Animal Farm is a novel written by George Orwell that serves as an allegory personifying the events between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Stalinist era through the eyes of the oppressed. The novel was written in a satirical format, as Orwell was one of the biggest critics of Stalin as well as communism.
The novel opens with a group of animals’ discontent with their current lifestyle on the farm in which they live. As the animals complain about their working conditions, they are encouraged by an old boar by the name of Old Major to fight for a change on the farm. Shortly after his death, two younger pigs by the name of Napoleon and Snowball take leadership roles and lead a revolution against Mr. Jones, the manager of the farm. After a successful revolt the two pigs develop a government system called “Animalism”, which seeks to ensure equality amongst all animals of the farm. While Animalism seems to originally be the perfect system, a division slowly begins to form between the pigs and the other animals of the farm. The pigs are given special privileges such as better food, access to education, and earning profits from crops grown on the farm. If the animals seek to protest at any point, they are reminded as to how grateful they should be as every animal is equal under the laws of animalism. While the pigs become richer, the other farm animals are left to live in squalor. When the animals finally begin to realize that there is no real equality under the laws of animalism, it’s far too late as the oppressed have become the oppressors.
This novel serves as a guide to the Russian Revolution, and the ideas of Communism for readers who need a different account of the events that took place. The animals serve as representatives of the people who suffered the most under Stalinism, and follow the rise of leaders based on cults of personality and totalitarian government systems. Although the events of the novel are based on the past, they have slowly crept back into even the most “progressive” societies of world superpowers. Happy reading!