Animal farm’ is written by the author George Orwell, published in 1945. The book reflects events swinging up to Russian Revolution and then on into stalin era of the soviet union.
Animal farm tries to depict the situations unfolding during on and after the Russian revolution. In this book, each human, animal, or event represents a certain group of people, organization, specific person, or symbolism associated during the time 1917- 1943.
Before jumping into the lessons that we should take from this book, let’s first take a glimpse of what each character in the story represents.
a) Mr. Jones represents the last czar of Russia, Nicholas ll.
b)old major represents the father of communism that is Karl Marx. But in some ways, he also symbolizes the original communist leader, Vladimir Lenin.
c) Snowball represents Leo Trotsky, who was one of the real revolutionaries in Russia and Stalin’s biggest rival.
d) Napolean represents Joseph Stalin.
e) Boxer represents the working class. He’s portrayed as a dedicated and hardworking worker but possessing less intelligence to identify the trap of Napoleon.
f) Clover is Boxer’s female counterpart.
g) Squealer represents the Russian media, which works to legitimize all that Stalin does.
h)Mr. Pilkington altogether represents all the leaders of England.
i) Mr.Fredrick is a representation of all the leaders of Germany but most appropriately he’s an allusion to Hitler.
J) Mr. Whimper represents the capitalist.
k)Moly is a representation of Russia’s upper class who remained faithful to the czar. Some argue that it represents a section of the working class that was faithful to the czar.
l) Dogs that protected Napolean represented the military police of Russia.
m) The birds in the book seem to not fit in the preliminary model of animals i.e. ‘four legs good, two legs bad”. Similarly in those days, there were certain sections of citizens left out of socialist rhetoric. such as non-labor, clergy, rural farmers.
n) Raven Moses symbolizes a Russian orthodox church.
O) Hens seemed to represent the peasants in Ukraine. (read how 5-10 million Ukrainians were starved to death by Stalin)
p) pigeons that were sent out every day to spread the words of animalism represented the organization called ‘communist international’.
q) windmill represents the modernization projects that were undertaken after the Russian Revolution.
Having identified all the characters and symbols let us move towards our lessons.
Lesson no. 1) never follow any leader blindly.
As the story proceeds, it is depicted that all the animals follow the dictates of the Napolean without questioning him, even though they were ill-treated by him. So here’s a lesson for us those who can’t bear the criticism of their leaders and put a full stop on even those who try to do so. It is completely okay to follow the commands of the leader but it’s even more important to scrutinize their work with one’s intellect if it’s causing harm to larger sections.
Lesson no. 2) education is must, if you want to stand out for your rights.
When Napoleon’s supporters were changing the seven commandments to their advantage, nobody stood against them because they couldn’t read and were weak in their memory. Earlier they had remembered the commandments by heart, but as time passed by, it faded from their memory. And when these commandments were transgressed by Napoleon and his army, animals were unable to recognize it due to a lack of literacy. Nobody was sure whether those were the old commandments or not. They simply accepted it and dug their own grave.
Lesson no. 3) physical strength is of no use if you lack reasoning.
Boxer was hard-working and toiled day in and out for the windmill. He had physical strength and willpower, but he lacked reasoning, hence despite encountering with lot of instances that revealed that Napolean was just using him for his greed and deceiving all the animals, he could not comprehend the overall situation and blindly followed his master. As he used to say, “Napolean is always right”. Finally, he was slaughtered on the order of Napoleon.
Lesson no.4) Media is just propagating the ruling class’s version of the truth./ don’t believe in everything you see on television.
The character of the squealer was depicted as someone who conveyed the message of Napolean to the animals and also ensured that they won’t revolt against their master. Whenever animals felt discontent or doubt towards Napoleon, the squealer just created a new version of the truth that idolized napoleon even for his misdeeds. He assured that everything is being done for the benefit of animals. He falsely legitimized the authority of Napoleon.
5) tyranny will continue, revolution is a myth.
By defeating Mr. Jones, animals had thought that now they’re free and their ruler is working in their interest. But the last scene in the book depicts the harsh reality. By defeating their human farmer, they’d not defeated the reality of dirty politics, they’d just replaced one set of rulers for another, most probably an identical one. And the tyranny continued.