Animal Farm


INTRODUCTION:
Animal Farm was first published in 1945. Animal Farm is a satire on Stalinism and the Russian revolution. As Russia was an allied of England in 1945, Orwell had a hard time publishing it. The British author George Orwell, pen name for Eric Blair , achieved prominence in the late 1940's as the author of two brilliant satires attacking totalitarianism. Familiarity with the novels, documentaries, essays, and criticism he wrote during the 1930's and later established him as one of the most important and influential voices of the century.

SETTING:
The story takes place on a farm somewhere in England. George Orwell did not give an accurate description of the farm and we do not know when the story takes place. When he started writing his book, he did not want people to know that he was writing about the Russian revolution. Many publishers who declined to publish Animal Farm in Britain and America did so because they considered there was no market for "children?s books".

MAIN CHARACTERS:
The novel Animal Farm is a satire on the Russian revolution, and therefore full of symbolism. General Orwell associates certain real characters with the characters of the book.

Mr Jones: Mr. Jones is Orwell's chief (or at least most obvious) villain in Animal Farm. Mr. Jones symbolizes (in addition to the evils of capitalism) Czar Nicholas II, the leader before Stalin (Napoleon). Jones represents the old government, the last of the Czars. Orwell suggests that Jones (Czar Nicholas II) was losing his "edge". In fact, he and his men had taken up the habit of drinking.

Old Major: Old Major is the first major character described by Orwell in Animal Farm. This "pure-bred" of pigs is the kind, grand fatherly philosopher of change an obvious metaphor for Karl Marx. Old Major proposes a solution to the animals desperate plight under the Jones "administration" when he inspires a rebellion of sorts among the animals.

Napoleon: Napoleon is Orwell's chief villain in Animal Farm. The name Napoleon is very coincidental since Napoleon, the dictator of France, was thought by many to be the Anti-Christ. Napoleon, the pig, is really the central character on the farm. Obviously a metaphor for Stalin, Comrade Napoleon represents the human frailties of any revolution. He is a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, not much of a talker but with a reputation for getting his own way.
Squealer: Squealer is an intriguing character in Orwell's Animal Farm. He's first described as a manipulator and persuader. He is a small fat pig, with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements and he has a shrill voice.

Snowball: Orwell describes Snowball as a pig very similar to Napoleon at least in the early stages. He is a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character. But as time goes on, both eventually realize that one of them will have to step down. Orwell says that the two were always arguing. "Snowball and Napoleon were by far the most active in the debates. But it was noticed that these two were never in agreement: whatever suggestion either of them made, the other could be counted to oppose it." Snowball represents Leo Dawidowitsch Trotsky, the arch-rival of Stalin in Russia.

Boxer: An enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together. A white stripe down his nose gave him a somewhat stupid appearance, and he was not of first-rate intelligence. He was, however, universally respected for his steadiness of character and tremendous power of work.

Clover: A stout motherly mare approaching middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after fourth goal.
The name Boxer is cleverly used by Orwell as a metaphor for the Boxer Rebellion in China in the early twentieth century. It was this rebellion which signaled the beginning of communism in red China. Boxer and Clover are used by Orwell to represent the proletariat, or unskilled labor class in Russian society. This lower class is naturally drawn to Stalin (Napoleon) because it seems as though they will benefit most from his new system. Since Boxer and the other low animals are not accustomed to the "good life," they can't really compare Napoleon's government to the life they had before under the czars (Jones).

Muriel: Muriel, a white goat,