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Animal Farm and the Rise of the Soviet Union

A presentation on the symbolism between George Orwell's Animal Farm and the real-life rise of the Soviet Union

AJ Muna

on 15 January 2014

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Transcript of Animal Farm and the Rise of the Soviet Union

Animal Farm and the Rise of the Soviet Union
The green flag is the flag of Animal Farm. The red flag is the flag of the Soviet Union.
See any similarities? That's because
Animal Farm
is based on the Soviet Union's rise of power. The characters, places, and events in
Animal Farm
symbolize certain things from real life. The hoof and horn of the Animal Farm flag represent the hammer and sickle of the Soviet Union's flag.
"Four legs good, two legs bad" is the sheep's chant throughout most of the book. The sheep interrupt any of the other animals' objections to what Napoleon says. When the pigs start walking on their hind legs to prove their superiority, the sheep's chant changes to "Four legs good, two legs
The Pigs=The Communists
The Horses=The Workers
Presentation By AJ Muña
January 8, 2013
The Dogs=The Military
Birds=Non-Labor Groups
Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, the second leader of the Soviet Union. Like Stalin, Napoleon is a cruel dictator who rules through fear and violence.
Squealer represents the Glavlit, the Russian censorship office, and the Pravda, a Soviet newspaper filled with propaganda supporting communism. Squealer spreads Napoleon's twisted truths and controls what is said and heard.

Snowball represents Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was one of the original insurgents but became one of Stalin's greatest rivals. He was exiled from Russia and his actions were changed in the minds of the people.
Old Major represents Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Like Marx and Lenin, Old Major is respected and inspires revolution but does not actually lead for a substantial amount of time.
Boxer represents the male working class. He is dedicated, hard-working, and powerful, but not very intelligent. Boxer trusts the pigs' decisions blindly.
Clover represents the female working class. She suspects the pigs of changing and disobeying the Seven Commandments but doubts that she remembers the Commandments correctly.
Mollie represents the upper class and the petite bourgeoisie, the lower middle class which includes small shopkeepers and artisans. Mollie was never in favor of revolution because she was pampered by the humans. She eventually fled Animal Farm.
Joseph Stalin
The Glavlit / The Pravda
Leon Trotsky
Old Major
Karl Marx / Vladimir Lenin
Male Working Class
Female Working Class
Upper Class / Petite Bourgeoisie

The dogs—Jessie, Bluebell, and Pincher—represent the military forces before Stalin. Jessie, Bluebell, and Pincher were the parents of the puppies. They served in the battles but were not Napoleon's personal bodyguards because they were not trained to use their abilities exclusively for Napoleon. Although they were not the most important characters, Jessie, Bluebell, and Pincher remained loyal.
The nine puppies represent Stalin's Secret Police. The puppies were taken from their parents and trained by Napoleon to do his bidding. They protect Napoleon from any type of harm. The puppies murder animals on account of false confessions, a reference to the Great Purge.
Jessie, Bluebell, and Pincher
The Puppies
Former Military
Secret Police
Other Animals
The Cat
Moses represents the Russian Orthodox Church. Before the Russian Revolution, the Church was closely affiliated with the tsars, the line of royal emperors of Russia before Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Party took over. When the tsars were overthrown, the Russian Orthodox Church lost virtually all of its power. It eventually returned. In
Animal Farm,
Moses flees with Mr. Jones. When Moses returns, the pigs try to suppress his stories of Sugarcandy Mountain (heaven). Napoleon later allows Moses to stay and even gives him beer. Napoleon lets Moses continue to tell his stories to pacify the animals.
The hens represent peasant farmers. In
Animal Farm,
Napoleon promises equality for all animals but the hens are mistreated. When Napoleon tries to force the hens to surrender their eggs, the hens break their eggs and rebel. This is an allusion to Stalin's attempt at collectivization. Joseph Stalin forced peasant farmers to give up their land into collective farms. He believed that this would urbanize the Soviet Union. The peasant farmers did not willingly give up their land. They destroyed their land and killed their livestock before Stalin could get his hands on it. Stalin punished them by starving them, just as Napoleon had starved the hens. Nine hens died in
Animal Farm
but in reality, four to ten million people died of famine.
The pigeons represent Comintern, short for Communist International. Comintern served to control the international spread of communism. Comintern persuaded other countries to embrace communism and united the communist nations. The pigeons fly across Willingdon spreading news of Animal Farm to other farms and trying to convince other farms to adopt the ways of Animal Farm.
Russian Orthodox Church
Peasant Farmers
Benjamin represents those who were aware of the communist tyranny. Benjamin is cynical, adamant, and apathetic. He refuses to believe in the revolution. Benjamin and Muriel are the only animals other than the pigs who can read. Benjamin realizes that the pigs are changing the Commandments but does nothing to stop them.
Muriel represents the educated working class. Muriel believes what Squealer says and goes along with Napoleon's orders. Like Benjamin, she possesses the ability to read. However, Muriel is oblivious to what the pigs' ulterior motives are.
The cat represents the upper class during the Russian Revolution. The cat is lazy and selfish and exploits Animal Farm's system. She avoids work and only returns when it is time to eat. This goes unnoticed by Napoleon. During the Russian Revolution, the upperclassmen prospered and were safe as long as they remained in Stalin's favor.
Population Aware of Oppression
Educated Working Class
The rats and rabbits living on Animal Farm represent the social outcasts such as thieves, beggars, and the homeless. They were named "comrades" and promised equality but never actually became a part of Animal Farm's society.
Upper Class
Social Outcasts
The sheep represent the uncomprehending, uneducated Russian masses. The sheep blindly follow the pigs' orders. They never understand what is happening and do whatever they are told. In doing so, the sheep unintentionally oppose the other animals. The multitudes of citizens that the sheep symbolize became corrupted by Stalin's lies. They did not understand what was going on and followed the Soviet Union like, well...sheep.
Uneducated Masses
Places and Events
Mr. Jones
Mr. Pilkington
Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt
Mr. Frederick
Adolf Hitler
Mr. Whymper
Business Capitalists
Manor Farm
Tsarist Russia
Animal Farm
Soviet Union
Allied Powers
Nazi Germany
The Barn
The Media
Willingdon, the town that the story of
Animal Farm
occurs in, represents the continent of Europe. All of the farms mentioned in
Animal Farm
are actually scaled-down countries. Therefore, the town that contains these farms is actually a continent. The people in the town gossip about the different farms. The people's gossip symbolizes the different counties' opinions about the Soviet Union.
The Manor Farm represents Russia under the rule of the tsars. Mr. Jones, the owner of the Manor Farm, regards his property highly and does not realize how inefficient and outdated it is. The animals are mistreated and underfed. When the animals take over, they change the name to "Animal Farm." At the end of
Animal Farm,
the name reverts back to "Manor Farm", symbolizing the failure of the Soviet Union. Russia ends up in an even worse condition than it was originally.
Animal Farm, the farm after which George Orwell's book is named, represents the Soviet Union. When the animals overthrow Mr. Jones they rename the Manor Farm "Animal Farm", just as the Bolsheviks renamed the Russian Empire "The United Soviet Socialist Republic." In
Animal Farm,
the pigs immediately become the heads of government due to their advanced level of intelligence. The pigs soon become corrupted and the government of Animal Farm changes from a republic to a dictatorship. Napoleon rules over the other animals cruelly. At the end of
Animal Farm,
the pigs' faces are human. The animals are worse off under the rule of the pigs than they were under Mr. Jones.
Foxwood, one of Animal Farm's neighbors, represents the Allied Powers, namely Great Britain, the United States, and France. Foxwood is owned by Mr. Pilkington and is described as large and unorganized. The condition of Foxwood is most similar to the state of Great Britain during the world wars, but is also similar to the United States and France. The relationship between Animal Farm and Foxwood is similar to the dealings between the Allies and the Soviet Union. The Allies were irritated when the USSR negotiated with Nazi Germany.
Pinchfield, Animal Farm's other neighbor, represents Nazi Germany. Pinchfield is described as smaller yet more efficient than Foxwood, as Germany was in better condition than England during the world wars. Pinchfield makes a lumber trade with Animal Farm but double-crosses Animal Farm by giving the pigs counterfeit money. Pinchfield then invades Animal Farm during the Battle of the Windmill and Foxwood does nothing to aid Animal Farm. In real life, Germany betrayed the Soviet Union and invaded the USSR in an attempt to capture Moscow.
The barn represents the media. It is first used when Old Major gives his speech. After Old Major dies and the animals revolt, the barn is used for talking, debates, and votes. But after Snowball is exiled, there are no more debates. The barn is used by the pigs to control the other animals, as the propaganda-filled media was used to control the people.
Tsar Nicholas II
Mr. Jones, the owner of the Manor Farm before the Animal Rebellion, represents the last tsar of Tsarist Russia—Nicholas II. Mr. Jones is an inebriate and uncaring farmer. He neglects his animals. The animals overthrow Mr. Jones and his workers because they were not fed. Nicholas II did not care for his people and the poor state of the Russian economy. He was overthrown in the Russian Revolution.
Mr. Whymper represents capitalists who did business with the Soviet Union. Mr. Whymper is a solicitor who lives in Willingdon. Napoleon hires Mr. Whymper to act as an intermediary Animal Farm and human society. Mr. Whymper makes the animals uneasy.
Mr. Pilkington represents the leaders of the Allied Powers, mainly Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mr. Pilkington is described as an easygoing gentleman farmer who fishes and hunts according to the seasons. Mr. Pilkington is the owner of Foxwood, a neighboring farm of Animal Farm. Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick are arch enemies. When Animal Farm makes a lumber trade with Pinchfield, Foxwood is annoyed and does nothing to assist Animal Farm when Pinchfield betrays Animal Farm in the Battle of the Windmill.
Mr. Frederick, the owner of Pinchfield, represents Adolf Hitler. Mr. Frederick abuses his animals. He often kills his animals for his amusement. Pinchfield makes a lumber trade with Animal Farm but gives the pigs counterfeit money in exchange for the lumber. Pinchfield then attacks Animal Farm in the Battle of the Windmill.
Animal Rebellion
Russian Revolution
Pigs Take the Milk and Apples
Battle of the Cowshed
Russian Civil War
Construction of the Windmill
Five-Year Plans
Hens' Revolt
The Great Purge
Banning of
"Beasts of England"
Lumber Trade & Battle of the Windmill
Boxer's Death
Meeting of Men and Pigs
Nazi-Soviet Pact & Operation Barbarossa
(Battle of Moscow)
Resistance to Collectivization
Tehran Conference
Starvation of the Citizens
Controlling of the People
The Animal Rebellion represents the Russian Revolution. In
Animal Farm,
the animals overthrow Mr. Jones and the pigs become the new heads of government. Snowball and Napoleon come to power. Napoleon disposes of Snowball, leaving himself the one and only leader. Napoleon rules the animals cruelly and the animals suffer. The animals do not understand what is happening and must go along with the pigs' plans. Under Napoleon, the animals are ruled even more brutally than under Mr. Jones.
When the animals are just starting their new lives without Mr. Jones, the pigs become the "supervisors", watching the other animals do work while they oversee that the work is done correctly. Once the milk and apples are collected, the pigs secretly eat them. The other animals were expecting the milk and apples to be shared equally but this was not so. Squealer justified the pigs' eating of the milk and apples by saying that they needed the nutrients for their brains. The animals believed Squealer, even though they needed the nutrients to recover from their hard work. The pigs' taking of the milk and apples represents the beginning of corruption in the Soviet Union's new government.
The Battle of the Cowshed represents the Russian Civil War between the Red Army (the Bolsheviks) and the White Army (the groups opposing the Bolsheviks). In the Russian Civil War, there were many different groups in the White Army, making it impossible to elect a single leader. Because of this, the White Army was not united. Even though the White Army completely surrounded Russia, their attacks were not coordinated. The Red Army won because it was united. This is mirrored in the Battle of the Cowshed. In the Battle of the Cowshed, the farmers attacked Animal Farm. Even with weapons, the farmers lost and Animal Farm was secured.
The construction on the windmill represents Stalin's Five-Year Plans. Stalin promised that the Five-Year Plans would improve the economy, technologically advance the Soviet Union, and shorten the workweek. The Five-Year Plans were a series of horrendous disasters. Each time the Plans failed, new ones were made. The Five-Year Plans ended up killing millions. In
Animal Farm,
Napoleon said that the windmill would solve all of the animals' problems. This did not happen. The windmill was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. The animals were overworked and underfed while building and rebuilding the windmill. In the end the windmill did nothing to improve life on Animal Farm and actually had the opposite effect.
The Hens' Revolt represents the peasant farmers' resistance to collectivization. When Napoleon starts asking the hens for their eggs, the hens refuse and smash their eggs on the ground rather then let them be sold. This angers Napoleon so he starves the hens into submission. Consequently, nine hens die. This is a reference to Stalin's attempt at collectivization. Stalin collected farms from their peasant owners so as to create a more urban society. However, the farmers did not just give up their property. The farmers destroyed their land and slaughtered their livestock before joining a collective farm. To counter, Stalin let the peasant farmers starve, killing four to ten million people.
The executions that Napoleon subjects some of the animals to represent the Great Purge. Napoleon orders his dogs to slaughter the most troublesome and rebellious animals on account of absurd confessions associating the animals with Snowball. He does this to instill fear into the other animals and prevent any questioning of his power. During the Great Purge, Stalin did the same. He rounded up hundreds of thousands of people for interrogation and then executed them for stating false confessions. Most of the victims of the Great Purge were innocent people but the government directed false blame at them to conceal the real problems.
"Beasts of England" is the song that Old Major sings to the animals during his speech. It is used to inspire the animals to rebel and fight for their freedom. When Squealer informs the animals that "Beasts of England" is banned and is now irrelevant, he explains that "Beasts of England" was the song of the Rebellion, but since the Rebellion is over, it is not to be sung anymore. The prohibition of "Beasts of England" symbolizes the controlling of the people because by taking away their inspiration, the citizens do not hold the power to fight. Napoleon bans "Beasts of England" to convince the animals that they have achieved their goal of freedom when that is the exact opposite of what was actually happening. Napoleon bans "Beasts of England" to prevent the animals from realizing this, therefore allowing him to stay in power.
"Beasts of England"
The lumber trade between Animal Farm and Pinchfield represents the Nazi-Soviet Pact. During World War II, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a peace treaty called the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. The Soviet Union took this treaty seriously but Nazi Germany had planned in advance to break it and execute Operation Barbarossa. Operation Barbarossa was a plan to invade the Soviet Union. In the Battle of Moscow, Germany attacked the Russian capital of Moscow but failed. Operation Barbarossa and the Battle of Moscow are reflected in
Animal Farm
as the Battle of the Windmill. In Animal Farm, the pigs sell the lumber stock to Pinchfield but Pinchfield tricks the pigs by giving them counterfeit money. The farmers of Pinchfield then attack Animal Farm. Messages were sent to Foxwood but no assistance came. The animals managed to fend off the farmers but the farmers detonated a bomb inside of the windmill, completely destroying all of the animals' hard work. The farmers never gain enough strength to strike again.
When Boxer, the hardest worker on Animal Farm, was injured when pulling stone to rebuild the windmill once again, the pigs took advantage of the situation to be rid of him. The pigs sold Boxer, unsympathetically, to be killed. The pigs used the money that they earned to buy more alcohol. Boxer's death represents the starvation of citizens because both Napoleon and Stalin did nothing to help the workers. Like Napoleon, Stalin did not directly kill his people but he let them starve to death. Stalin sold most of the food and gained a profit for himself, rather them give it to his starving people. To Stalin, the workers were disposable, just as Boxer was to Napoleon.
The meeting between the pigs and the farmers represents the Tehran Conference. At the Tehran Conference, the political leaders of the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin—met on peaceful terms. As you can imagine, the meeting was very tense because of the previous Russian alliances with Germany. In
Animal Farm,
the pigs and the humans meet to eat and play cards. Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington play aces at the same time and everyone starts arguing, symbolizing the beginning of the friction between the Soviet Union and United States that caused the Cold War. At the end of the meeting, it is said that the animals peeking in from the window could not tell the difference between the pigs' and the humans' faces. This represents how Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to allow Stalin to decide what to do with Poland in exchange for Soviet military support. Many viewed this as betrayal from both the capitalist and communist sides and were thus confused as to which side was which, as the animals were.
Works Cited

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"Animal Farm Ending." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., n.d.Web. 06 Jan. 2014. <http://www.shmoop.com/animal-farm/ending.html>.

"Animal Farm." Newspeakdictionary.com. PayPal, n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2013. <http://www.newspeakdictionary.com/go-animal_farm.html>.

"Animal Farm." StudyMode. Studymode.com, 2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2013. <http://www.studymode.com/animal-farm-notes/symbols-themes/>.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1954. Print.

P., Sarah, Glenda L., Carrie Z., and Deeksha K. "Animal Farm ~ Russian Revolution." Prezi.com. Prezi Inc., 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. <http://prezi.com/vsucpsgr7oir/animal-farm-russian-revolution/>.

"Pravda (Soviet Newspaper)." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 9 May 2012. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/474092/Pravda>.

"The Russian Civil War." History Learning Site. HistoryLearningSite.co.uk, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/russian_civil_war1.htm>.

"The Tehran Conference, 1943." Office of the Historian. United States Department of State, n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2014. <http://history.state.gov/milestones/1937-1945/tehran-conf>.

"Third International (association of Political Parties)." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/290606/Third-International>.
This comic depicts Hitler stabbing Stalin in the back. It represents Germany's betrayal on the Soviet Union.
Animalism, the type of government that Old Major created, represents Communism. In both Animalism and Communism, it is believed that all citizens are equal. However, the ideas of Animalism and Communism became corrupted.
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