Satirical References to Real Life Events

The novel Animal Farm is a satire of the Russian revolution, and therefore full of symbolism. Generally, Orwell associates certain real characters with the characters of the book. Here is a list of the characters and other things from the book and their meaning:





Capitalists and Royalty


Mr. Jones doing what he does best: drinking.
Mr Jones is one of Orwell's major (or at least most obvious) villain in Animal Farm. Orwell says that at one time Jones was actually a decent master to his animals. At this time the farm was thriving. But in recent years the farm had fallen on harder times and the opportunity was seen to revolt. The world-wide depression began in the United States when the stock market crashed in October of 1929. The depression spread throughout the world because American exports were so dependent on Europe. The U.S. was also a major contributor to the world market economy. Germany along with the rest of Europe was especially hard hit. The parallels between crop failure of the farm and the depression in the 1930s are clear. Only the leaders and the die-hard followers ate their fill during this time period. Mr Jones symbolises (in addition to the evils of capitalism) Czar Nicholas II, the leader before Stalin (Napoleon). Jones represents the old government, the last of the Czars. Orwell suggests that Jones was losing his "edge". In fact, he and his men had taken up the habit of drinking. Old Major reveals his feelings about Jones and his administration when he says, "Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving and the rest he keeps for himself." So Jones and the old government are successfully uprooted by the animals. Little do they know history will repeat itself with Napoleon and the pigs.


Mrs. Jones is a very small part of the novel. She is Mr. Jones's wife, and simply represents the Tsar's wife, Alexandra.

The Communists

Joseph Stalin

One of the leaders among the pigs, Napoleon is a “large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar”. He is the only Berkshire boar on the farm. He is “not much of a talker” and has “a reputation for getting his own way”. Napoleon represents the type of dictator or tyrant who shirks the common good, instead seeking more and more power in order to create his own regime. Orwell reflects Napoleon’s greed for power with a name that invokes Napoleon Bonaparte, the very successful French leader who became “Emperor” and brashly invaded Russia before being defeated. But Napoleon the pig more directly represents Joseph Stalin, in his constantly changing policies and actions, his secret activities, his intentional deception and manipulation of the populace, and his use of fear tactics and atrocities.

Napoleon expels Snowball from the farm and takes over. He modifies his opinions and policies and rewrites history continually to benefit the pigs. Napoleon awards special privileges to the pigs and especially to himself. For example, he dines on Mr. Jones’s fine china, wears Mr. Jones’s dress clothes, and smokes a pipe. As time goes on, Napoleon becomes a figure in the shadows, increasingly secluding himself and making few public appearances. Eventually, Napoleon holds a conciliatory meeting with the neighboring human farmers and effectively takes over Mr. Jones’s position as dictator. 

From the start, he is made out to be a villain. Napoleon fights along with fellow pig Snowball to free the farm from human control, but afterwards is shown engaging in suspicious activity, such as drinking the milk the animals had gathered, and taking Bluebell and Jessie's puppies for himself. Napoleon chooses the date of the meeting concerning the farm's new windmill to turn on his former comrade and seize control of the farm; this mirrors the relationship between Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Trotsky supported Permanent Revolution (just as Snowball advocated overthrowing other farm owners), while Stalin supported Socialism in One Country (similar to Napoleon's idea of teaching the animals to use firearms).

Later on, after ostracizing Snowball, Napoleon ordered the construction of the windmill, which had been designed by Snowball and which he had opposed vigorously (just as Stalin opposed Trotsky's push for large scale industrialization, then adopted it as a policy when Trotsky was in exile), so as to show the animals that he could be just as inventive as Snowball. When the primitive windmill collapses due to Napoleon's poor planning, a reference to Stalin's backward approach to the Five-Year Plans, he blames Snowball and starts a wave of terror. During this period he orders the execution of several of the animals after coercing their "confessions" of wrongdoing. He also changes the Seven Commandments' prohibition against killing, drinking, and sleeping in beds. He then commands the building of a second, stronger windmill while severely cutting rations to all of the animals — except the pigs and dogs.

He later makes a deal with Frederick (similar to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact shortly before World War II); Frederick tricks Napoleon by paying him for the timber with counterfeit money and then invading the farm, much as Germany broke its pact with the Soviet Union and invaded, in order to seize its minerals and fuel. During the Battle of the Windmill, the windmill is destroyed, but the animals win, although they pay a high price. Napoleon attempts to cover the losses by stating it was a grand victory for the animals.

While Napoleon exhorts the other animals to fight and die for the good of the farm, he himself is a coward and a lazy one at that, in contrast to Snowball, who was more concerned with the welfare of his animal friends rather than his power. Nonetheless, Napoleon's corrupt historical revisionism rewrites himself as a hero, claiming responsibility for the animal's victory during the Battle of the Cowshed when in reality it was Snowball who had performed heroic acts in this battle, though his acts are denigrated to bold-faced lies of him collaborating with Jones all along.

Ultimately, Napoleon becomes a tyrannical, oppressive dictator and seems to become one of the cruel humans through his adoption of human ways. At the end of the novel he has decided to abolish the use of 'comrade,' and declares that the farm shall revert to its original name of Manor Farm, reflecting the farm's change of status going back to the beginning.

Napoleon represents the human frailties of any revolution. Orwell believed that although socialism is good as an ideal, it can never be successfully adopted due the to uncontrollable sins of human nature. For example, although Napoleon seems at first to be a good leader, he is eventually overcome by greed and soon becomes power-hungry. Of course, Stalin did, too, in Russia, leaving the original equality of socialism behind, giving himself all the power and living in luxury while the common peasant suffered. Thus, while his national and international status blossomed, the welfare of Russia remained unchanged. Orwell explains, "Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer--except, of course for the pigs and the dogs." The true side of Napoleon becomes evident after he slaughters so many animals for plotting against him. He even hires a pig to sample his food for him to make certain that no one is trying to poison him. Stalin, too, was a cruel dictator in Russia. After suspecting many people in his empire to be supporters of Trotsky (Orwell's Snowball), Stalin systematically murdered many. At the end of the book, Napoleon doesn't even pretend to lead a socialist state. After renaming it a Republic and instituting his own version of the commandments and the Beasts of England, Comrade Napoleon quickly becomes more or less a dictator who of course has never even been elected by the animals.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin 
(Dec 18 1878 – Mar 5 1953) 

Joseph Stalin
Stalin was the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. In the years following Lenin's death in 1924, he rose to become the leader of the Soviet Union, which he ruled as a dictator.

Stalin launched a command economy, replacing the New Economic Policy of the 1920s with Five-Year Plans and launching a period of rapid industrialization and economic collectivization. The upheaval in the agricultural sector disrupted food production, resulting in widespread famine, such as the catastrophic Soviet famine of 1932-1933, known in Ukraine as the Holodomor.

During the late 1930s, Stalin launched the Great Purge (also known as the "Great Terror"), a campaign to purge the Communist Party of people accused of sabotage, terrorism, or treachery; he extended it to the military and other sectors of Soviet society. Targets were often executed, imprisoned in Gulag labor camps or exiled. In the years which followed, millions of members of ethnic minorities were also deported.

In 1939, after failed attempts to establish a collective security system in Europe, Stalin decided to enter into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, followed by a Soviet invasion of Poland, Finland, the Baltics, Bessarabia, and northern Bukovina. After Germany violated the pact in 1941, the Soviet Union joined the Allies to play a primary role in the Axis defeat, at the cost of the largest death toll for any country in the war (mostly due to the mass deaths of civilians on the territories occupied by Nazis). 

After the war Stalin installed communist governments in most of Eastern Europe, forming the Eastern bloc, behind what was referred to as an "Iron Curtain" of Soviet rule during the long period of antagonism between the Western world and the USSR, known as the Cold War.

Stalin fostered a cult of personality around him, but after his death, his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced his legacy and drove the process of de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union.


Orwell describes Snowball as a pig very similar to Napoleon at least in the early stages. Both pigs wanted a leadership position in the "new" economic and political system (which is actually contradictory to the whole supposed system of equality). But as time passes, both eventually realise that one of them will have to step down. Orwell says that the two were always arguing. "Snowball and Napoleon were by far the most active in the debates. But it was noticed that these two were never in agreement: whatever suggestion either of them made, the other could be counted to oppose it." Later, Orwell makes the case stronger. "These two disagreed at every point disagreement was possible." Soon the differences, like whether or not to build a windmill, become too great to deal with, so Napoleon decides that Snowball must be eliminated. It might seem that this was a spontaneous reaction, but a careful look tells otherwise. Napoleon was setting the stage for his own domination long before he really began "dishing it out" to Snowball. For example, he took the puppies away from their mothers in an effort to establish a private police force. These dogs would later be used to eliminate Snowball, his arch-rival. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, the arch-rival of Stalin in Russia. The parallels between Trotsky and Snowball are uncanny. Trotsky too, was exiled, not from the farm, but to Mexico, where he spoke out against Stalin. Stalin was very weary of Trotsky and feared that Trotsky supporters might try to assassinate him. The dictator of Russia tried hard to kill Trotsky, for the fear of losing leadership was very great in the crazy man's mind. Trotsky also believed in communism, but he thought he could run Russia better than Stalin. Trotsky was murdered in Mexico by the Russian internal police, the NKVD - the precursor of the KGB. Trotsky was found with a pick axe in his head at his villa in Mexico.


Squealer is an intriguing character in Orwell's Animal Farm. He's first described as a manipulator and persuader. Orwell narrates, "He could turn black into white." Many critics correlate Squealer with the Pravda, the Russian newspaper of the 1930s, and some specifically as Vyacheslav Molotov, editor of Pravda.  Propaganda was a key to many publications, and since there was no television or radio, the newspaper was the primary source of media information. So the monopoly of the Pravda was seized by Stalin and his new Bolshevik regime. In Animal Farm, Squealer, like the newspaper, is the link between Napoleon and other animals. When Squealer masks the evil intentions of the pigs, the intentions can be carried out with little resistance and without political disarray. Squealer is also thought by some to represent Goebbels, who was the minister of propaganda for Germany. This would seem inconsistent with Orwell's satire, however, which was supposed to metaphor characters in Russia.

Marx & Lenin

Old Major is the first major character described by Orwell in Animal Farm. This "pure-bred" of pigs is the kind, grandfatherly philosopher of change. As a democratic socialist, Orwell had a great deal of respect for Karl Marx, the German political economist, and even for Vladimir Lenin, the Russian revolutionary leader.  Old Major is a representation of a combination of both of these men and the combination of their political theories know as Marxism–Leninism, the pragmatic Russian application of Marxism. Orwell's critique of Animal Farm has little to do with the Marxist ideology underlying the Rebellion but rather with the perversion of that ideology by later leaders. 

Old Major proposes a solution to the animals’ desperate plight under the Jones "administration" when he inspires a rebellion of sorts among the animals. Of course the actual time of the revolt is untold. It could be the next day or several generations down the road. But Old Major's philosophy is only an ideal. After his death, three days after the barn-yard speech, the socialism he professes is drastically altered when Napoleon and the other pigs begin to dominate. It's interesting that Orwell does not mention Napoleon or Snowball at any time during the great speech of Old Major. This shows how distant and out-of-touch they really were; the ideals Old Major proclaimed seemed to not even have been considered when they were establishing their new government after the successful revolt. It almost seems as though the pigs fed off old Major's inspiration and then used it to benefit themselves (an interesting twist of capitalism) instead of following through on the Old Major's honest proposal. This could be Orwell's attempt to dig Stalin, whom many consider to be someone who totally ignored Marx's political and social theory. Using Old Major's apparent naivety, Orwell concludes that no society is perfect, no pure socialist civilisation can exist, and there is no way to escaping the evil grasp of capitalism. (More on this in the Napoleon section.) Unfortunately, when Napoleon and Squealer take over, Old Major becomes more and more a distant fragment of the past in the minds of the farm animals.

Karl Marx
(May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883)

Karl Marx
Marx was a  German political economist, historian, and revolutionary, whose ideas played a significant role in the development of modern communism and socialism. Marx summarized his approach in the first line of chapter one of The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."  Marx foresaw a day when the workers would rise against the ruling elite.


The words of Marx spread quickly and appealed to many who felt exploited and abused.  In Russia, people became organized and formed the Bolshevik party.  A revolution soon followed.  The October Revolution was led by Vladimir Lenin and was based upon Lenin's writing on Marx's ideas, a political ideology often known as Marxism-Leninism. It marked the beginning of the spread of communism in the twentieth century.

Vladimir Lenin
(April 22, 1870 – January 21, 1924)

Vladimir Lenin

Lenin was a Russian revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years (1917–1924), as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a socialist economic system.

As a politician, Vladimir Lenin was a persuasive orator, as a political scientist his extensive theoretic and philosophical developments of Marxism produced Marxism–Leninism, the pragmatic Russian application of Marxism.


Orwell uses the pigs to surround and support Napoleon. They symbolize the communist party loyalists and the friends of Stalin, as well as perhaps the Duma, or Russian parliament. The pigs, unlike other animals, live in luxury and enjoy the benefits of the society they help to control. The inequality and true hypocrisy of communism is expressed here by Orwell, who criticized Marx's oversimplified view of a socialist, "utopian" society. Obviously, George Orwell doesn't believe such a society can exist. Toward the end of the book, Orwell emphasizes, "Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer except, of course, the pigs and the dogs."

MINIMUS - a pig with "a remarkable gift for composing songs and poems.” Under Napoleon’s rule, Minimus sits with him and Squealer on the barn platform during meetings. Minimus composes propaganda songs and poems under Napoleon’s rule. Though we never hear Minimus complain about his duties as propaganda writer, he represents the Soviet Union’s artists, who were forced to use their talents to glorify communism rather than express their personal feelings or beliefs.

THE PIGLETS - Hinted to be the children of Napoleon (albeit not truly noted in the novel) and are the first generation of animals actually subjugated to his idea of animal inequality.

PINKEYE - a minor pig who is mentioned only once; he is the pig that tastes Napoleon's food to make sure it is not poisoned, in response to rumours about an assassination attempt on Napoleon.

The Working Class

The Devoted Proletariat

The name Boxer is cleverly used by Orwell as a metaphor for the Boxer Rebellion in China in the early twentieth century. It was this rebellion which signalled the beginning of communism in red China. This form of communism, much like the distorted Stalin view of socialism, is still present today in the oppressive socialist government in China. Boxer and Clover are used by Orwell to represent the proletariat, or unskilled labour class in Russian society. This lower class is naturally drawn to Stalin (Napoleon) because it seems as though they will benefit most from his new system. Since Boxer and the other low animals are not accustomed to the "good life," they can't really compare Napoleon's government with the life they had before under the czars (Jones). Also, since usually the lowest class has the lowest intelligence, it is not difficult to persuade them into thinking they are getting a good deal. The proletariat is also quite good at convincing themselves that communism is a good idea. Orwell supports this contention when he narrates, "Their most faithful disciples were the two carthorses, Boxer and Clover. Those two had great difficulty in thinking anything out for themselves, but having once accepted the pigs as their teachers, they absorbed everything that they were told, and passed it on to the other animals by simple arguments." Later, the importance of the proletariat is shown when Boxer suddenly falls and there is suddenly a drastic decrease in work productivity. But still he is taken for granted by the pigs, who send him away in a glue truck. Truly Boxer is the biggest poster-child for gullibility.

The Uneducated Proletariat

Like Boxer, she is a hard worker for the community, and Orwell takes pains to supply the reader with a detailed character analysis.  She is motherly and protective and displays kindness to all the animals, but in particular to Boxer.  Like Boxer, she represents the true working class of the animal community. She perhaps understands the ideals of animalism better than Boxer, and she remains loyal to these doctrines with the hope that Old Major’s dream will eventually be fulfilled. She realizes that the pigs are being manipulative, but lacks the courage to oppose them.


 Old Benjamin, an elderly donkey, is one of Orwell's most elusive and intriguing characters on Animal Farm. Benjamin is described as rather unchanged since the rebellion. He still does his work the same way, never becoming too excited or too disappointed about anything that has passed. Benjamin explains, "Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey." Although there is no clear metaphoric relationship between Benjamin and Orwell's critique of communism, it makes sense that during any rebellion there are those who never totally embrace the revolution, those so cynical they no longer look to their leaders for help. Benjamin symbolizes the older generation, the critics of any new rebellion. Really this old donkey is the only animal who seems as though he couldn't care less about Napoleon and Animal Farm. It's almost as if he can see into the future, knowing that the revolt is only a temporary change, and will flop in the end. Benjamin is the only animal who doesn't seem to have expected anything positive from the revolution. He almost seems on a whole different maturity level compared with the other animals. He is not sucked in by Napoleon's propaganda like the others. The only time he seems to care about the others at all is when Boxer is carried off in the glue truck. It's almost as if the old donkey finally comes out of his shell, his perfectly fitted demeanor, when he tries to warn the others of Boxer's fate. And the animals do try to rescue Boxer, but it's too late. Benjamin seems to be finally confronting Napoleon and revealing his knowledge of the pigs' hypocrisy, although before he had been completely independent. After the animals have forgotten Jones and their past lives, Benjamin still remembers everything. Orwell states, "Only old Benjamin professed to remember every detail of his long life and to know that things never had been, nor ever could be much better or much worse; hunger, hardship, and disappointment being, so he said, the unalterable law of life."


Mollie is a self-centred, self-indulgent and vain young white mare whose sole enjoyments are wearing ribbons in her mane, eating sugar cubes, and being pampered and groomed by humans. She quickly leaves for another farm and is only once mentioned again.  Mollie is one of Orwell's minor characters, but she represents something very important. Mollie is one of the animals who is most opposed to the new government under Napoleon. She doesn't care much about the politics of the whole situation; she just wants to tie her hair with ribbons and eat sugar, things her social status won't allow. Many animals consider her a traitor when she is seen being petted by a human from a neighboring farm. Soon Mollie is confronted by the "dedicated" animals, and she quietly leaves the farm. Mollie characterizes the typical middle-class skilled worker who suffers from this new communism concept. No longer will she get her sugar (nice salary) because she is now just as low as the other animals, like Boxer and Clover. Orwell uses Mollie to characterize the people after any rebellion who aren't too receptive to new leaders and new economics. There are always those resistant to change. This continues to dispel the belief Orwell hated and according to which basically all animals act the same. The naivety of Marxism is criticized, socialism is not perfect, and it doesn't work for everyone.

The NKVD & KGB - The Dogs of War

Orwell uses the dogs in his book, Animal Farm, to represent the NKVD and KGB or perhaps more accurately, the bodyguards of Stalin. The dogs are the arch-defenders of Napoleon and the pigs, and although they don't speak, they are definitely a force the other animals have to reckon with. Orwell almost speaks of the dogs as mindless robots, so dedicated to Napoleon that they can't really speak for themselves. This contention is supported as Orwell describes Napoleon's early and suspicious removal of six puppies from their mother.  The reader is left in the dark for a while, but is later enlightened when Orwell describes the chase of Snowball. Napoleon uses his "secret dogs" for the first time here: before Snowball has a chance to stand up and give a counter-argument to Napoleon's disapproval of the windmill,  the dogs

viciously attack the pig, forcing him to flee, never to return. Orwell narrates, "Silent and terrified, the animals crept back into the barn. In a moment the dogs came bounding back.  At first no one had been able to imagine where these creatures came from, but the problem was soon solved: they were the puppies whom Napoleon had taken away from their mothers and reared privately. Though not yet full-grown, they were huge dogs, and as fierce-looking as wolves. They kept close to Napoleon. It was noticed that they wagged their tails to him in the same way as the other dogs had been used to do to Mr Jones." The use of the dogs begins the evil use of force which helps Napoleon maintain power. Later, the dogs do even more dastardly things when they are instructed to kill the animals labelled "disloyal." Stalin, too, had his own special force of "helpers". Really there are followers loyal to any politician or government leader, but Stalin in particular needed a special police force to eliminate his opponents. This is how Trotsky was killed.


A spin-off of the NKVD, the KGB (КГБ) is the common abbreviation for the Russian Комитет государственной безопасности​ or Committee for State Security.  It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and its premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.

The dogs guard Napoleon & Squealer
at a Meeting


The NKVD  (НКВД) was the precursor of the KGB.  An abbreviation for The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, the NKVD was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Stalin.  The main function of the NKVD was to protect the state security of the Soviet Union. This function was successfully accomplished through massive political repression, including the use of sanctioned political murders and assassinations.  The NKVD's intelligence and special operations unit organized overseas assassinations of ex-Soviet citizens, former Soviet agents, dissident Communist Party members, and/or foreigners who were regarded as enemies of the USSR by Josef Stalin.  They are credited with Trotsy's murder.


Soviet Propaganda to Other Countries

Pigeons have the capacity to learn and be taught relatively complex actions and response sequences.  In addition, pigeons have unusual, perhaps unique, abilities to learn routes back to their home from long distances.  Pigeons can be trained or utilized by human beings for their interest such as delivering letters or messages.  Pigeons have played an important role in wars for a long time.  They were often used as military messengers, thanks to their homing ability, speed and altitude.  Homing pigeons were used extensively during World War I & II. Other uses were examined after World War II. 

 The pigeons in Animal Farm symbolize Soviet propaganda, not to Russia, but to other countries, like Germany, England, France, and even the United States. Russia had created an iron curtain even before WWII. The Communist government raved about its achievements and its advanced technology, but it never allowed experts or scientists from outside the country to check on its validity. Orwell mentions the fact that the other farmers became suspicious and worried when their animals began to sing "Beasts of England". Many Western governments have had similar problems with their people in this century. There was a huge "Red Scare" in the United States in the 1920s. In the 1950s in the United States, Joseph McCarthy was a legislative member of the government from Wisconsin. He accused hundreds of people of supporting the communist regime, from famous actors in Hollywood to middle-class ordinary people during a period known as "McCarthyism". The fear of communism became a phobia in America and anyone speaking out against the government was a suspect.


Religion & The Church

Moses is perhaps Orwell's most intriguing character in Animal Farm. This raven, first described as the "especial pet" of Mr Jones, is the only animal who doesn't work. He's also the only character who doesn't listen to Old Major's speech of rebellion. Orwell narrates, "The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put about by Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr Jones's especial pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He 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." Moses represents Orwell's view of the Church. To Orwell, the Church is just used as a tool by dictatorships to keep the working class of people hopeful and productive. Orwell uses Moses to criticize Marx's belief that the Church will just go away after the rebellion. Jones first used Moses to keep the animals working, and he was successful in many ways before the rebellion. The pigs had a real hard time getting rid of Moses, since the lies about Heaven they thought would only lead the animals away from the equality of socialism. But as the pigs led by Napoleon become more and more like Mr Jones, Moses finds his place again. After being away for several years, he suddenly returns and picks up right where he left off. The pigs don't mind this time because the animals have already realised that the "equality" of the revolt is a farce. So Napoleon feeds Moses with beer, and the full circle is complete. Orwell seems to offer a very cynical and harsh view of the Church. This proves that Animal Farm is not simply an anti-communist work meant to lead people into capitalism and Christianity. Really Orwell found loop-holes and much hypocrisy in both systems. It's interesting that recently in Russia the government has begun to allow and support religion again. It almost seems that like the pigs, the Kremlin officials of today are trying to keep their people motivated, not in the ideology of communism, but in the "old-fashioned" hope of an after-life.

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.


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.


The Educated Proletariat

Muriel is a knowledgeable goat who learns to read even better than the dogs can.  She reads the commandments for Clover, and sometimes reads to the others in the evenings from scraps of newspaper which she finds on the rubbish heap. Muriel represents the minority of working class people who are educated enough to decide things for themselves and find critical and hypocritical problems with their leaders. Unfortunately for the other animals, Muriel is not charismatic or inspired enough to take action and oppose Napoleon and his pigs.

The Russian Masses at Large

'Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad'
Not surprisingly, the sheep are probably the stupidest animals on the farm. They have the most difficulty in understanding the aims of the revolution and in learning to become literate.  Sheep are used to represent the ignorant and uneducated masses of revolutionary Russia. The sheep are unable to be taught the subtleties of revolutionary ideology and can only be taught repetitive slogans such as "Four legs good, two legs bad" and later, “Four legs good, two legs better!” which they bleat in unison at rallies. This is due to the widespread perception that sheep lack intelligence and also their undoubted herd mentality.  The pigs use the sheep as a means of oppressing free speech by encouraging them to bleat ceaselessly. They become Napoleon's most brainlessly devoted followers.  The Sheep--true to the typical symbolic meaning of “sheep”-- represent those people who have little understanding of their situation and thus are willing to follow their government blindly.

Political Opposition to the Bolsheviks

The rats and rabbits are the wild animals that live on the farm. They 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'.

They somehow represent the socialist movement, the so-called "Mensheviks".  The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Mensheviks) was a political party in Russia that emerged in 1912, as the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party was divided into two with the other group being the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks). The Mensheviks and Bolsheviks had, however, previously existed as factions of the original party since 1903.

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.