In both Animal Farm and Gulliver’s Travels, there are many parts which comment on human behaviour. However, neither book approaches this subject directly. Both stories are allegories – stories that have two meanings. The surface meaning is simple and is usually portrayed in the form of a simple story. This makes it easy for the reader to understand what is going on. Underneath the surface is a deeper meaning that is harder to understand. Animal Farm Animal farm is a story about a good idea going terribly wrong because of greed, jealousy and power. An idea is put forward for a world where animals rule themselves.
At first this is a good idea. The farmer, Mr Jones, is thrown off the farm and Animalism comes into practice. Later on, however, certain animals become more and more like leaders, and after a while the farm is being ruled by a dictator. George Orwell decided to write Animal Farm because he was concerned about things that were going on in the world, mainly the Russian Revolution. In Russia, an idea was being spread around about communism, where all people are equal and there are no leaders. Orwell could see problems with this idea of communism. He wrote Animal Farm so that other people could also see these problems.
In the book, communism is known as Animalism. Orwell knew that if he sat down and wrote a book about the Russian Revolution, people would find it boring and not many people would read it, so he cleverly disguised his message in a story. All of the characters on Animal Farm represent something to do with the Russian Revolution. The story about the animals is the surface meaning – a simple story about animals ruling a farm. The deeper meaning is about the Russian Revolution. By writing this story, Orwell was warning people of the idea of communism, warning them that although it was a good idea, it will never work.
There will always be people who are not content with being equal and will rise to become leaders and dictators. The Characters Each of the characters in Animal Farm represents somebody who had something to do with the Russian Revolution. George Orwell has cleverly disguised different human characteristics and qualities into his characters. For example, he chose the normal Russian peasant to be portrayed by a horse. Horses are known to be hard working. This is exactly how Orwell wanted to portray the peasants. The first main character we meet in the story is Old Major.
He is the old boar who first dreams of the idea of Animalism. Orwell based the character of Old Major on the German political philosopher, Karl Marx. The theory of Communism was based on Marx’s three-volume work “Das Kapital”. His idea was that all people should be free and equal, without any leaders. Marx died in 1883 and never saw the revolution he had inspired. In the story, Old Major dies soon after telling the rest of the animals his dream. Mr Jones is the first human we read about. Right from the beginning we get an impression of a lazy farmer who is not very bothered about his farm.
“Mr Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. ” He does not feed the animals and spends all of his time down at his local pub. Mr Jones represents the Russian tsar. At the time of the revolution, the tsar was Nicholas II. Nicholas was an absolute ruler, but a weak monarch. In Animal Farm, Mr Jones is thrown off the farm after forgetting once more to feed his animals. In March 1917, Tsar Nicholas II resigned. Thus began the Russian Revolution. After the rebellion has taken place, the responsibility of the running of the farm falls on the pigs.
“The work… fell naturally upon the pigs, who were generally recognised as being the cleverest of the animals”. There were three pigs which stood out from the rest. They were Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer. These three pigs would become very important. Orwell based them on three very important factors of the Russian Revolution. Napoleon starts off as an equal, but from the very first sentence describing him, it is clear that he will become very powerful and important. “Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with a reputation for getting his own way”.
Straightaway an image comes to mind – the image of a bully; someone who hasn’t got much to say, but if they want something, they get it, no matter what. This is exactly the kind of image Orwell wanted to create. Napoleon’s character is based on Joseph Stalin. Stalin was not really an important figure during the first days of the Revolution, but he rose to become a dictator. Like Napoleon, Stalin ruled by terror. He killed all that opposed him. Snowball was another of the pigs who became a leader.
He is described as a “more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but not considered to have the same depth of character. ” Snowball was the pig who came up with all of the ideas for improving the farm. He organised the animal’s tactics for when the humans attacked the farm in the Battle of the Cowshed. He read some of Mr Jones’ DIY books and had plenty ideas about building a windmill. Napoleon was jealous of Snowball’s ideas and when it looked like Snowball was winning over the animals, Napoleon ran him off the farm with his new army of dogs, the equivalent of Stalin’s ruthless KGB.
Snowball represented Leon Trotsky. At the beginning of the revolution, there was a struggle for power between Stalin and Trotsky. In 1927, Trotsky was deported. After that, any problems he faced, Stalin would always blame them on Trotsky. The last of the three pigs was Squealer. Squealer was never really a very important person in himself, but the different lies and rumours that he spread around the farm were crucial in Napoleon’s campaign to become leader. Squealer represented propaganda. Most of the things he said were untrue.
For example, when the animals wanted an explanation for Snowball being run off the farm, Squealer said that Snowball was an enemy and was working against the other animals. He said that at the Battle of the Cowshed he had even plotted for the humans to win. Of course, this was ridiculous, but as with any form of propaganda, it is repeated and repeated and given across to the public so convincingly, that they cannot do anything but believe it. It was said that Squealer could “turn black into white”. This was probably the most important factor of Napoleon rising to power.