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Animal Farm

By George Orwell
Background Information
 Animal Farm is an allegorical fable in which animals attempt to
create a revolutionary utopia. In the end their visions of utopia are
over run by tyranny and corruption.
 On the surface this appears to be just a tale about the animals on
Manor Farm. This fable has deeper meanings. George Orwell wrote
this story as a representation for WWII and the different government
ideologies of the time. The representations of ideas and people can
be applied to any time period, even today. The battles of man vs.
man and man vs. corruption of power continue to rage. They are a
part of the existence of man.
 This story is an allegory because of all the deeper meanings. An
allegory is when there is several levels of meaning.
 Animal Farm is a fable because it has a clear moral or lesson.
Communism in Russia
 In the mid 1800s Capitalism flourished in Europe and America.
 In 1847 Karl Marx drew up a plan for the Communist League to unite
the working classes of Europe. Marx wrote The Manifesto of the
Communist Party. Marx imagined a workers’ revolt followed by a
paradise society where each person would work according to his or her
ability and receive according to their needs.
 Russia had a very clear cut difference in the classes. There was the
very wealthy and the very poor. This extreme gap in social classes
opened the door for manipulation and corruption.
 1917 saw the Communist Revolution in Russia. The Czar and his
family are overthrown. Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph
Stalin took control as a ruling body called the Central Executive
Committee with Lenin in the lead.
 In 1924 Lenin died.
 Trotsky and Stalin developed opposing ideologies.
Opposing Ideologies
Trotsky Stalin

Believed that the revolution in


Believed the revolution in Russia should be strengthened
Russia would only succeed from within and prepare to
with the help of other defend themselves from the
revolutions throughout Europe. outside world. Stalin believed
Felt that industry basis should that the industry basis should
be consumable goods: food, be heavy industry: machinery,
clothing, and household items. transportation equipment, and
weapons
Communism in Russia
 In 1926 Stalin gains control. Stalin and his followers in the
Communist Party voted Trotsky out and forced him into exile.
 In 1929 Stalin became the Supreme Head of the Soviet Union.
 Authoritarian government and central control began.
 Civil rights were disregarded.
 Expression was censored.
 Secret Police would make arrests without due cause. Torture and
mass executions were conducted to maintain Stalin’s dictatorship.
Anyone could be a victim for no apparent reason.
 There was no freedom in the new system. Forced labour created
wealth and privilege for a few and left the masses in worse
conditions than they had began in.
Connections
 What formed was a society and a government based on
totalitarianism. People were made less conscious and less able to
make distinctions between truths and lies and to be able to draw
logical conclusions. Censorship and propaganda were used to
convince people that their political system was right and the others
were wrong.
 Animal Farm parallels these historical events. By using symbolism
Orwell uses the setting and characters of the book to represent true
events.
Corruption of Power
 How can power corrupt a person?
 How can this happen in…
– Relationships among friends
– School situations
– In family units
– Government at any level
 What happens in each relationship when there is no check to absolute
authority? In other words, what happens when there is nobody or
nothing to make sure that any one person or group takes complete
control?
 What are some checks and balances in our government that limit
absolute power?
 What examples of corruption of power can you think of personally
and historically?
Historical Parallels
Animal Farm Russia
Old Major Lenin and Marxism
Farmer Jones Czar Nicholas II
Animal Rebellion Russian Revolution of 1917
Chasing away Jones Disposal of Czar and family
Napoleon Stalin
Napoleon takes over the farm Stalin becomes a dictator
Snowball Trotsky
Squealer Pravda
Napoleon’s dogs Secret Police
Foxwood Farm (Pilkington) England (Churchill)
Pinchfield Farm (Frederick) Germany (Hitler)
Animals other than pigs and dogs The proletariat