Stories are usually written to widen our understanding of different notions, environment or bring any moral value for our benefit. Interesting stories have an intriguing plot, thrilling language or characters created by the author. Characters usually breathe life into the story, and the author uses them to have a lasting impression on the reader. And character analysis is part and parcel of understanding the story because of their actions, thoughts and traits affect the story outcome. The aim of this paper is to analyze the characters of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and their symbolism. The Animal Farm is mainly focused on historical events which took place in the middle of 20th century in Easter Europe and on the territory of modern Russia. Also, these events can be compared with the current situation in this region.
George Orwell in his Animal Farm is focused on a propaganda of socialism as an opposite of communism or so-called totalitarian regime. In his novel, he depicts betrayal of the Russian revolution, in particular, Stalin regime. He uses animals as the main characters to make the story more acceptable by the public. Each character in his story has certain qualities and traits to make his novel thrilling. Moreover, these characters are more likely used to attract people from all segments of society and outreach their minds. He uses allegory to describe his main view on the issue.
The first character I have decided to analyze in my Animal Farm essay is Napoleon; it is the main character and antagonist of the Animal Farm. Orwell compares him with Joseph Stalin and describes as a healthy and big boar:
“Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire in the farm.”
Orwell has chosen Berkshire boar to introduce Napoleon because they are considered elite pigs, additionally the name speaks for itself connecting him with Napoleon Bonaparte, a famous French leader who conquered almost the whole Europe and failed with Russian Empire. Napoleon’s character is dynamic, and his main aim is to dominate at the farm.
His greed for power leads him to chase Snowball and taking charge of the farm. After that he is considered to become negative for the readers changing into jealousy, hungry for power, greed, and inmoral animal. He carefully plans all his actions and constantly changes. He makes animals to respect him and then fear. He behaves like an upper-class human against animalism principles. He is dominating at the story. However, the author doesn’t overshadow other characters.
The next character I have decided to analyze is Squealer. It is a dynamic character like Napoleon. He changes because of Napoleon actions and becomes a spokesman of the Napoleon. He is propagating Napoleon actions yet justifying them. Squealer is a good speaking character which can make black look white and he becomes the main voice of pigs, squealing Napoleon propaganda. Squealer is seen like highly adaptable persona, he acts like a weathercock and after seeing his profit in Napoleon leadership he follows him.
At the other hand, Boxer is a static and positive character. He is big and clumsy, yet he is strong and funny.
Readers usually sympathize him and when he dies the majority of readers feel sorrow and even crying because of his cruel death. He adapts to the consequences and continues to work hard no matter what happens among leaders. He is interested in the success of the farm, and says “I will work hard” and “Napoleon is always right”. He is strong physically but very naive that is why he respects other and never listens if somebody speaks badly about Napoleon.
He is a good example of working class: interested in well-being yet understanding that to get it you need to be honest and hardworking.
Snowball is opposed to Napoleon character; Orwell compares him with Leon Trotsky, who after Lenin’s death was banned from the Soviet Union and chased by Stalin’s agents. Snowball is a good inspiring orator and has all qualities of a good leader who can control the farm in the soft and respectful way building up wellness. The name Orwell chosen symbolizes the effect of snowball – it can quickly become large. Before Napoleon came to the farm Snowball was in charge of it, and due to the cruel scenario and misfortune, he was blamed of the issues experienced by the animals on the Farm. As a result, he was attacked and killed by guarding Napoleon dogs (in the editions before the 1950s he was chased by the dogs, but there were no mentions if he was killed or not).
As we see Orwell chosen characters for his Animal Farm novel to showcase human behavior. Each character emphasizes negative and positive characteristics of people. The dynamic change of behavior and characters attitudes are aimed to show what happens in the person’s life and mind because of his or her striving to power and wellbeing. The character analysis helps to evaluate the role of each character and its symbolism in the story. The author had chosen these characters set to create a long lasting impression in the reader’s mind and change the attitude to the Russian Revolution and the totalitarian regime it had those days. As I have said at the beginning, currently Animal Farm can be compared with recent events in Russia and its actions against other countries in Eastern Europe. The current regime set by Putting each year becomes more and more similar to Stalin policy but has major differences because the society changed during the past sixty years.
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Orwell, G. (2000). Animal farm. London: Penguin.
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www.BookRags.com. (2016). Animal Farm Summary. [online] Available at: http://www.bookrags.com/notes/af/CHR.html [Accessed 18 Dec. 2016].