Feb 8, 2019 in Book Review Examples


The book Animal Farm by George Orwell depicts a very crucial theme, the Soviet Union under Stalinism, which was based on totalitarianism, and totalitarianism on its own. Totalitarianism is a type of regime whereby the state pursues governing of all phases of life, starting with the economic field and the politics, and finishing with each person’s thoughts and beliefs.

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Different totalitarian states vary in their method and idea of government. This is seen through the way Mr. Jones manages the Manor Farm, thinking that human supremacy upon animals is the normal way of undertaking activities, while his colleague Napoleon bases his argument that the pigs in the animal farm are struggling to prevent the animals from the evil humans. The two fellows tend to argue about a different perspective of a similar concept since their opinions are dependant on different regimes.


The historical concepts and figures are represented in the book in different factions of imperial Russian and Soviet society. The major characters include Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, the latter is recognized as the Major in the book, Leon Trotsky is the Snowball, Joseph Stalin, known as Napoleon, Adolph Hitler is shown as Fredrick, the Peasants, the boxer, the Alles, depicted as Pilkington, and the Elite, recognized as Mollie. There are various similarities between the events in the book and Soviet history. Some of the events show that Snowball’s and Napoleon’s authority is a direct allegory of Trotsky and Stalin. The trade agreement that Fredrick comes up with Napoleon, and the various disagreement with it, represents the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression agreement that led to World War 2. The battle of the windmill is the incident that highly represents World War 2 and portrays the propaganda that is used in totalitarian states by leaders (Orwell 12).

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The propaganda tends to serve as a positive method of bringing people together, just similar to the Soviet Union, but sometimes its cost leads to the misleading popularity that brings about the issue of totalitarianism. In the book these themes are recognized by the way, the animals are mistreated on the farm by their rulers, hence leading astray as they achieve their benefits. This is evident by the way Napoleon twists the animals’ thoughts and makes them believe in the new version of animalism all based on his benefits (Orwell 66).

Napoleon goes ahead and makes the animals be frightened of being brought Snowball to them, whom they are afraid of, as animals view him to be similar to Mr. Jones that used to mistreat them. The similarities are created by the way Napoleon is used to showing the dogs, the way they are mistreated in both regimes. This makes the animal pledge to Napoleon’s authority and has no doubts about it. This propaganda is put into action and the animals are unable to recognize the truth since they are all brainwashed.

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However, it was difficult for the animals to recognize what were their leaders’ objectives, especially when Snowball and Napoleon seem to be collaborating. This was shown through the meetings they used to hold at the beginning, after taking over the authority of the animals from Mr. Jones. In the meeting, the pigs were viewed to be the most intelligent animals since they were the ones who come up with the resolutions for the animals all along with the meeting. This makes Snowball hold rallies for social and economic improvement to strengthen the pigs to which Napoleon opposes. Snowball views this as an opportunity of decreasing the other animals’ power since they were unable to memorize the animals’ commandments due to their insufficient intelligence (Orwell 34).

Later in the summer, the pigs become the leader of the other animals and, whenever the other animals seem to oppose, they were treated by the return of Mr. Jones who makes them pledge. Napoleon feels that he cannot give in the battle, and, therefore, he confiscates nine newborn puppies and isolates them from the rest, so that to teach them the authority concepts. As a result of the windmill, the differences between Snowball and Napoleon increase. The windmill was Snowball’s idea which he views as a way of providing electricity on the farm, but Napoleon is jealous because of the idea.

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This makes Napoleon go ahead and hold a meeting, whereby he announces the plans of building the windmill as his own. This makes Snowball angry since the animals believed Napoleon's words which are shown through their efforts on the farm. However, Snowball is unable to take any action since Napoleon negotiates with the other powerful people who help him to implement the idea of a windmill. Eventually, the pigs are overthrown by the trained dogs of Napoleon after Snowball is overtaken by the authority of the animal farm. During this time the animals’ commandments are changed to suit the new regime.


It was also during the battle whereby it is recognized that Orwell is less concerned with the others. This is illustrated via the execution of the Red Terror event to Great Purge. During these events, especially the Red Terror, there are a lot of ambiguities that come across, and it makes people view Stalinism as being statically as well as a totalitarian regime. In the book, it can be seen that Napoleon does not exploit only the dogs after attaining his position over Snowball, but, as well, changes them into villains even against parents’ wishes.

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This is well-illustrated by the way Boxer is exploited, despite the support and good deeds for Napoleon. Boxer is slaughtered after all the actions just as a result of the regime's benefits (Orwell 99). At the end of the novel, the animals are unaware of Napoleon’s selfish gains and, therefore, go ahead exploiting themselves by making him the president of the farm and constructing a schoolhouse for his own pigs. All these illustrations clearly prove that totalitarianism is a satire, which is clearly recognized by the reader rather than the animals depicted in the book.

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