Real Name: Eric Arthur Blair British Political Novelist Born: 1903 Died: 1950 To English parents in IndiaEngland
After his fatherretired, Eric andhis family movedback to England.
He was sent to boarding school atthe age of eight to prepare forEton, an exclusive prep school.Because he had a scholarship, hewas teased and humiliatedfrequently.
At eighteen, he passed the Empire’s Civil Service Exam and became a police officer in Burma. Burma was“added” as a province of India after the British conquest in 1885, but broke away in 1936. Orwell was there in 1922.
Orwell wrote a famous essay about his experiences in Burma named “Shooting an Elephant”Orwell clearly states his displeasure withcolonial Britain: "I had already made up mymind that imperialism was an evil thing... Iwas all for the Burmese and all against theiroppressors, the British."He returned in Europe in 1927
Socialist: someone who believes that the government should own businesses so that everyone will be equalOrwell envisioned an ideal “class-less” society wherein the rich do nothold power over and oppress thepoor. Much of his work is a protestagainst the bastardization ofSocialism by fascists, who used thelanguage of Socialism to manipulateand later, oppress people.
Shortly after writing“Animal Farm”,Orwell completed“1984” (in 1949)–probably his mostfamous novel.He passed away, lessthan a year later, inJanuary 1950.
Fables are stories intended to enforce a useful truth (theyteach a moral or a lesson). Allegories have at least twolevels of meaning. On the surface, the novel is aboutanimals. But on a second level, the animals stand for typesof people or ideas. The way the animals interact and theway the plot unfolds says something about the nature ofpeople or the value of ideas. Any type of fiction that hasmultiple levels of meaning in this way is called an allegory.
A composition making fun ofsomething, usually political.Animal Farm makes fun ofpolitical society after theBolshevik Revolution.
Russian society in the earlytwentieth century had two socialclasses: a tiny minority(bourgeoisie) controlled thecountry’s wealth.The working class was called theproletariat.
Communism arose in Russia when thenation’s workers & peasants rebelledagainst and overwhelmed the wealthy andpowerful class of capitalists & aristocrats.
Similarly, in “AnimalFarm”, Old Major callsfor“Rebellion!”
Animal Farm is written on many levels. It isalready a children’s story in its own right. . . .[It] is also a lament for the fate of revolutionsand the hopes contained in them. It is a movingcomment on man’s constant compromise withthe truth. John Atkins, George Orwell
What is Truth? Orwell said…" If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell peoplewhat they do not want to hear. " " Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "" Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is arevolutionary act. "
Farmer Jones A drunk and a poor farmer,his cruelty towards the farm animals inspires their rebellion.
Old Major An elderly show pig whose instruction to the animals about "animalism" becomes the philosophical basis for the creation of Animal Farm.The father of Animalism. He represents Karl Marx, but insome ways also symbolizes the original communist leader -Vladimir Lenin. (In the book, Old majors skull is displayed in asimilar manner to the way Lenins remains were displayed tothe public).
Snowball A clever pig with a head for ideas, he becomes one of the main leaders of Animal Farm and the author of its central commandments.Snowball represents Leo Trotsky. Trotsky was one of the originalrevolutionaries. But as Stalin rose to power he became one of Stalins biggestenemies, and was eventually expelled from the Politburo in 1925 - one yearafter Stalin took control of the nation. In the novel, Snowball is exiled from thefarm just as Trotsky had been in 1929. But Trotsky was not only exiled inbody, he was also exiled from the minds of the Russian people - his historicalrole was altered; his face cut out of group photographs of the leaders of therevolution. In Russia he was denounced as a traitor and conspirator and in 1940a Stalinist agent assassinated him in Mexico City.
NapoleonA pig with a gift for techniques of control, he establishes most of the farm’s rules and eventually becomes its sole leader. Napoleon is Joseph Stalin, the second leader of the Soviet Union. Animal farm skips the short rule of Lenin (and seems to combine Lenin with the character Old Major), and has Napoleon leading the farm from the beginning of the revolution.
Squealer A pig with the ability to make any idea sound reasonable, he is Napoleons side-kick and is in charge of communicating to the animals.Squealer - This pig represents the Russianmedia, which spread Stalins version of the truthto the masses.
BoxerA strong and hard-working carthorse, he shows tremendous faith in the rebellion and its leaders.Boxer represents the working class. Boxer isportrayed as being a dedicated worker, butas possessing a less-than-averageintelligence. His personal motto becomes, "Iwill work harder!"
Mollie A mare (female horse)Mollie seems to be some sort of representation of Russias upper classes.But, since Orwell portrays her as a horse - the same animal used torepresent the working class horses Boxer & Clover - Mollie may simplyrepresent members of the working class that remained faithful to theCzar. In either case, Mollie was never really in favor of the revolution.She went along with it, but she didnt actually engage in the fighting.Mollie didnt mind being a servant to the humans, since she wasconstantly being pampered by them. After the revolution, Mollie beginsto miss the beautiful ribbons (fine clothes) and sugar cane (fine food) sheused to receive from her human masters.
The DogsThe dogs represent the military/police. In the beginning of the book, theyvoted against accepting the rats & rabbits as comrades. Shortly after therevolution, several pups are stolen from their mothers. Later in the book,these pups (now fully grown - and fully trained) protect Napoleon from asecond potential revolution, and help to enforce his decrees.
The Birds - The primary motto of Animalism is "Four legs good,two legs bad". The birds argued with this saying since it seems toexclude birds, which have two legs and two wings. Squealer setthem at ease by explaining, "A birds wing, comrades, is an organ ofpropulsion and not of manipulation. It should therefore be regardedas a leg. The distinguishing mark of man is the hand, the instrumentwith which he does all his mischief."In real life, there were several classes of citizens left out of socialistrhetoric as well. Most of the communistic slogans dealt with theproletariat - which was primarily a reference to urban factory workers.The rural farmers, the clergy, the intelligentsia, and other non-labourunion types probably felt left out, just as the birds did in the novel. And,just as in real life, most would be left out - or killed - after the revolution.
Mr. Pilkington - Owner of Foxwood (Leader of England). He doesntrepresent one person in particular, but rather is a composite of all ofthe leaders of England. Mr. Frederick - Owner of Pinchfield (Leader of Germany). Frederick is a composite of the leaders of Germany. However, throughout most of the book, Frederick is a representation of Hitler. It is said that Frederick had flogged an old horse to death (A reference to Hitlers euthanasia program), he had starved his cows (A reference to the Jews?), he had killed a dog by throwing it into the furnace (Most likely a reference to Night of Knives), and that he amused himself in the evenings by making cocks (French? / Children?) fight with splinters of razor-blade tied to their spurs.