Animal Farm is an allegorical story with a very powerful underlying message but it does not rely entirely on historical context for narrative power, I read Animal Farm without any knowledge of the Russian Revolution and although it was confusing at first, I was still able to understand there was underlying meaning as well as many lessons to be learnt. A big part of the book that stood out to me, and that I personally believe George Orwell wanted to stand out was the lesson of Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, Orwell was smart to warn us of this because history does seem to be repeating itself and we know this because we can relate Animal Farm concepts with not only multiple times in history but even modern day life. There have been many wars over land, murders for revenge, power hungry leaders, and assassinations of unprotected leaders, this alone is history repeating itself.
After finishing Animal Farm I felt amazed at the writing and how George Orwell managed to use aesthetic features such as dramatic irony to elicit sympathy from his readers, one scene he does this in, is in chapter 9 when Squealer, representing the media, claims he sent Boxer, who represents the working class, to the hospital to die peacefully while retrieving the best medical treatment and all the animals believe it, it was never confirmed by the pigs that he in fact didn’t go to the hospital but instead the slaughter house and by the author doing this, the author makes his audience feel very strongly on the topic.
Orwell’s was a committed socialist who sought to promote a more egalitarian and fair society, he believed his own experiences should guide his philosophy. Orwell, it seems, put a lot of thought into his characters and what they represent, for example Napoleon represents not only Joseph Stalin, but he also represents the political tyrants that have emerged throughout history. The name Napoleon was not from a communist leader but from french general Napoleon I, who betrayed the democratic principles on which he rode himself to power. Once again as more evidence of history repeating itself, Napoleon you may have realised, can stand in for any of the great dictators and political schemers in world history, even those who Aarose after Animal Farm was written! Orwell also had a reason for making characters certain animals, hence why Napoleon was a pig and why Boxer, who was underappreciated, exploited and naive, was a loyal hard working horse.
Moses, the raven, is yet another example of symbolism which Orwell uses throughout the book. Moses represents organized religion in the Soviet Union, this is shown clearly in Chapter Two when Moses starts telling the other animals about a place called Sugarcandy Mountain which represents heaven, at first the pigs insisted on Moses being crazy and told no one to listen to him, but by the end of the book when the condition of animal farm has worsened and the animals have lost all hope Moses appears again and as Karl Marx famously stated, ‘Religion is the opium of the people,’ and Moses’ tales of Sugarcandy Mountain likewise serve as an opiate to the animals’ misery.
Orwell uses humorous satire, which goes hand in hand with his irony, by making the setting on a farm, the farm setting helps illustrate how corruption increases with power, especially in government, and the characters animals, this is to help him portray the characters how he wants and to symbolise that the characters share traits with the animal which he chose them to be.Then Orwell uses symbolism, irony and satire when the power of the new society becomes corrupt and the animals aren’t all equal, Napoleon slaughters the animals that disagree with him and who don’t follow his orders and accuses Snowball of destroying the windmill, even though the readers know it wasn’t him.