Charcters In Animal Farm Symbolism/Interpretation 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. Here is a list of the characters and things and their meaning: Mr Jones: Mr.
Jones is Orwell’s chief (or at least most obvious) villain in Animal Farm. Of course Napoleon is also the major villain, however much more indirectly. Orwell says that at one time Jones was actually a decent master to his animals. At this time the farm was thriving.
But in recent years the farm had fallen on harder times and the opportunity was seen to revolt. The world-wide depression began in the United States when the stock market crashed in October of 1929. The depression spread throughout the world because American exports were so dependent on Europe. The U.S.
was also a major contributor to the world market economy.Germany along with the rest of Europe was especially hit hard. The parallels between crop failure of the farm and the depression in the 1930’s are clear. Only the leaders and the die-hard followers ate their fill during this time period. Mr. Jones symbolises (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 reveals his feelings about Jones and his administration when he says, Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.
He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough , he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits.Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving and the rest he keeps for himself. So Jones and the old government are successfully uprooted by the animals.
Little do they know, history will repeat itself with Napoleon and the pigs. 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. Of course the actual time of the revolt is unsaid.
It could be the next day or several generations down the road. But Old Major’s philosophy is only an ideal.After his death, three days after the barn-yard speech, the socialism he professes is drastically altered when Napoleon and the other pigs begin to dominate. It’s interesting that Orwell does not mention Napoleon or Snowball anytime during the great speech of old Major. This shows how distant and out-of-touch they really were; the ideals Old Major proclaimed seemed to not even have been considered when they were establishing their new government after the successful revolt.
It almost seems as though the pigs fed off old Major’s inspiration and then used it to benefit themselves (an interesting twist of capitalism) instead of following through on the old Major’s honest proposal. This could be Orwell’s attempt to dig Stalin, who many consider to be someone who totally ignored Marx’s political and social theory. Using Old Major’s seeming naivety, Orwell concludes that no society is perfect, no pure socialist civilisation can exist, and there is no way to escape the evil grasp of capitalism.(More on this in the Napoleon section.
) Unfortunately when Napoleon and Squealer take over, old Major becomes more and more a distant fragment of the past in the minds of the farm 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. Orwell believed that although socialism is good as an ideal, it can never be successfully adopted due to uncontrollable sins of human nature.
For example, although Napoleon seems at first to be a good leader, he is eventually overcome by greed and soon becomes power-hungry. Of course Stalin did too in Russia, leaving the original equality of socialism behind, giving himself all the power and living in luxury while the common peasant suffered.Thus, while his national and international status blossomed, the welfare of Russia remained unchanged.
Orwell explains, Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer–except, of course for the pigs and the dogs. The true side of Napoleon becomes evident after he slaughters so many animals for plotting against him. He even hires a pig to sample his food for him to make certain that no one is trying to poison him. Stalin, too, was a cruel dictator in Russia.After suspecting many people in his empire to be supporters of Trotsky (Orwell’s Snowball), Stalin systematically murders many. At the end of the book, Napoleon doesn’t even pretend to lead a socialist state.
After renaming it a Republic and instituting his own version of the commandments and the Beasts of England, Comrade Napoleon quickly becomes more or less a dictator who of course has never even been elected by the animals. Squealer: Squealer is an intriguing character in Orwell’s Animal Farm. He’s first described as a manipulator and persuader.Orwell narrates, He could turn black into white. Many critics correlate Squealer with the Pravda, the Russian newspaper of the 1930’s. Propaganda was a key to many publications, and since their was no television or radio, the newspaper was the primary source of media information.
So the monopoly of the Pravda was seized by Stalin and his new Bolshevik regime. In Animal Farm, Squealer, like the newspaper, is the link between Napoleon and other animals.When Squealer masks an evil intention of the pigs, the intentions of the communists can be carried out with little resistance and without political disarray. Squealer is also thought by some to represent Goebbels, who was the minister of propaganda for Germany.
This would seem inconsistent with Orwell’s satire, however, which was supposed to metaphor characters in Russia. Snowball: Orwell describes Snowball as a pig very similar to Napoleon at least in the early stages. Both pigs wanted a leadership position in the new economic and political system (which is actually counterdictory to the whole supposed system of equality). But as time goes on, both eventually realise 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.
Later, Orwell makes the case stronger. These two disagreed at every point disagreement was possible. Soon the differences, like whether or not to build a windmill, become to great to deal with, so Napoleon decides that Snowball must be eliminated. It might seem that this was a spontaneous reaction, but a careful look tells otherwise.
Napoleon was setting the stage for his own domination long before he really began dishing it out to Snowball.For example, he took the puppies away from their mothers in efforts to establish a private police force. These dogs would later be used to eliminate Snowball, his arch-rival. Snowball represents Leo Dawidowitsch Trotsky, the arch-rival of Stalin in Russia.
The parallels between Trotsky and Snowball are uncanny. Trotsky too, was exiled, not from the farm, but to Mexico, where he spoke out against Stalin.Stalin was very weary of Trotsky, and feared that Trotsky supporters might try to assassinate him.
The dictator of Russia tried hard to kill Trotsky, for the fear of losing leadership was very great in the crazy man’s mind. Trotsky also believed in Communism, but he thought he could run Russia better than Stalin. Trotsky was murdered in Mexico by the Russian internal police, the NKVD-the pre-organisation of the KGB. Trotsky was found with a pick axe in his head at his villa in Mexico.
Boxer: 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 signalled the beginning of communism in red China. This communism, much like the distorted Stalin view of socialism, is still present today in the oppressive social government in China. Boxer and Clover are used by Orwell to represent the proletariat, or unskilled labour 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). Also, since usually the lowest class has the lowest intelligence, it is not difficult to persuade them into thinking they are getting a good deal. The proletariat is also quite good at convincing each other that communism is a good idea.
Orwell supports this contention when he narrates, Their most faithful disciples were the two carthorses, Boxer and Clover. Those two had great difficulty in thinking anything out for themselves, but having once accepted the pigs as their teachers, they absorbed everything that they were told, and passed it on to the other animals by simple arguments.Later, the importance of the proletariat is shown when Boxer suddenly falls and there is suddenly a drastic decrease in work productivity. But still he is taken for granted by the pigs, who send him away in a glue truck.
Truly Boxer is the biggest poster-child for gullibility. Pigs: Orwell uses the pigs to surround and support Napoleon. They symbolise the communist party loyalists and the friends of Stalin, as well as perhaps the Duma, or Russian parliament. The pigs, unlike other animals, live in luxury and enjoy the benefits of the society they help to control.
The inequality and true hypocrisy of communism is expressed here by Orwell, who criticised Marx’s oversimplified view of a socialist, utopian society. Obviously George Orwell doesn’t believe such a society can exist. Toward the end of the book, Orwell emphasises, Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer except, of course, the pigs and the dogs.
Dogs: Orwell uses the dogs in his book, Animal Farm, to represent the KGB or perhaps more accurately, the bodyguards of Stalin. The dogs are the arch-defenders of Napoleon and the pigs, an …