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Symbolism in Story Animal Farm

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George Orwell uses a range of language features such as metaphor, characterisation and symbolism to convey his personal view of people involved within the Russian revolution, through his story known as Animal Farm. Animal Farm is a short story about animals who run a farm and the eventual downfall of its perfection. Though being a fairly simple short story, it is an allegory that lines up with events that occurred in the Russian revolution.

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Orwell uses metaphors to allow his audience to understand real life events more easily, as well as allowing his characters to have deeper meaning and different motives. For example, Orwell takes advantage of the metaphor that corrupted leaders are greedy pigs through phrases such as ‘you greedy pig’, and by characterising the pigs as the more intelligent leader-worthy animals of the group. His pig characters are written to be able to comprehend speech and reading, which is contrasted against a large majority of other animals who are not able to do the same. One of his main characters, Napoleon the pig, represents Joseph Stalin, who was the oppressive Russian Dictator during the Russian revolution. Napoleon can also be interpreted as all corrupted and unfair leaders found within society. Orwell uses Napoleon to show comparisons between the two, such as when he manages to convince another character known as Snowball to get off the farm, using the opportunity to completely take over and gain more power for himself. Another comparison is through the stories Animalism, which is a direct metaphor for communism. The pigs first offer this so the others will follow them, however over time they subtly change the rules to gain more power for themselves, for example when they rewrite a commandment from ‘all animals are equal’ to ‘all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others’. This represents the leaders of the Russian Revolution promoting communism for everyone, then slowly changing the rules over time through propaganda. These metaphors allow audiences to acknowledge Orwell’s personal distaste toward power hungry, corrupted leaders within society.

Orwell in a similar way to metaphor, uses symbolism through his characters and his plot to depict the people and events that occurred during the Russian Revolution. One main example would be the windmill. The windmill symbolises the attempt to modernise Russia, as well as the ineptitude of Stalin’s regime. The windmill is first proposed by Snowball, however after his departure from the farm, Napoleon claims it as his own idea, but ultimately takes a while to build and in the end, is inferior to its original design due to mismanagement and the other landlords attacks.

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Symbolism in Story Animal Farm. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/symbolism-in-story-animal-farm/
“Symbolism in Story Animal Farm.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/symbolism-in-story-animal-farm/
Symbolism in Story Animal Farm. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/symbolism-in-story-animal-farm/> [Accessed 2 Mar. 2024].
Symbolism in Story Animal Farm [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2024 Mar 2]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/symbolism-in-story-animal-farm/
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