How has the movie, Animal Farm been an illustraiton of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath?

Essay by AlexsondraHigh School, 12th gradeA-, February 2004

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The movie Animal Farm is a satire of the Russian revolution, therefore it is full of symbolism. As watching the movie, it is clearly stated and shown as well. All of the characters in the Animal Farm represent the key characters that took part in the Russian revolution, and the plots as well as the buildings and the other "less important" animals, contribute to its success tremendously because of the importance of symbolism throughout.

While the czar was in power, in Russia, he had taken over St. Petersburg. The people of Russia had attempted to present a method of reform to the czar. The czar saw this as a challenge to his power, and committed a massacre; this day came to be known as the Bloody Sunday. This caused a great extend of public disagreement and hostility, which eventually led to the outburst of the Russian revolution. Aggression and thievery erupted all over the country.

Finally the czar was overthrown. During this time, the Soviets were in rise to power; therefore it was easy for the Bolsheviks to seize authority. Lenin was the key figure behind the Bolsheviks; as a result it was obvious he will get in control.

Mr. Jones was the owner of the farm. Over the years, the farm had fallen and the opportunity was seen by the animals which represent the humans at this time, to revolt. During the Russian revolution, the world was suffering from a great depression, which is symbolized, by the farms failures of selling crops. Only leaders and important people would eat as much as they wanted during this period of time, as in the Animal farm, the animals are starving due to the farms losses, yet Mr. Jones, is eating. He also clearly represents the harms of capitalism, who is Czar Nicholas II, the leader that was overthrown by Lenin. He represents the old government, the last of the Czars. When Mr. Jones was overthrown, it was clear, that the key figures of the farm, who were the pigs, would be taking over, more so, the Old Major.

In January of 1924, Lenin, the former leader of the Soviet Union, passed away, duet to a severe heart - attack. From the very beginning of his illness, which began in 1922, he was persistently worried about the progression to power. It was evident, that the power lay between Stalin and Trotsky. Stalin was in sense less dependent on Lenin than his colleagues; he was only interested in the use of the Leninist implementations, not in his thoughts and beliefs. Lenin before he died, created bolshevism, as mentioned earlier, which he believed world free the working class, but instead a bureaucracy was created which seemed to imprison them. Lenin's life was dedicated to freeing the masses from oppression. He wanted to establish an enduring one-party state run by an elite.

Clearly similarities can be drawn, between the above and the movie. The Old Major, is representing Lenin, yet still holds the metaphor for Karl Marx. The Old Major, likewise as Lenin, shows the animals' freedom, due to their despair under Mr. Jones' ruling. He prepares them new rules to follow and abide by and inspires a rebellion among them. In the movie, it is shown how distant the Old Majors beliefs are from his followers, Napoleon and Snowball, due to the lack of mentioning them, during his speech. It states how distant they really were. When he did, the power lay between Napoleon and Snowball, who represent Stalin and Trotsky. Snowball as well as Napoleon, wanted a leadership position in the new political system, which was quiet contradictory to the Old Majors beliefs of equality. As time passes by, both Snowball and Napoleon, realize, one of them will have to step off power. This is where Napoleon, becomes the central character of the farm. He undoubtedly represents the weakness of any revolution. Socialism, as shown by Stalin, as well as Napoleon, is good as an ultimate, but it can never be successfully adopted, duet to human's uncontrollable human nature. Both Stalin and Napoleon appear to be good leaders, they both are eventually overcome by greed and soon become power - hungry, thus causing others harm.

Both Stalin and Napoleon, show their true sides and it becomes evident to us, that they are both cruel, harsh dictators. Stalin suspected that many people in his empire were supporters of Trotsky, as a result steadily murdered many of the people. As well as Napoleon, who begins to slaughter many of the animals living on the farm, for plotting against him, with Snowball? Snowball, in consequence is exiled from the farm, by Napoleon, similar to Trotsky being exiled from Russia by Stalin. Both leaders, feared to lose leadership and therefore wanted to eliminate their fears, and what else could they do, but exile what made them fear.

During the revolution in Russia, many people starved, duet to the lack of food and were forced to learn a "national" anthem sung by many, as well as forced to stand proudly when the red flag was drawn up by the soldiers. Similarly, in the movie the ducks, in the ending were singing the "anthem" proudly and the flag was drawn up as well. They symbolize the true followers of Stalinism, who were willing to do anything for their leader. Others, who failed to follow in their footsteps were shot or killed by his bodyguards or the KGB, who are represented by the dogs in the movie. Napoleon had taken away Jesse's puppies in an effort to establish a similar secret police force that will ensure that all the people are following Stalin's rules.

Stalin had many followers, which were the communist party loyalist, which stood very close to him and gave him much advice on the governing of the country. In the movie, the communist part is indicated by the other pigs; they are the loyalists and the friends that Stalin had as well, like the Russian parliament for example.

The other animals soon become very important similarities and metaphors to the Russian Revolution, as well. The goat in the movie, who reads the commandments for Clover represents the minority of the working class during the revolution who are only educated enough to decide things for themselves. The donkey, Old Benjamin, is more so representing the people who were unchanged by the revolution and still kept their traditions and did their work as before. He symbolizes the older generations of the country, who didn't feel the change was necessary.

During the revolution, Stalin attempted a Five year plan that would eventually bring up the economy of Russia and make it a wealthy nation, he thought. He forced people to do labor as well. Just as in the movie, Napoleon, forces the animals to do labor and build the Windmill as well as a statue of himself. The windmill is the symbolization of the Russian industry, which had been built by the working class, similarly in the movie by the other animals. When the Windmill gets destroyed, it illustrates how Stalin's Five Year Plan had failed to improve Russia's economy.

In conclusion, the aim of socialism was equality by Lenin, as well as Snowball. They both believed it would make the national better place, yet both failed to do so. Even though it was a great ideal, human nature is too uncontrollable to avoid sins that would corrupt this. The true sides are shown of the animals and of Stalin and his political party when power comes in question.