Animal Farm by George Orwell is a dystopian vision of society based on the early years of communist Russia. It is an allegory filled with elements of what can happen in the wake of a popular revolution. Like many dystopias, the society's goal was to build a utopia where its members live in harmony, but these ideals quickly transformed into something darker.
Animal Farm Allegory Activity | Have students make connections with the allegory in Animal Farm!
The windmill represents the pigs' totalitarian rule over the other animals. The pigs use the working class animals to build the windmill by saying it will benefit everyone. However, it only benefits the pigs.
Similarly, after the revolution, Stalin proposed a 5-year plan to modernize Russia, essentially making the working class work harder. Many of the benefits accrued to government officials.
The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.
Each character in the novel represents an aspect of communist Russia. Old Major, a Pig, has a 'dream' and calls a conference with the other animals to discuss it. He calls for a rebellion but dies before it happens.
Karl Marx was the inventor of communism. Like Old Major, he called for workers to unite in a rebellion. In his "Communist Manifesto", he urged the working class to break the chains of their oppression in a communist revolution.
As part of Animalism, Napoleon begins collecting eggs from the hens. When they refuse, he holds back their rations. Nine hens starve to death.
This mimics what Stalin did to Ukrainian farmers who resisted collectivism. Reports claim that millions died.