Animal farmA Description of the Characters and Events in the George Orwell's classic Parody of the Russian Revolution.
MankindCapitalist and Royalty
Mr Jones - Mr Jones is a farmer, and the owner of Manor Farm. He represents the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov (Nicholas II).
Mrs. Jones - She represents the Tsar's wife, Alexandra.
Mr. Pilkington - Owner of Foxwood (Leader of England). He doesn't represent one person in particular, but rather is a composite of all of the 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 Hitler's 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.''
Mr. Whymper - A solicitor living in Willingdon. Acted as an intermediary between Animal Farm and the outside world in matters of trade. Represents capitalist who did business with the Soviet state.
Napoleon - 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 - This pig represents the Russian media, which spread Stalin's version of the truth to the masses.
Snowball - Snowball represents Leo Trotsky. Trotsky was one of the original revolutionaries. But as Stalin rose to power he became one of Stalin's biggest enemies, and was eventually expelled from the Politburo in 1925 - one year after Stalin took control of the nation. In the novel, Snowball was exiled from the farm just as Trotsky had been in 1929. But Trotsky was not only exiled in body, he was also exiled from the minds of the Russian people - His historical role was altered; his face cut out of group photographs of the leaders of the revolution. In Russia he was denounced as a traitor and conspirator and in 1940 a Stalinist agent assassinated him in Mexico City.
Old Major - The father of 'Animalism'. He represents Karl Marx, but in some ways also symbolizes the original communist leader - Vladimir Lenin. (In the book, Old major's skull is displayed in a similar manner to the way Lenin's remains were displayed to the public) The book also says that Old Major had been exhibited at shows under the name Willingdon Beauty, but I'm not sure whether or not this is a reference to a real-life.
Boxer - Boxer represents the working class. Boxer is portrayed as being a dedicated worker, but as possessing a less-than-average intelligence.
His personal motto was, "I will work harder!" The novel describes the horses as being the pig's "most faithful disciples" and that they "absorbed everything that they were told [by the pigs], and passed it on to the other animals by simple arguments".
Clover - Boxer's female counterpart.
Mollie - Mollie seems to be some sort of representation of Russia's upper classes. But, since Orwell portrays her as a horse - the same animal used to represent the 'working class' horses Boxer & Clover - Mollie may simply represent members of the working class that remained faithful to the Czar. In either case, Mollie was never really in favor of the revolution. She went along with it, but she didn't actually engage in the fighting. Mollie didn't mind being a 'servant' to the humans, since she was constantly being pampered by them. After the revolution, Mollie begins to miss the beautiful ribbons (fine clothes) and sugar cane (fine food) she used to receive from her human masters. She eventually flees the animal farm to live elsewhere in Willingdon.
The Army - The "Dogs of War"
Dogs - The dogs represent the military/police. In the beginning of the book, they voted against accepting the rats & rabbits as 'comrades'. Shortly after the revolution, several 'pups' are stolen from their mothers. Later in the book, these pups (now fully grown - and fully trained) protect Napoleon from a second potential revolution, and help to enforce his decrees.
Jessie, Bluebell, Pincher - The only three dogs that are mentioned by name. They do not have a very active role in the novel. All three are mentioned as being present at old major's meeting, but Pincher is never mentioned again (except in the 'epilogue', when it is mentioned that all three dogs are dead) - Jesse and Bluebell are the mothers of the 'pups' which serve as Napoleon's bodyguards (and I assume Pincher is the father). Jesse and Bluebell also participate in the 'Battle of the Windmill'.
Farmers, Clergy, And other 'non-labour' groups.
Birds - The primary motto of Animalism is "Four legs good, two legs bad". The birds argued with this saying since it seems to exclude birds, which have two legs and two wings. Squealer set them at ease by explaining, "A bird's wing, comrades, is an organ of propulsion and not of manipulation. It should therefore be regarded as a leg. The distinguishing mark of man is the hand, the instrument with which he does all his mischief."
In real life, there were several classes of citizens 'left out' of socialist rhetoric as well. Most of the communistic slogans dealt with the 'proletariat' - which was primarily a reference to urban factory workers. The rural farmers, the clergy, the 'intelligentsia', and other 'non-labour union' 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.
The birds were different from the other animals - they stood on two legs. And in real-life, the peasant farmers were unique as well - many of them owned land. Though the land was eventually 'collectivized' by the state in the 1930's, these peasants were allowed to own land ('walk on two legs') for the first decade of communism. Property owners in the city lost their land (were forced to 'walk on four legs') immediately following the revolution. And the primary reason for this, as Squealer explained above, was that the peasants weren't using their ownership of property to enrich themselves on the backs of the workers - they generally farmed the land themselves, and so their land ownership was tolerated for some time (their wings were "an organ of propulsion, not of manipulation").
Moses - The raven Moses symbolizes the Russian Orthodox Church. In the beginning of the novel, Moses was Mr. Jones's 'pet'. Moses fled the farm shortly after the revolution, but eventually returned. Moses never did any work. All he did was sit around telling stories - primarily of "Sugar Candy Mountain", a paradise where animals lived on after they have died. At first Napoleon tried to get rid of Moses. But eventually Moses was allowed to stay on the farm and was even given a small ration of 'beer'.
Hens - Peasant Farmers. In Chapter seven, Napoleon calls for the hens to 'surrender their eggs'. This is a reference to Stalin's attempt to collectivize the peasant farmers of Russia. The hens attempted to resist the order at first, just as the peasant farmers of the Ukraine. But, just as in real life, they were eventually starved into submission. In the book, 9 hens died during the incident. In real-life, it is estimated that somewhere between 4 and 10 million Ukrainian peasants were starved to death by Stalin.
In the book, it was also said that the Hens smashed their own eggs to protest Napoleon's actions. In real-life, Ukrainian farmers would slaughter their own livestock before joining a collective as a form of protest. So many farmers engaged in this practice, that livestock in the Ukraine dwindled by 50%-80% between 1928 and 1935. The problem got so out of hand that Stalin eventually executed any farmer found guilty of engaging in this practice. Even the act of 'neglecting' your livestock was punishable by death.
Three young Black Minorca pullets - The leaders of the hen's 'resistance'. The book says that these three chickens 'made a determined effort to thwart Napoleon's wishes'. The dictionary defines a Minorca Hen as 'A domestic fowl of a breed originating in the Mediterranean region and having white or black plumage.' - a reference to the Ukrainians possibly? (although not exactly on the Mediterranean, the Ukraine is in the same general area)
Never the less, It was the Ukrainian peasants who formed the primary resistance to Stalin's attempts to collectivize farming, so the 'black Minorcan Pullets' are almost certainly a reference to the Ukrainians.
But it is also possible that Orwell may be referring to specific group of Ukrainians - the Ukrainian Kulaks. The Kulaks were middle and upper class peasants that owned farmland in Ukraine. It was they that had the most to lose by collectivizing.
(And as a side note, Minorca is "A Spanish island in the Balearics of the western Mediterranean Sea. Held by the British and the French at various times during the 18th century, it was a Loyalist stronghold in the Spanish Civil War." This is curious since Orwell had personally participated in the Spanish Civil War, and was probably well aware of this islands' act of resistance.)
Cockerels - Serve as an alarm clock for Boxer. Napoleon had a black cockerel who marched in front of him and acted as a kind of trumpeter (He would let out a loud "cock-a-doodle-doo" before Napoleon spoke.) Frederick (Hitler) was said to hold cockfights where the combatants had splinters of razor-blade tied to their spurs.
Pigeons - The pigeons, who fly out each day to spread the word about 'animalism' to the other farms in Willingdon, represent the "Communist World Revolution" - The Communist International, or Comintern, as it is widely known.
Geese - ? Mentioned in the "Beast of England"
Turkeys - ? Mentioned in the "Beast of England"
Ducks - They are generally only mentioned in conjunction with the hens, and, just like the hens, are portrayed as being less intelligent than the other animals. The obviously represent some type of peasantry, but it is unclear as to with specific group Orwell is referring to since Orwell never gives any specifics of the Duck's role on the farm. The book merely states that some ducklings (who have lost their mother) were present at Old Major's 'meeting', and that clover has protected them so the other animals wouldn't trample on them. The ducks are mentioned as assisting with building the windmill. It is also said that they helped the hens "save five bushels of corn at the harvest by gathering up the stray grains". The book also states that the Ducks, along with the Sheep and the hens, were on the lower end of the intelligence scale - completely incapable of grasping the full ideas of 'animalism'.
Since ducks are water-borne foul, it is possible that they may represent the 'farmers of the sea' ... fishermen perhaps??
The Other Animals
Old Benjamin, the donkey - " Benjamin could read as well as any pig, but never exercised his faculty. So far as he knew, he said, there was nothing worth reading." (Old Men?)
Muriel, the white goat - Literate. (Old Ladies?)
The Cat - Voted on both sides of the 'rat-comrade' question. "The cat joined the Re-education Committee and was very active in it for some days. She was seen one day sitting on a roof and talking to some sparrows who were just out of her reach. She was telling them that all animals were now comrades and that any sparrow who chose could come and perch on her paw; but the sparrows kept their distance." The Cat disappeared right before the 'purges'.
The cat seems to represents some of the more 'shady' members of Russian society, but it is unclear exactly who Orwell had in mind. Con Men? Circus Folk? Gypsies?
Rats & Rabbits - The rats and rabbits are the wild animals that live on the farm. The seem to represent beggars, thieves and gypsies. During the first animal meeting, a vote is taken on whether or not these creatures should be considered as 'comrades'. It is decided that they should be included as 'animals'.
It is also mentioned that Jones' men went out 'Rabbitting' shortly before the revolution Perhaps a reference to the Czars' attempt to maintain 'law & order' when he sensed that a revolt was near.
Cows - The cows are another animal that is scarcely mentioned in the book, so they too are difficult to pin down. All that is said about them is that during the revolution "One of the cows broke in the door of the store-shed with her horn and all the animals began to help themselves from the bins." After the revolution, Napoleon creates a re-education program for the cows called "the Clean Tails League". To me, this makes it sound like the cows represents prostitutes. The 'clean tails' thing could be a reference to a anti-VD campaign, but that could just be my imagination running away with me. They could simply represent Milkmaids.
Fox - When Jones heard the Animals singing 'Beasts of England' at old major's meeting, he feared that there was a 'Fox in the yard '. The fox is probably just a metaphor for revolutionaries.
Sheep - The sheep represent the masses at large. "Four legs good, two legs bad! Four legs good, two legs ba-a-a-a-d!"
Locations mentioned in the novel
Animal Farm - The Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.). 'Animal Farm' is the name the animals gave their farm after the revolution.
Manor Farm - Russia. 'Manor Farm' was the name of the farm when Jones ran it. Eventually, the Pigs decided that they preferred this old name to the new moniker 'Animal Farm'.
Foxwood - Foxwood represents England. The novel describes it as "a large, neglected, old-fashioned farm, much overgrown by woodland, with all its pastures worn out and its hedges in a disgraceful condition. Its owner, Mr. Pilkington, was an easy-going gentleman farmer who spent most of his time in fishing or hunting according to the season."
Pinchfiled - Pinchfiled represents Germany. Orwell described it as "The other farm, which was called Pinchfield, was smaller and better kept. Its owner was a Mr. Frederick, a tough, shrewd man, perpetually involved in lawsuits and with a name for driving hard bargains."
Willingdon - All of the farms mentioned in the book are located in the city of Willingdon, which is a metaphor for Europe.
England - Since farms represent the various nations, England is a representation of the entire world.
The Farmhouse - (The Kremlin.) Home of Mr. Jones (the Czar). After the revolution, there were some that wanted to destroy the farmhouse, but it was decided to preserve it as a museum. (The Kremlin was saved in a similar manner). Eventually, Napoleon (Stalin) decided to take up residence there.
The Red Lion - A Pub in Willingdon. This may represent the Royal Palace in England, or could merely represent one of the smaller nations in Europe.
Sugar Candy Mountain - An obvious reference to 'Heaven'. In the novel, Moses "...claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges. The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work, but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place". Later in the novel, the Pigs quietly allow Moses (the church) to return the farm. Here, Orwell is demonstrating religion's use an "opiate of the masses". The Pigs realized that by offering their subjects the promise of a mystical reward after their death, it would help make their miserable over-worked lives more bearable for them to endure.
Some of the Symbolism from the book.
Animalism - Communism
Hoof & Horn - Hammer and Sickle
Animal Committees - (Soviet Committees). "Egg Production Committee for the hens, the Clean Tails League for the cows, the Wild Comrades' Re-education Committee (the object of this was to tame the rats and rabbits), the Whiter Wool Movement for the sheep,"
'Beasts of England' - The song 'Beasts of England' is a metaphor for the ideology of Communism. In the novel it is said that the song spread throughout the countryside - just as belief in the communist system spread throughout all of the labor unions in the world. In many democratic countries (including the U.S.), socialist parties began to grow and socialists politicians began winning seats in legislatures.
Windmill - The windmill is a symbol for Stalin's 'Five-Year plan'. Just a the windmill was promised to make the animal's life easier, the 'Five-Year Plan' was supposed to improve Soviet industry to the point that the proletariats' life as well by increasing production and allowing the soviets to shorten the work-week. And just like the windmill, Stalin's plan was an utter failure. After the destruction of the Windmill, the Animals decided to build another one and in real-life, Stalin kept churning out new 'Five-year Plans' - promising that each new plan would solve all of Russia's problems and bring the USSR closer to parity with the industrialized nations of the west.
Drinking of alcohol - After the revolution it is decided that animals should never again consume alcohol. After a short time, the pigs ignored began to break this cardinal rule. This is a metaphor for the intoxicating effects of power.
'Milk' - Shortly after the revolution, the pigs are forced to decide what to do with the 'milk' (a reference to some sort of commodity). The animals assume that the pigs will distribute it equally among the masses, and are shocked when they discover that the pigs have decided to keep it for themselves.
'Apples' - The pigs decided to keep the apples as well.
A few of the Major Plot points in the novel
The Animal Revolt - The Russian Revolution.
Battle of Cowshed - The Return of Jones . Red October. The battle of the Tsarists forces against the Bolsheviks. (The Reds vs. the Whites) "The civil war between the Bolsheviks (Reds) and the anti-Bolsheviks (Whites) ravaged Russia until 1920. The Whites represented all shades of anti-Communist groups, including members of the constituent assembly. Several of their leaders favored setting up a military dictatorship, but few were outspoken czarists."
For more info, follow these links...
Pigeons sent to incite other rebellions - Cummunist Internetionale
The Meeting - The Soviet, The Pre-Bolshevik Provisional Government
From the book...
"Here the work of the coming week was planned out and resolutions were put forward and debated. It was always the pigs who put forward the resolutions. The other animals understood how to vote, but could never think of any resolutions of their own."
From Real Life...
"The Constituent Assembly met only once, in January 1918. Lenin dissolved it by issuing his DRAFT DECREE and sent heavily armed guards to prevent its meeting again. Those who were not Bolsheviks were indignant when they witnessed this unconstitutional act. Just the same, there was no public outburst. Why the delegates did no more than weakly protest is clear: the Bolsheviks had already taken action on what interested the people most -- Bread, Land and Peace. Were the Russian people ready for democracy? Regardless of how we can answer this question one thing is clear -- Lenin made it impossible for the Assembly to meet."
The hens' revolt - This signifies the Ukrainian peasantsí bitter resistance to collective farming. (See: HENS)
Destruction of the Windmill - This destruction is symbolic for the failure of the Five Year Plan. In the Book, it was described as follows:
"November came, with raging south-west winds. Building had to stop because it was now too wet to mix the cement. Finally there came a night when the gale was so violent that the farm buildings rocked on their foundations and several tiles were blown off the roof of the barn. The hens woke up squawking with terror because they had all dreamed simultaneously of hearing a gun go off in the distance. In the morning the animals came out of their stalls to find that the flagstaff had been blown down and an elm tree at the foot of the orchard had been plucked up like a radish. They had just noticed this when a cry of despair broke from every animal's throat. A terrible sight had met their eyes. The windmill was in ruins." ... " He gave it as his opinion that Snowball had probably come from the direction of Foxwood Farm"
The Purges of 1936-38: - (Ch 7) "Napoleon stood sternly surveying his audience; then he uttered a high-pitched whimper. Immediately the dogs bounded forward, seized four of the pigs by the ear and dragged them, squealing with pain and terror, to Napoleon's feet...."
Selling of the wood to Frederick - Nazi-Soviet pact
Battle of the Windmill - Battle of Stalingrad - German Invasion of Russia During WWII.