to represent either Karl Marx or Lenin as a visionary who predicts a grand future. Snowball is similar to Leon Trotsky in that he is a meticulous planner, freely sharing his ideas to make life better for all animals on the farm. Napoleon compares to Stalin in a way that they both set themselves up as dictators with total power over the government and had special organizations to expel or execute anyone whom rebelled against them. Squealer represents the propaganda departments of Stalin's government. He is constantly maintaining the support for Napoleon by threats (you don't want Jones back) or bending the truth to justify Napoleon's actions. (http://www.globalserve.net/ glamont/frames.htm)
Boxer represents the common people of Russia who constantly follow their leader by working harder despite any doubts they may have in those leaders. Mollie is a character that represents the vain people in Russia at the time. She didn't think much about the farm and only cared for the beauty of herself in which she ends up leaving the farm. The vain people in Russia didn't care about the revolution, only about them, and went to other countries that offered more. Benjamin is much like the skeptical people in Russia. He is old and suspicious of the way things are working out on the farm. He thinks nothing ever changes and his suspicions end up being true. The people in Russia thought the revolution wouldn't change anything and just thought as the rulers as crazy (). As you can see the characters in Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution are much alike.
The theme in both the novel Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution is basically the development of dictatorship. Throughout all the events in the novel and revolution, you can see the accomplishments and the failures in forming a dictatorship or any form of government. Another theme is that anything that sounds like paradise could quickly take advantage of you and change your whole vision of that paradise. Like, with Animal Farm all the animals thought the farm would be heaven without Jones, and it turned out to be equal or even worse without him running the farm. Many themes could be learned from this story and revolution, but very few are obvious.
People are always looking for Utopia, but Orwell's belief is that it does not exist. But the search for Utopia could lead you to be taken advantage of by others. Animal Farm reveals clearly a way that Utopia is searched for but is never found.
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