Animal Farm – George Orwell – Review Summary NotesGloria Dsouza
Animal Farm is one of the two greatest works of George Orwell, the other being 1984. Animal Farm makes satirical allegories of the totalitarian communism of Soviet Russia. The novel is considered as one of the all-time bests ever written by any author.
Animal Farm is a novel of betrayed revolution. It presents the corruption that follows the revolution led by Lenin.
In Animal Farm, the characters are animals and human beings. Among the animals, many of them are pigs, who are more often than not rulers. Apart from pigs, we see three main horses, a donkey, a goat, some puppies, rats, the sheep (plural number), a raven, a cat and hens.
The animals are more allegorical than real. The interpretation of the meanings is often left to the reader, but generally the consensus is that they represent different classes. Again, the humans represent another class. Thus, the novel demonstrates multiple classes.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than the others .
All animals are supposedly to be of the same class, but in reality, some animals are of superior class.
Pigs: Old Major representations Lenin / Marx. He had introduced the animals to the song Beasts of England . Napoleon (allusion of Stalin), the villain, a Berkshire boar, gets more powerful gradually, with help of the puppies which he uses as secret police. He drives out Snowball (allusion of Trotsky), from the farm and uses dogs to enforce his dictatorship. He changes the commands to allow him have privileges such as eat on a table. He and the other pigs learn to walk upright and have like those humans against whom they had revolted. Snowball, allusion of Trotsky, was working for the good of the farm and had won over most of the animals hearts, but was driven out by Napoleon and his dogs. Napoleon also had spread negative rumors on Snowball. Squealer (allusion of Molotov) is Napoleon's minister of propaganda, and his main assistant for all practical purposes. He uses statistics to confuse the animals and show that they had improved quality of life, and the animals, with little memory of life before revolution, accept. Minimum is a poetic pig representing all the admirers of Stalin inside and outside Russia.
Humans: Mr. Jones, a heavy drinker, the disposed tsar. His attempt to recapture the farm is spoiled by the Battle of the Cowshed (Russian Civil War). Interestingly, Napoleon eventually became as much a drunkard as Jones. Mr. Frederick, the tough owner of Pinchfield, a neighboring farm, represents Hitler and his farm representatives Nazi Party. Mr. Pilkington is probably nice but is shrewd. He and Napoleon draw the Ace of Spades (the highest card in a card game) and begin a bad fight, symbolizing the tensions between US and Russia. Mr. Whymper (loosely alluring Western intellectuals) is hired by Napoleon to represent Animal Farm in the human society.
Horses: Boxer is the hardest-working entity in the animal farm. He is dedicated to the success of the farm. Boxer invests all his loyalty, kind, dedicated self to the farm's "good" as described to him by the farms leaders. His hoofs ever splits and he is sent to death by Napoleon when he could not work any more (and Napoleon spread the rumor that he died peacefully in a hospital). "I will work harder" was the motto of Boxer in any tough situation, and his brain-washed trust was shown by his maxim "Napoleon is always right". Clover is Boxer's companion. She works with Boxer and loves him and cares for him, and takes the blame on herself when Boxer splits his hoof. She is kindly respected by the three younger ones who ever take Boxer's role. Mollie is a third horse – a self-centered mare – who wears ribbons in her mane and eats sugar cubes (lives a life of luxury), and is pampered by humans. Later she leaves for another farm seeking better comfort.
Other animals: Benjamin, the wise donkey who could read also, represents the Jews and lives till the end of the novel. Muriel is a wise old friendly goat like Benjamin, but dies earlier in the novel from old age. The cat represents laziness, the rats represent some arbitrary people who roam around, the sheep represent the masses (and Napoleon manage the sheep such that he is supported and believed by them) and the hes represent the rich peasants. Moses is an old raven (bird) that sometimes visits the farm from Sugarcandy Mountain, a place where the hard-working animals go after death he claims. The puppies are the ones that Napoleon specifically raises and makes a secret police out of them. They become one of the backbones of Napoleon's power in the Animal Farm.