Animal Farm Introduction

By George Orwell
Allegory - Satire - Fable
“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
Family Guy
Jungle Book
Lion King
Cat in the Hat
Little Mermaid
Monsters Inc/University -- ??
Dog with a Blog
-Eric Arthur Blair
-Pseudonym: George
-Was a teacher for a
short period of time
while he was still just
trying to make a life as a
-Best known for 1984
and Animal Farm
Animal Farm (1945) is a
novella (shorter novel),
where George Orwell
illuminates the strengths
and weaknesses of
Communism. Moreover,
Orwell uses fictitious
characters to represent
important people or
groups of people that
played an integral role
during the period of time
known as the Russian
Revolution (1917).
In explaining how he came to write Animal
Farm, Orwell says he once saw a little boy
whipping a horse and later he wrote,
“It struck me that if only such animals became aware
of their strength we should have no power over
them, and that men exploit animals in much the
same way as the rich exploit the [worker].”
During World War I
Russia has been at a lengthy and expensive war
with Germany
The people are deeply displeased with
Nicholas II, the current, ruling czar
Working class is overworked and underfed
“The Whites” (formal officials, nobles, military
leaders, etc.) are still living in luxury
“Soviets” (small political organizations) began to
form amongst the people
These soviets tried to use the strength of their
numbers to bring upon change to better the lives of
the working class
Eventually, the people, HUNGRY AND
EXHAUSTED overthrew the czar and small,
“provincial” governments were formed to rule
small areas within the country (early 1917)
Later, however, the Bolsheviks, a new political
party, usurped the power and set forth their
Communist ideals
The Bolsheviks took over power during the
infamous “October Revolution” (1917)
The Bolsheviks followed and taught the tenets of
Communism was supposed to get rid of rich and
poor by equally dividing the work load, as well as
the wealth in hopes that everyone might prosper.
Everyone is supposed to have an equal say in all
parts of a Communist society.
Noted as founding the
Led the October
Read Karl Marx, a
German philosopher,
noted as the “father of
From the ideas he
received from Marx’s
writings, he formed the
Bolsheviks, who brought
Communism to Russia
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the first
official socialist state was created with Lenin at
the helm.
The Bolsheviks changed their name to the
Russian Communist Party after the Revolution.
They later became known as “The Reds.”
Lenin became so well-loved and revered that
upon his death his body was placed on display
for all to see and admire.
After his death in 1924, a power struggle
emerged for control of the Communist Party.
Josef Stalin
Leon Trotsky
Trotsky believed that the only way a society could
survive was through permanent revolution. He
reinforced the need for a worldwide socialist class.
This idea was later known as Trotskyism.
 Stalin (secretary general of the Communist party)
favored a modified form of Marxism.
 He argued that a socialist state could and must first be
created within Russia and that Russia would be the
leader for the international proletariat.
Later, however, Stalin’s ideas and practices quickly
turned totalitarian. The power-hungry Stalin would
not let anything stand in his way.
Totalitarianism is a form of government with a
strong central rule that attempts to control
individuals by means of coercion and repression.
Stalin eventually won the power struggle and had
Trotsky exiled to Mexico where he is later killed by
USSR agents.
Stalin began several 5-year plans to stimulate the
Russian economy, which actually decreased under
his collective farming.
Although he took the formal title of Premier in
1941, Stalin was an absolute dictator.
Any opposition to Stalin was subject to secret
arrests, fake trials, forced labor camps, and mass
Estimates put the death rate in the neighborhood of 1020,000,000.
Stalin guided Russia through WWII as an ally of the
United States. This friendship perhaps explains why
numerous details about Stalin’s regime were not made
He took Russia from an agricultural to an industrial
His death in 1953 brought about a series of other
Premiers who continued with the same oppression of
the people, although some changes slowly ensued.
The story starts with a character, who is the
symbolic embodiment of Vladimir Lenin, making
one last speech before he passes away.
In this speech, he outlines the way that
Communism (Animalism) is supposed to be
governed and maintained.
The novella, Animal Farm, then goes on to
allegorically chronicle the rise and fall of
Communism in Russia, focusing in on how Josef
Stalin, Leon Trotsky, the rich and the poor all
played their parts in the years immediately
following the Russian Revolution.
After Animal Farm was published in 1945, George Orwell
discovered with horror that booksellers were placing his
novel on children’s shelves. According to his housekeeper,
he began traveling from bookstore to bookstore
requesting that the book be shelved with adult works.
This dual identity — as children’s story and adult satire —
has stayed with Orwell’s novel for more than fifty years.
The most popular animal fables
of the 20th Century are the Just
So Stories (1902) written by
Rudyard Kipling. Kipling's fables
were adapted by Disney in the
movie The Jungle Book. Orwell
admired Kipling and the Just So
Stories would seem to have
influenced the form of Animal
Farm. Orwell took the short
animal fable and expanded it to
the length of a short novel in the
form of an allegory.
Most fables have two levels of meaning. On the surface, the
fable is about animals. But on a second level, the animals
stand for types of people or ideas. The way the animals
interact and the way the plot unfolds says something about
the nature of people or the value of ideas. Any type of
fiction that has multiple levels of meaning in this way is
called an allegory.
Animal Farm is strongly allegorical,
but it presents a very nice balance
between levels of meaning. On the
first level, the story about the
animals is very moving. You can be
upset when Boxer is taken away by
the horse slaughterer without being
too aware of what he stands for. But
at the same time, each of the animals
does serve as a symbol. The story's
second level involves the careful
critique Orwell constructed to
comment on Soviet Russia.
Animal Farm Revolution
Was supposed to make
life better for all, but . . .
 Can animals run a farm by
 Is the idea of Animals
running the farm plausible?
Russian Revolution
Was supposed to fix the
problems created by the
Czar, but . . .
 Life was even worse after
the revolution.
 Stalin made the Czar look
like a nice guy.
Old Major
An old boar whose speech
about the evils perpetrated by
humans rouses the animals
into rebelling.
 His philosophy concerning the
tyranny of Man is named
 He teaches the animals the
song “Beasts of England”
 Dies before revolution
Karl Marx
The inventor of
Wants to unite the
working class to
overthrow the
Dies before the Russian
Boar who leads the rebellion against
Farmer Jones
 After the rebellion’s success, he
systematically begins to control all
aspects of the farm until he is an
undisputed tyrant.
Joseph Stalin
The communist dictator of the
Soviet Union from 1922-1953 who
killed all who opposed him.
 He loved power and used the KGB
(secret police) to enforce his
ruthless, corrupt antics.
Farmer Jones
The irresponsible owner of the
 Lets his animals starve and
beats them with a whip
 Sometimes shows random
Czar Nicholas II
Weak Russian leader
during the early 1900s
Often cruel and brutal to
his subjects
Displays isolated
Boar who becomes one of the
rebellion’s most valuable
 After drawing complicated plans
for the construction of a
windmill, he is chased off of the
farm forever by Napoleon’s dogs
and thereafter used as a
scapegoat for the animals’
Leon Trotsky
A pure communist leader who
was influenced by the teachings
of Karl Marx.
 He wanted to improve life for
people in Russia, but was driven
away by Lenin’s KGB.
 A big mouth pig who becomes Napoleon’s
mouthpiece. Throughout the novel, he
displays his ability to manipulate the animals’
thoughts through the use of hollow, yet
convincing rhetoric.
 Represents the propaganda department that
worked to support Stalin’s image; the
members of the department would use lies to
convince the people to follow Stalin.
 A dedicated but dimwitted horse who aids in
the building of the windmill but is sold to a
glue-boiler after collapsing from exhaustion.
 Represents the dedicated, but tricked
communist supporters of Stalin. Many
stayed loyal even after it was obvious Stalin
was a tyrant. Eventually they were betrayed,
ignored, and even killed by him.
 The farm's sheepdog, she keeps tabs
on the pigs and is among the first to
suspect that something is wrong at
Animal Farm.
 A tame raven and sometimes-pet of
Jones who tells the animals stories
about a paradise called Sugarcandy
 Moses represents religion. Stalin used
religious principles to influence
people to work and to avoid revolt.
Taught my Old Major
No rich, but no poor
Better life for workers
All animals are equal
Everyone owns the
Invented by Karl
All people are equal
Government owns
People own the