Characters, items, and events found in George
Orwells book, Animal Farm, can be compared to similar
characters, items, and events found in Marxism and the 1917
Russian Revolution. This comparison will be shown by using
the symbolism that is in the book with similarities found in
Old Major was a prized-boar that belonged to Farmer
Jones. The fact that Old Major is himself a boar was to
signify that radical change and revolution are, themselves,
boring in the eyes of the proletariat (represented by the
other barnyard animals), who are more prone to worrying
about work and survival in their everyday life. Old Major
gave many speeches to the farm animals about hope and the
future. He is the main animal who got the rebellion started
even though he died before it actually began. Old Major’s
role compares to Lenin and Marx whose ideas were to lead to
the communist revolution. Animal Farm is a criticism of Karl
Marx, as well as a novel perpetuating his convictions of
democratic Socialism. (Zwerdling, 20). Lenin became leader
and teacher of the working class in Russia, and their
determination to struggle against capitalism. Like Old
Major, Lenin and Marx wrote essays and gave speeches to the
working class poor. The working class in Russia, as
compared with the barnyard animals in Animal Farm, were a
laboring class of people that received low wages for their
work. Like the animals in the farm yard, the people is
Russia thought there would be no oppression in a new society
because the working class people (or animals) would own all
the riches and hold all the power. (Golubeva and Gellerstein
Another character represented in the book is Farmer
Jones. He represents the symbol of the Czar Nicholas in
Russia who treated his people like Farmer Jones treated his
animals. The animal rebellion on the farm was started
because Farmer Jones was a drunk who never took care
of the animals and who came home one night, left the gate
open and the animals rebelled. Czar Nicholas was a very
weak man who treated his people similar to how Farmer Jones
treated his animals. The Czar made his working class people
very mad with the way he wielded his authority and preached
all the time, and the people suffered and finally demanded
reform by rebelling. The Czar said “The law will
henceforward be respected and obeyed not only by the nation
but also the authority that rules it – and that the law
would stand above the changing views of the individual
instruments of the supreme power.” (Pares 420).

The animal Napoleon can be compared as a character
representing Stalin in Russia. Both were very mean looking,
didn’t talk very much but always got what they wanted
through force. In one part of the book Napoleon charged the
dogs on Snowball, another animal. Stalin became the Soviet
Leader after the death of Lenin. He was underestimated by
his opponents who always became his victims, and he had one
of the most ruthless, regimes in history. In was not till
very many years later that the world found out about the
many deaths that Stalin created in Russia during the
Revolution. For almost 50 years the world thought that the
Nazis had done the killing in Russia, when in fact it was
The last characters that are symbolic of each other
are the animal Snowball with the Russian leader Trotsky.
Snowball was very enthusiastic and was a leader who
organized the defense of the farm. He gave speeches and
instructions but was not very beneficial. All the other
animals liked him, but he was outsmarted by Napoleon.
Trotsky and Stalin’s relationship was very much like
Snowball’s and Napoleons. Trotsky organized the Red Army
and gave speeches and everyone in Russia thought he would
win power over Stalin. After Lenin’s death Trotsky lost
all his power to Stalin and was expelled from the communist
party. He was at one time considered the second most
powerful man in Russia. (Trotsky” Comptons 290).

Besides characters there are many items that can be
compared as symbols in the book and in Russia. The whip
that Napoleon used in the farmyard to wield power can be
compared to the power that Stalin used on the Russians.
Napoleon carried a whip in his trotter. Stalin used his
power to starve the Russian people and to have Lenin
arrested. Stalin’s main goal was to maximize his personal
power. (“Stalin,” Britannia 576). Stalin “whipped” his
people into shape by collectivizing agriculture, by police
terror, and by destroying remnants of individual prosperity.
He also led the Soviet Union into the nuclear age (Clarkson
Propaganda is another item that was used in the
Russian revolution. It can be compared to Squealer in
Animal Farm. Squealer brainwashed (a form of propaganda)
the barnyard animals into believing that they did not like
apples and milk, while he and Napoleon were stealing the
food for themselves. In Russia, the Bolsheviks carried out
propaganda on the people by passing out leaflets and
putting stories in the newspapers that were not true. They
told workers, soldiers, and peasants to not trust their own
hands and to take away land from the landowners. (Golubeva
Another item that is similar in both Animal Farm and
Russia are the dogs and the secret police. Napoleon trained
his dogs when they were puppies to guard him and to obey his
every command. They chased Snowball away. Stalin trained
his secret police to do his bidding whenever he issued an
order. Stalin had his secret police kill between 60,000 to
70,000 people. These police were called the Checka and the
graves filled with bodies stacked upon each other with
bullets in each skull were found many years later. (Imse,
Another symbolism that exists in the book and in
Russia is a similarity to events that took place. The
windmill that is present in Animal Farm can be compared with
the growth of industry in Russia or the Industrial
Revolution. Snowball first introduced the windmill concept
to the farm but Napoleon disagreed with him and had the dogs
chase him away. Napoleon then presented the windmill as a
good idea and the animals were presented with hope that
things would get better on the farm. When it blew down,
Napoleon blamed it on Snowball. Napoleon thought that if he
could keep the barnyard animals busy all the time replacing
the windmill that they would not realize how bad their
living conditions were, and he could blame the destruction
all the time on Snowball. The windmill is the only thing
that was holding the animals together as a unit. In Russia
the growth of factory and industry was very depressing but
depended on the obligatory labor of serfs. Russia hoped
that by keeping the serfs working all the time and promising
them a better world that they would not realize how bad
their living conditions were. The Industrialists were
pressing their own constitutional demands. (Clarkson 352).
None of the social classes were fighting each other because
there were no classes left. What Russia got working was to
make the people think that the prospect of loss of potential
improvements in conditions of life of the here
and now, could only be attained by stimulating labor to
The last event that was similar in the book and in
Russia was the animal rebellion on the farm and the Russian
Revolution of 1917. Farmer Jones was drunk a lot and would
forget to feed the animals on the farm. The withholding of
this food is what finally forced the animals on the farm to
rebel against Farmer Jones. In Russia, there were many food
shortages which caused the people to demonstrate and then
the Russian soldiers refused to suppress them and the
leaders demanded that Nicholas transfer his power to
parliamentary government because everything was getting out
of control. Soviet workers and soldiers formed a special
committee and established a government. The same day the
emperor abdicated. (“Russian Revolution,” Grolier npa).
This actually backfired in Russia and the war continued and
Many lessons can be learned by reading Animal Farm
that can help countries and governments around the world
from making mistakes in wielding their power against their
people. If a population is suppressed and not allowed to
accumulate things for themselves then an overthrow of the
government that is suppressing them will be the result.

Clarkson, Jesse. A History of Russia. New York: Random
Golubeva, T. and L. Gellerstein. Early Russia – The Russie.
Imse, Ann. Mass Grave Seen as Evidence of Massecure by
Stalins Police. “Hunstsville Times,
Orwell, George. Animal Farm. Signet 50th Anniversary
Edition, Harcourt Brace & Company,
Pares, Sir Bernard. The Fall of the Russian Monarchy. New
“Russian Revolution of 1917.” Grolier Electronic
“Stalin, Joseph.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 1917 ed.

Zwerdling, Alex. Orwell and The Left. New Haven: Yale
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