Animal Farm Essay

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Animal Farm and The Russian Revolution: A Comparison and Discussion

Animal farm was first published on 17 August 1945, despite the book being finished nearly two years before. The book was originally published with the title Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. However A Fairy Story was removed when the book was published in the US. Later variations of the title include: A Satire and A Contemporary Satire. This is due to the obvious satirical nature of the book and the direct comparison made between it and The Russian Revolution of 1917.

The two were both made to create an ideal situation. No one person ruling over the rest, everyone is equal. Resources which had been selfishly kept by rulers could now be shared out between all. Instead of the country (or in the book’s case the farm) being owned by one small group of people everyone would own it. Despite laudable rationales in my opinion both revolutions were a failure, with one autocrat inevitably ruling over the rest. They started and ended with a hierarchical system; the minority leading the majority.

The revolution in Animal Farm was started by the Middle White Boar, Old Major. He told the animals that man was the cause of their problems, it is man’s fault that their lives are ‘miserable, laborious and short. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.’ He said that there would be a revolution where the mighty will fall, and the farm will be theirs. He did not expect this uprising to take place so soon after his death. Less than four months later, Mr Jones his family and his men were chased out of the farm by the animals. The seven commandments were created which were to be the principles of Animalism. They stated that no animal should wear clothes, sleep in a bed or drink alcohol. Anything that went upon two legs was an enemy. Anything that went upon four legs was a friend. No animal should kill any other animal, all animals are equal. Throughout the book these concepts are destroyed one by one. The concept of all animals being equal is abandoned early on. It is immediately obvious that the pigs view themselves as more important, more intelligent and generally better than the other animals in every way.

However within the pigs there are split factions. Much like the recent US election there are two main rivals, one who is young and a good speaker, with lots of new ideas and plans. Napoleon, on the other hand, is more of an old style thinker and he wants to train the animals to defend themselves by using firearms. They eventually have a large disagreement over the windmill, which almost turns the farm into a democratic society with some animals saying ‘Vote for Napoleon and the full manger’ and others saying ‘Vote for Snowball and the three-day week.’ When it comes to the final showdown, the last debate, Napoleon decides to play dirty. He called in his small army of dogs, whom he had trained since birth, and they chased away Snowball much like Leon Trotsky was chased away by the KGB (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s secret police.)
This left Animal Farm with one autocrat, Napoleon. This is exactly what the revolution was meant to stop. Napoleon is a cruel leader, and soon almost every commandment is broken, with the farm eventually reverting to its old name Manor Farm.

The Communist ideas which fuelled the Russian Revolution were created by Karl Marx. They were about a Russia free of leadership, with the goods that are produced being distributed evenly among everyone. The revolution took place in February 1917 34 years after Marx’s death. Although this was when the Tsar was overthrown, the Soviet Union was not established until October when a second revolution took place, led by Lenin. Lenin quickly ended Russia’s participation in World War I, signing the Armistice Treaty