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Animal Farm and the Bolshevik Revolution

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Steve Smith

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of Animal Farm and the Bolshevik Revolution

Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution
Manor Farm
Manor Farm represents Russia before the Russian Revolution. Mr. Jone's is eliminated from the farm during the animals' rebellion just as the Russsian monarchy was eliminated during the Russian Revolution. The creation of Animal Farm mirrors the creation of the Soviet Union.
Manor Farm/Russia
-Leader who cares little for his subjects
-Unkempt/ not industrialized
-Unhappy citizens
-Leader lives luxuriously, while subjects lived poorly with
unfair treatment
Animal Farm/Soviet Union
-Subjects lived happily (at first)
-Removal of the old power
Sugarcandy Mountain
Mr. Jones
Old Major
Mr Jones was the undisputed ruler of Manor Farm before the animals started having doubts and eventually overthrow Mr. Jone's rule. This closely mirrors the overthrow of Tzar Nicholas II of Russia during the revolution.
Old Major inspires the revolution on Manor farm through his words and ideas. This is what makes old Major a parallel to Lenin, who as the leader of the Bolshevik party, spurred to action the bolshevik revolution in Russia.
Mr. Jones' House
Mr. Jones' house on the farm represents the Tzar Nicholas II's palace. He lived in a place of luxury while the Russian People, who mirror the animals lived in very bad conditions, suffering unfair disadvantages. Later, Napoleon and the pigs start to live in Mr. Jone's house, taking on human characterisitics and reverting back to Mr. Jone's harsh treatment of the animals. The mirrors Stalin's return to the oppression of the monarchy that the Revolution tried to escape.

Pinchfield represents Germany.
"...smaller and better kept..."
The book uses this above quote in reference to Pinchfield, a neighbouring farm, which is the only description the reader reads about the farm itself. The farm is an allusion to Germany due to Mr. Fredrick, the Farmer who owns Pinchfield, who is an allusion to Hitler. Mr. Fredrick is a tough, astute operator of Pinchfield, similar to Hitler's merciless rule in Germany. Keeping things structured and organized is a concept in fascism. When using "...smaller and better kept..." Orwell is alluding to Hitlers fascist government.
Foxwood Farm
Foxwood Farm represents England and the United States
The Windmill
The Windmill represented Industrialization, as well as Stalin's Five year plan.
The windmill represents Snowball's plans to modernize the farm which is very similar to how Trotsky wants to modernize Russia. When Napoleon takes over, he states he will go through with the plan, but it will take another year to complete. This, along with the setback experienced by the storm and the bombing of the windmill are Orwell's personal criticism of Stalin's Five Year Plan.
The Gun
The First Revolution
Apples and Milk
Snowball is a representation of the bolshevik party member, Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was a rival of Stalin, like Snowball was of Napoleon. Snowball and Trotsky both played important roles in their countries ' defense, with Trotsky leading the Red Army, and Snowball being the first to charge in at the battle of cowshed. Lastly They were both expelled from their seats as well as their lands by Stalin/ Napoleon.
Battle of the Cowshed
The Raven in the story represents religion particularly the orthodox church. Mr. Jones - representing the Tzar - sometimes feeds the raven bread soaked in beer. This shows how the Tzar had a good relationship with religion. After the revolution takes place, the raven disappears, this parallels the revolutionaries of Russia and how support (not necessarily tolerance) of religion stopped in government. As Stalin - represented by Napoleon - rose to power leaders of the USSR began supporting religion once more, specifically the Russian Orthodox Church. This is show when the raven returns and is provided rations despite the lack of work he does.

The hens were a representation of the factory workers in Russia. They were demanded to put in long hours with little gain. Napoleon demanded a ludicrous amount of eggs that the hens could not physically make.
In Animal Farm, Foxwood is described as an unkempt and overgrown with plant life. This represents the bureaucracy that England and the United States had as it took long to get things done. The owner of the farm, Mr. Pilkington, fished and hunted as the seasons dictated, representing a capitalist ideology, as he was trying to maximize his gain from fishing and hunting.
Sugarcandy Mountain represents Heaven. It is idealized, and is the dream world of the animals. It is accepted by some prior to the revolution, but by none afterward. In the beginning, Sugarcandy Mountain diminishes the animals' motive to rebel and create their own society, as they believe that their will be a blissful afterlife. This closely mirrors the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia, which motivated citizens to believe that no matter how awful the situation is, their is always a blissful end.
The first revolution, where the animals seized control of the farm through force, resembles the Communist Revolution of 1917, where the Bolsheviks take control of Russia. The Communist Revolution removed Russia from the war and transformed the Russian Empire into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), replacing Russia's traditional monarchy with the first Communist state in the world, just the the rebellion at animal from transferred Mr. Jone's power to the animals, and eventually all the the pigs. Prior to the rebellion, Mr. Jone's treatment of the animals had grown increasingly poor, as he even forgot to feed the animals one day. This mirrors how the Russian monarchy had progressively worsened over the years leading up to the Communist Revolution, as more and more people began to starve.
The Battle of the Cowshed, where Mr. Jones tries to retake control of the farm, closely mirrors the Russian Civil War, where the opponents of the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks, tried to retake control of Russia for the royal family. Several times, the Bolsheviks appeared to be losing, but regained strength with the leadership of Trotsky alongside Lenin. This is similar to the animals losing hope after one of their own, a sheep, was killed. However, with the strength and bravery of Snowball, the animals defeated the invading humans.
The Second Revolution
The Second Revolution, where Napoleon seized power and chases Snowball away with his personally trained dogs, parallels Stalin's seizure of power exiling Trotsky to Switzerland. Both Stalin and Napoleon were chief operatives in the management of the USSR and Animal Farm. After Lenin's death, Stalin suppressed Lenin's recommendation of Trotsky as his successor, thus isolating his political enemies, and later had them dismissed from the country altogether. Mirroring Stalin's actions, Napoleon dismissed Old Major's values for an equal society and slowly acquired complete control of Animal Farm, along with isolating his political enemy Snowball.
The Purge
Resuming of Trade with the Outside World
Boxer and Clover
The Purge, when numerous animals admitted to conspiring with Snowball and were killed, closely mirrors Stalin's Great Purge, where numerous people who admitted to conspiring against Stalin and were executed. The confessions made by both the animals and the victims in the USSR were both forced confessions and the victims were previously chosen in order to eliminate those threatening the regime. For examples, the hens who rebelled against Napoleon's policy of using their eggs for profit all confessed and were immediately killed.
Boxer and Clover represent the working class of Russia and show the differing opinions among them. Boxer shows how some of the working class blindly followed Stalin, whereas Clover shows how some questioned him. When Napoleon sold Boxer to be turned into glue, it is a representation of Stalin abusing his working class and taking all they did for himself.
The dogs represent two things; first the secret police/KGB or the Checka. Napoleon used the dogs to kill anyone in his way by claiming to conspire with Snowball
Napoleon's resuming of trade with neighboring farms through the proxy of Mr. Whymper closely mirrors the USSR attempts to resume relations with other nations in Europe. Although Animal Farm pursued a policy of self-sufficiency, it could not produce some materials such as iron, paraffin oil, and nails. The USSR also pursued a policy of self-sufficiency while still importing agricultural, manufactured and consumer goods in exchange for manufactured goods and energy from various other socialist countries.
The second are the brainwashed masses. The next generation that followed Stalin. Napoleon took the dogs away from their mother to "educate" them himself.
Battle of the Windmill
A parallel can be drawn between The Battle of the Windmill, where the humans invaded again, after the first battle, bombing the windmill, and the Second World War, when the Germans invaded the USSR destroying their industry. Mr. Frederick with a group of armed men plant dynamite at the base of the windmill, blowing up the entire structure, and catching the animals, who didn't save the windmill in time, off guard. This mirrors the Soviet military's surprise at the German attack. Soviet forces were not positioned to effectively counter the attack.
The Barn
The barn where the animals live is a representation of the poor state the animals live in prior to the revolution, contrasting with the house Mr. Jones lives in. This is similar to how before the Revolution, royalty lived in wealth while peasants and workers suffered poor living condition and starvation. Napoleon moves into the manor after he starts taking on human characteristics. This represents the shift from Animalism back to the oppression of Mr. Jones.
1984 was better
The Pigs represented two things; the first being Stalin's and Napoleon's party members who were tried and executed.
The pigs that were hinted to being Napoleon's children represented the generation of people in the USSR that were raised with Stalin's ideals. This is shown by Napoleon insisting on a school needing to be built for them.
Mollie is a representation of the Russian bourgeoisie. The parallels can be drawn because after the revolution she still wants finery such as sugar and ribbons, which are very human-like status symbols. After the revolution many bourgeois left the country much like Mollie did.
Squealer represents the propaganda, used by the soviet party. He is very persuasive and whenever the other animals are questioning a decision or a concept he convinces them that Napoleon is right.
Napoleon Is a very clear parallel to the Russian leader Stalin. Stalin first of all is a political leader, as is Napoleon. Stalin created the Cheka,who enforced the beliefs and rules of the government, much like Napoleon trained the dogs to enforce his beliefs and rules. Stalin profusely disliked Trotsky, and made efforts against him. Later on he eventually starts to execute and exile members of his own party. In the book Napoleon has a hatred of Snowball, and also, like Stalin, eventually begins to kill off his party members.
Another parallel can be drawn to Karl Marx, the creator of the communist ideology, as Old Major said that Animalism came to him in a dream.
During the Battle of the Cowshed, Mr. Jones uses the gun to protect himself while shooting the animals, consequently wounding Snowball, and killing a sheep. "The pellets scored bloody streaks along Snowball's back, and a sheep dropped dead." Initially the gun symbolizes the violence and force needed to achieve power. This opposes Marx's ideal that rebellions should be won through passive determination and honesty, just as Stalin shifted away from Marxist ideals. Rising to power through violence, fear, and force, Napoleon proves himself to be no better than Mr. Jones, just as Stalin proves himself not to be the great leader Russia needed after Lenin's death by not keeping within Marxist ideals. Later, the gun is turned into a propaganda tool, fired on important occasions such as parades and Napoleon's birthday, to trick the animals into thinking they were actually victorious, not hungry and overworked.

The last lines in the book read
"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which." Animal Farm p.95 pp.1
This may be referring to how Stalin went against the ideals of communism and became not an equal but a dictator with as much or in some cases more power than the monarch before him.
This may also be why the character is called Napoleon, because Napoleon became the monarch of a country that had just recently overthrown the previous one.
Moses' name may refer to the fact that Moses is also trying to uplift the animals with his talk of candy mountain, which may be a nod to the biblical story where Moses leads his people to freedom.
Muriel is one of the few animals that can read, and she is one of even fewer working animals that can read. This leads the reader to draw a parallel between her and the few that are educated in the working class.
Mr Fredrick
Mr. Pillkington
The name squealer accurately represents this character because it seems that most of what he does is speak and manipulate, and a squeal is the noise that a pig makes to do so.
The flag's white hoof and horn symbolize the animals while its green background symbolizes the fields of England. Originally, this flag was created as a symbol of Animalism, equality and freedom amongst the animals, yet later on, Napoleon uses the flag to promote his oppression and rule. A flag-raising ceremony held every Sunday attempts to unite the animals under Napoleons rule and kindle nationalism amongst the animals just as the Russian government under Stalin used censored journalism to create Stalin as a hero in the people's eyes. The Soviet Union's flag also started out as a symbol for the working class, but later became a symbol of Stalin's dictatorship and oppression.
In the beginning of Animal Farm, Old Major recounts a song called "Beasts
of England" to the rest of the animals at the meeting in the barn. Old Major
teaches the tune to the animals painting a heartfelt picture of the utopian animal society of Major's dreams. Serving as the first national anthem of Animal Farm, this tune represents the original goals of Animalism. Later Napoleon outlaws the song fearing the power of the song's idealistic and revolutionary nature similar to how Stalin's purges got rid of people who opposed him. In "Beasts of England" place is a new song beginning with "Animal Farm, Animal Farm, Never through me shalt thou come to harm!". This new song, along with another poem called "Comrade Napoleon" represents Napoleon's attempts to persuade the animals to unite with his unfair rule, just as Stalin used propaganda through censorship of cinema, newspapers, art, schools, and radio to promote his rule.
Animalism is the murky, yet frequently referred to, concept used by Orwell to symbolize socialism. This philosophy is first presented by Old Major, who Orwell believed to be naive in thinking that his idealistic concept of equality and freedom of all would work. Old Major did not take into consideration, the inherent greedy and jealous nature of animals which would eventually undermine the complete origin of Animalism, just as Karl Marx failed to see the greedy and power-hungry side of humans. Marx's idealistic thinking of socialism was undermined after Stalin's hunger for power was achieved through force and persuasion.
Mr. Fredrick is a representation of the German leader, Hitler. Mr. Fredrick is shown presenting propaganda of the animals on Animal Farm, resorting to cannibalism, torture and polygamy, after the revolution. Propaganda was a large part of Hitler's governing strategy. The book also tells of a timber trade between Animal Farm and Pinchfield Farm, which parallels the non-aggression pact made by Russia and Germany. Germany violates this agreement, and by providing Animal Farm with counterfeit money Pinchfield Farm does the same.
As the pigs gain more and more power over the animals at Animal Farm, they become greedier, giving themselves advantages
over the other animals at Animal Farm. An example of this is when
Squealer announces that the milk and apples are to be reserved for pigs only because these foods contain "substances absolutely necessary to the well being of a pig". The apples and milk are privileges reserved for the pigs, just as the nobility in Tzar Nicholas II's rule received privileges such as freedom from corporal punishment, the right to enter specially designated educational institutions, and virtual ownership of the serfs who worked on their estates other citizens didn't receive.
There is very little mention of cows in the novel but a lot of mention of the resources they give. The pigs eventually end up going against what they said and take the milk from the calve's mouths. Taking this into mind the cows seem to have a role similar to the hens, factory workers.
Mr. Pilkington is a representation of the leaders of the west - England and United States. This representation is made clear when the deal breaking happens. Russia before making the agreement with Germany mentioned above, was going to enter an alliance with Britain.

The ribbons first tied onto Mollie, and later onto the pigs represent the privileges some animals have over others. Why do some animals have ribbons while others don't? After Mr. Jones' defeat, Muriel is soon barred from wearing ribbons because they are a reminder of humans, while creating inequality. Near the end of the novel, the pigs pride themselves in wearing ribbons. This return of the ribbons represents the animal community's return to the oppression and rule of Mr. Jones. This return to the original regime in Animal Farm resembles Stalin's return of inequality in his rule. During Tzar Nicholas II's rule, many unfair privileges were given to nobility and royalty. The revolutions that took place were intended to create a society where socialism dominated and equality was amongst all. However, as Stalin's rule continued, unfair treatment returned to Russia. Stalin's rule was harsh and cruel, causing many innocent deaths among civilians.
The Cat takes very little interest in politics throughout the novel. She is said to have voted on both sides, she also joined the school for a little while but took very little interest after a while. This is a lot like how the gypsies acted in the Russian revolution.
Benjamin the donkey was the only animal other than the pigs that had any knowledge of what was actually going on. He is normally emotionally distant, but it when Boxer died he showed a reaction, and afterward read things out for clover. This may show that he was a citizen that was critical of the new government but never spoke out enough to get punished.

The sheep in the novel represented the unquestioning masses of supporters of Stalin. They repeat the mantras that are given to them, much like their real life counterparts did. Their blind following is most noticeable when Squealer (propaganda) takes them for a day, and their views were changed from four legs good two legs bad, to, four legs good, two legs better..
Mr. Whymper
Mr. Whymper is used in the book to portray visitors and traders from western countries. These people much like Mr. Whymper were given good impressions of Russia and sometimes spread the word when they went back home. This is seen in Animal Farm when the pigs order the food barrels to be filled to give a good impression to Mr. Whymper.
some of many victims shot in the purge
Leon Trotsky
protesters in Feb. 1917
the signing of a German - Soviet nonaggression pact
propoganda used by the white army in the civil war
Karl Marx
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