Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
POINT OF VIEW
Orwell tells the story of Animal Farm through a third person, impersonal and omniscient point of view. The narrator is never involved in the action of the story, but seems to appear somewhere outside or above everything that is going on. This point of view allows Orwell to see into the minds of the characters and understand their motivations. As a result, Orwell lets his readers know what the animals do not, for the animals do not understand anything more than they see or hear. The reader, on the other hand, is made to understand the ruthless purposes and motives behind all the actions of Napoleon and Squealer. The reader is also made to realize that Boxer, like all the common animals, are simply used by Napoleon and discarded or killed when no longer needed; but the animals are never able to see this. This point of view also helps Orwell to point out the difference between what a animal thinks about himself versus what others think about him. The reader knows what Boxer feels about himself and also what the pigs think about him. The omniscient point of view also helps Orwell to move freely and make the reader see, hear, know, and focus on whatever and wherever he chooses.
ALLEGORY - SYMBOLISM
An allegory is a series of metaphors or symbols continued throughout an entire story so as to represent or describe one series of facts by using another that is analogous to its main features. 'Animal Farm' is intended to be an allegory of Russian history from 1917-1943, including the period of World War I, the Economic Policy Plan, and the first Five Year Plan. All the characters of 'Animal Farm' parallel figures in Russian history during this period. Napoleon represents Stalin, and Snowball reflects Trotsky. Mollie represents all those Russians who fled the country after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Boxer, the faithful workhorse, represents the faithful proletariat, and the Russian Orthodox Church has a parallel in Moses, the raven.
In a similar manner, the Battle of Cowshed represents the civil war that followed the Russian Revolution. Jones is helped by men from the neighboring farms of Foxwood and Pinchfield, just as some western countries sent troops to help the Russian forces; the Battle of Windmill symbolizes the industrialization of Russia. Even in some of the small details, parallels can be seen. The hen's revolt against Napoleon when the latter orders to sell the eggs corresponds to the feudal lords' revolt against Stalin when he makes farming collective.
Although the book has much to say about basic human nature, Orwell's main purpose is to show how Communism fails to create a utopian society. 'Animal Farm', Orwell wrote, "was the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into the whole." Some of his allegorical parallels are listed below.
Animal Farm = History of Russia
Old Major's philosophy = The philosophies of Marx and Lenin
Animalism = Communism
Other Animals = Bolsheviks (common people )
Mr. Jones = Czar of Russia
Seven Commandments = Communist Manifesto
Skull of Old Major = Lenin's body
Old Major's death = Lenin's death followed by struggle for power
Windmill Construction = Russian construction of steel mills and electric plants
Napoleon's sale of timber to Frederick = Stalin entered into a non-aggression pact with Hitler's Germany
Frederick's declaration of war on = Hitler's declaration of war on Russia Animal Farm
Windmill destroyed, animals died = Stalingrad destroyed
Sugarcandy = In 1944 Stalin wrote letters to Pope to conduct services
Napoleon's entertaining of humans in the farmhouse = Different meetings between Stalin and Churchill in Russia