Animal Farm: Metaphor Analysis
Beasts of England: The Beasts of England Song
Soon and late the day is coming,
Rings shall vanish from our noses,
Riches more than mind can picture,
Bright will shine the fields of England,
For that day we all must labour,
Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Comrade Napoleon: Comrade Napoleon
Friend of fatherless!
7 Rules: The 7 Rules of the Farm
Farmhouse: The Jones' farmhouse represents in many ways the very place where greed and lust dominate. Unlike the barn, which is the fortress of the common man, the genuine concept of socialism, the farmhouse, where Napoleon and the pigs take over, symbolizes the Kremlin. Even today the Kremlin is an important place to Russian leaders, who, instead of embracing Marxism, have created their own distorted view of communism and have shoved it down their peoples' (animals') throats.
Animalism: The vague yet often referred to concept of animalism is used by Orwell to signify the generic view of socialism. This view was first expounded by Karl Marx (old Major), who, in Orwell's opinion was naive in thinking that his philosophy would actually work. Orwell, although agreeing with the overall concept of equality though socialism, was critical of Marx because he didn't take into account the greed and jealousy which would eventually undermine the entire cause. This idea was shown through Napoleon and the other pigs, who, through persuasion and force became the dominant authority on the farm.
Gun/Flag: Probably the most profound metaphor in Orwell's Animal Farm is the idea of the gun and flag. The nationalism the animals' feel is demonstrated through their daily processions and rituals where they practically worship the flag (their institution of the state and obviously not God). These processions and parades grow more dramatic with the fall of socialism and the rise of Napoleon's dictatorship. In this way, Orwell points out that unlike Marx's (old Major's) original concept of freedom through equality, Stalin believes that inequality between nations is the key to success. This sounds surprisingly like capitalism, the very system communism is meant to combat.
Battle of Cowshed: The Battle of Cowshed is a clear metaphor for the overthrow of the old Russian government based on czars (Mr. Jones). In Russia, this change took the Soviet Union out of World War I and eventually led to the rise of Lenin and Stalin. The violence used in the battle, however was not condoned by Marx (old Major) or Orwell, who both believed in pacifism. Snowball and Napoleon, though, were too greedy and were required to use force in order to establish their corrupt government. More on this in the Gun/Flag section.
Sugarcandy Mountain: Orwell uses Sugarcandy Mountain to symbolize the Christian concept of Heaven. Really the Church is criticized in Animal Farm because it is the institution that inspires the animals to work using "lies" and manipulation. Moses, the especial raven of Mr. Jones, and later Napoleon, is the vehicle from which the working class hears about this land where clover and sugar is unmeasured and free to everyone. It's troubling to many that Orwell thought of the Church in such a cynical way. But once again this shows that Orwell wasn't loyal or afraid of any system.
strong>Ribbons & Sugar: Orwell's use of ribbons and sugar symbolizes the luxuries of life enjoyed by the old middle class under the old government. Mollie, the symbol for the capitalist, is particularly fond of ribbons and sugar— so much so that she leaves the farm for them.
Milk: Orwell uses milk to represent the care and love that mothers give to their children. When Napoleon takes the milk for himself and the other pigs, he is, in essence, stealing the very core of the people. Now he can raise the children (other farm animals) as a tool of the state. No longer is the power in the family; now the cornerstone of civilization is in the totalitarian government of Napoleon (Stalin).
Alcohol: Orwell uses beer to represent the "Old" Russia. He first notes that the reason Jones lost control of the farm and began being cruel to the animals was because of alcohol. It symbolizes, more than anything, a corrupt government— a government drunk on prosperity (a prosperity which never trickles down to the common animal). But it's eventually this drunkenness which ruins and leads to the inevitable collapse of this system. Jones lost power over the animals when he became drunk and lazy; even Napoleon will eventually be overthrown because of the alcohol he intakes. Orwell alludes to this near the end of the book when he says that in generations to come there will be still more uprisings. "Some day it was coming: it might not be soon, it might not be within the lifetime of any animal now living, but still it was coming."
Windmill: The windmill is used by Orwell to symbolize Soviet industry. If you'll notice in the book, the windmill was destroyed several times before it finally was complete. This represents the trials the communists in Russia went through to establish their armament-production industry. Eventually, however, Russian industry did stabilize, despite the lack of safety precautions and trivial concern for the people's well being. This allowed them to put the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, into space before the United States. Despite their early success, Soviet industry fell behind the Western world, led by the United States. Russian industry stalled from the lack of initiative and morale. The average middle-class worker received no special treatment and was treated as a "person of the state."
Established laws could be broken by any important member of the Communist regime. The original ideology of Marxism was innocent enough, but it was twisted and convoluted by Lenin and Stalin. Russian communism was a hypocritical system which would inevitably falter and collapse, thus proving Orwell's point that Marx was naive.
Ironically, Orwell didn't write a final collapse of the windmill, which would perhaps have symbolized the U.S.S.R.'s failure in the cold war. In 1990, the Russian Communist government collapsed due to lack of funds. Of course Orwell could not have known this, although he did forecast a future rebellion on Animal Farm and in Russia.
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