Characters in Animal Farm

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Animal Farm Characters

Old Major is the inspiration which fuels the Revolution and the book. According to one interpretation, he could be based upon both Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. As a socialist, George Orwell may have agreed with much of Marx, and even respected aspects of Lenin. According to this interpretation, the satire in Animal Farm is not of Marxism, or of Lenin’s revolution, but of the corruption that occurred later.

However, according to Christopher Hitchens: in the book, “the aims and principles of the Russian Revolution are given face-value credit throughout; this is a revolution betrayed, not a revolution that is monstrous from its inception.

” Though Old Major is presented positively, Orwell does slip in some flaws, such as his admission that he has largely been free of the abuse the rest of the animals have had to suffer. Old Major introduces the animals to the song Beasts of England. Old Major (also called Willingdon Beauty, his show name) is the first major character described by George Orwell in Animal Farm.

This “purebred” of pigs is the kind, grandfatherly philosopher of change; an obvious metaphor for Karl Marx, though some elements of Old Major are directly from Vladimir Lenin. Old Major proposes a solution to the animals’ desperate plight under the Jones’ “administration” (representing the tsar and autocracy) when he inspires a rebellion of sorts among the animals. The actual time of the revolt is unsaid. It could be the next day or several generations down the road.

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Old Major’s “Barn-Yard Speech” at the very onset of the story could be a reference to the Communist Manifesto.

Shortly after his death, the animals rise up in revolt and oust the men from power. Early on everything goes well and Old Major’s dream seems to be coming true. The pig Snowball largely takes on the intellectual and political leadership of the farm and seems to share Old Major’s principle of genuine concern for the animals of the farm. While Snowball is respected by most of the animals, the rest of the pigs, led by Napoleon, begin to move to oust Snowball. This occurs after the debate over the windmills when Napoleon unleashes his trained dogs to chase Snowball from the farm.

The Seven Commandments that Snowball had transcribed, that were supposed to encompass Old Major’s general philosophy, are gradually altered and deformed under Napoleon until they come to entirely opposite meanings than were originally intended. Also ‘Beasts of England’ the song that came to Old Major in his dream was later banned on Animal Farm. In both film adaptations, Major dies while provoking the animals into rebelling. In the 1954 adaption, he dies suddenly while the animals are singing. The 1999 version is even more unfaithful- Jones slips in mud while investigating the sounds coming from the barn, fires his shotgun, and indirectly hits Major, killing him.

Old Major in the allegory With Animal Farm being parallel to the formation of the Soviet Union, Old Major was based on both Lenin and Marx. The animals hold him in high esteem, and dig up his skull and walk past it and salute it every day, until the end of the novel when Napoleon announces that he had buried the skull, much as Lenin’s body was preserved and is kept on display in Moscow. Marx, author of the Communist Manifesto, died before the first communist revolution, whereas Old Major, founder of Animalism, dies before the Animal Farm revolution. His body was saluted by the soldiers everyday, even after the rebellion.


Napoleon, a Berkshire boar, is the main tyrant and villain of Animal Farm and is based upon Joseph Stalin. Napoleon begins to gradually build up his power, using puppies he took from mother dogs Jessie and Bluebell, which he raises to be vicious dogs as his secret police. After driving Snowball off the farm, Napoleon usurps full power, using false propaganda from Squealer and threats and intimidation from the dogs to keep the other animals in line.

Among other things, he gradually changes the Commandments to allow himself privileges and justify his dictatorial rule such as eating at a table. By the end of the book, Napoleon and his fellow pigs have learned to walk upright and started to behave similarly to the humans they originally revolted against. (In the French version of Animal Farm, Napoleon is called Cesar, the French spelling of Caesar. Napoleon is a fictional character in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

While he is at first a common farm pig, he takes advantage of the animals’ uprising against their masters to eventually become the tyrannical “President of Animal Farm,” which he turns into a dictatorship. Napoleon in the Allegory Napoleon was based mostly on Joseph Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union for nearly 30 years. However, his name comes from that of the French general Napoleon Bonaparte, who Orwell, like many Britons of his time, considered to be a repressive powerseeker and dictator. In the French version of the book, he was renamed Cesar (Caesar). [1] From the start, he is made out to be a villain.

Napoleon fights along with fellow pig Snowball to free the farm from human control, only to turn on his former comrade and seize control of the farm; this mirrors the relationship between Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Trotsky supported Permanent Revolution (just as Snowball advocated overthrowing other farm owners), while Stalin supported Socialism in One Country (similar to Napoleon’s idea of teaching the animals to use firearms). Later on, after ostracizing Snowball as Stalin placed Trotsky in exile, Napoleon ordered the construction of a windmill, which had been designed by Snowball and which he had opposed vigorously.

When the primitive windmill collapses due to Napoleon’s poor planning, a reference to Stalin’s backward approach to the Five-Year Plans, he blames Snowball and starts a wave of terror. During this period he orders the execution of several of the animals after coercing their “confessions” of wrongdoing. He also changes the Seven Commandments’ prohibition against killing. He then commands the building of a second, stronger windmill while severely cutting rations to all of the animals — except the pigs and dogs.

He later makes a deal with Frederick (similar to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact shortly before World War II); Frederick tricks Napoleon by paying him with counterfeit money and then invading the farm, much as Germany broke its pact with the Soviet Union and invaded, in order to seize its minerals and fuel. During the Battle of the Windmill, the windmill is destroyed, but the animals win, although they pay a high price. Napoleon attempts to cover the losses by stating it was a grand victory for the animals. While Napoleon exhorts the other animals to fight and die for the good of the farm, he himself is a coward, in contrast to Snowball.

Nonetheless, Napoleon’s historical revisionism rewrites himself as a hero, claiming responsibility for the animal’s victory during the Battle of the Cowshed when in reality it was Snowball who had performed heroic acts in this battle. Ultimately, Napoleon becomes a tyrannical, oppressive dictator and seems to become human through his adoption of human ways. At the end of the novel he has decided to abolish the use of ‘comrade. ‘ In the end of the 1954 film, Napoleon wears dictator-like clothing and pictures of him, similar in nature to that of Chairman Mao’s famous picture, are put up. On top of this, it seems that he is ultimately killed by a horde of animals who destroy his homestead.


Snowball is Napoleon’s rival. He is an allusion to Leon Trotsky. He wins over most animals, but is driven out of the farm in the end by Napoleon. Snowball genuinely works for the good of the farm and devises plans to help the animals achieve their vision of an egalitarian utopia but is chased from the farm by Napoleon and his dogs, and rumours are spread about him (by Napoleon) to make him seem evil and corrupt and that he is secretly sabotaging the animals’ efforts to improve the farm.

In his biography of Orwell, Bernard Crick suggests that Snowball was as much inspired by POUM leader Andres Nin as by Trotsky. Nin was a similarly adept orator and also fell victim to the Communist purges of the Left during the Spanish Civil War. Fictional biography Together with the pig Napoleon, Snowball leads the animals’ revolt against the human farmer, but is driven away from the farm (a comparison to the Russian government) by his former comrade Napoleon in the later part of the story. Unlike Napoleon, he has the best interests of the animals in mind.

He is most attuned to the thinking of Old Major (whose role resembles that of Vladimir Lenin or perhaps Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels). He devotes himself to bettering the animals in intellectual, moral and physical ways. His role on the farm bears a significant and intended resemblance to the role of Leon Trotsky in the early Soviet Union. In his short-lived time as a leader, Snowball actively works to change Animal Farm, and although not all of his ideas work very efficiently, he is shown to have genuinely good intentions. Like Trotsky, Snowball is exiled after Napoleon seizes power by force, modeled after Joseph Stalin.

After Snowball is exiled, he is used by Napoleon as a political scapegoat and is blamed for various problems on the farm. For example, he is blamed for allegedly mixing weed seeds into the wheat seeds under the cover of night to explain the growth of weeds in the farm’s crops. He is also blamed for the destruction of the windmill the animals had created. Other animals make false confessions (an idea Orwell expands in 1984) saying they helped him in his “nightly visits,” or he came to them in a dream telling them to do bad deeds and they are executed brutally in public.

The killing is likely a parallel to the Great Purge started by Stalin in 1936 when he tried and executed many of his political adversaries using forced false confessions. ) There is never a sure confirmation that Snowball is alive or dead as he was never seen again after his exile. Snowball’s ideas Snowball believes in a continued revolution: he argues that in order to defend Animal Farm, the animals should stir up rebellions in other farms throughout England. He continues striving for the betterment of the Animal Farm. He tries to accomplish this through many failed committees, like the Cleaner Tails League for the cows.

Napoleon is shown to have been Snowball’s enemy from the very start of the revolution, disagreeing with almost all of Snowball’s ideas. For example, when Snowball proposes inspiring more revolutions on other farms in order to protect Animal Farm (similar to Trotsky’s idea of Permanent Revolution), Napoleon proposes learning to use firearms and other more advanced weapons. When Snowball actively organizes the animals into groups of committees, Napoleon simply states that the education of the young is all that was needed. Snowball also writes the first version of the Seven Commandments. These are later altered by Squealer under the orders of Napoleon to accommodate the treacherous actions of the pigs. For example, the commandment stating “No animal shall drink alcohol” is changed to “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess. ”


Squealer, a small fat porker, serves as Napoleon’s right hand man and minister of propaganda. Inspired by Vyacheslav Molotov and the Soviet paper Pravda, Squealer manipulates the language to excuse, justify, and extol all of Napoleon’s actions. He represents all the propaganda Stalin used to justify his own heinous acts. In all of his work, George Orwell made it a point to show how politicians used language.

Squealer limits debate by complicating it and he confuses and disorients, making claims that the pigs need the extra luxury they are taking in order to function properly, for example. However, when questions persist, he usually uses the threat of Mr. Jones’s return as justification for the pigs’ privileges. Squealer uses statistics to convince the animals that life is getting better and better. Most of the animals have only dim memories of life before the revolution; therefore, they are convinced. Allegory

In the allegorical form chosen by Orwell for Animal Farm, the pigs are easily identified with the Soviet leaders of the time. Napoleon and Snowball clearly represent Stalin and Trotsky, respectively. However, for those unfamiliar with the Soviet hierarchy in the 1930s and 1940s, Squealer’s human counterpart may be obscure. However, there is merit in the interpretation of Squealer being a representation of propaganda overall. Squealer certainly was the key spokesman for the pigs. His command of persuasive language and self-serving re-interpretations of facts illustrates the power of propaganda to control the under- and un-educated masses.

Some authors have gone so far as to suggest that Squealer specifically represented the state-run newspaper Pravda. The downfall of this interpretation is that it fails to associate Squealer with a specific figure in Stalin’s inner circle. In contrast, Molotov is a near-perfect fit with Orwell’s description of and central role given to Squealer. Squealer is a close companion and protege of Napoleon; Molotov was a close companion and protege of Stalin. Squealer serves mainly as Napoleon’s “propaganda minister”; Molotov was Stalin’s Prime Minister (1930-1939) and Foreign Minister (1939-1949) and constant spokesman.

When the animals suspect that the pigs are breaking the laws, Squealer justifies their actions. For instance, when the other animals want to have the milk and apples, Squealer says that milk and apples help the pigs think; so, eating the apples and drinking milk would prevent Mr. Jones from returning. Similarly, Molotov was a constant apologist for Stalin, rationalizing “Comrade” Stalin’s tyranny as being in the best interests of the people. Squealer’s arguments Throughout the book, Squealer justifies his arguments using his great powers of persuasion, his eloquent words and his charismatic intellect.

His foundation for many of his arguments is that the animals do not want Mr. Jones back in power in the farm, and therefore must support Napoleon. He devises various other reasons to convince the other animals of the farm to believe him, backing them up with claims of scientific evidence (for example, apples and milk), recently discovered “documentary evidence” (proving the complicity of Snowball in working with the enemy) and using difficult reasoning, which confused the other animals. Squealer takes the central role in making announcements to the animals, as Napoleon appears less and less often as the book progresses.

Breaking of the Seven Commandments Throughout the book, Napoleon and Squealer break the Seven Commandments, the tenets on which governance of the farm is based. To prevent the animals from suspecting them, Squealer preys on the animals’ stupidity and alters the Commandments from time to time as the need arises. This is proven on page 73 of the British version when Squealer falls off the ladder while trying to change the commandments in the night. Orwell uses Squealer to mainly show how some governments and politicians use propaganda to get their ideas accepted and implemented by the people. In the end, Squealer reduces the Seven Commandments into one commandment, that “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.


Mr. Jones represents Nicholas II of Russia, the deposed Czar, who had been facing severe financial difficulties in the days leading up to the 1917 Revolution. The character is also a nod toward Louis XVI. There are also several implications that he represents an autocratic but ineffective capitalist, incapable of running the farm and looking after the animals properly. Jones is a very heavy drinker and the animals revolt against him after he drinks so much that he does not feed or take care of them.

Ironically, Napoleon himself becomes almost obsessed with drinking and eventually changes the commandments to suit his needs. Toward the end of the book, the pigs become the mirror image of Jones, though they thirst for more power than ever before. Mr. Jones was once a capable farmer, but after the aftermath of a very damaging lawsuit, deteriorated into drinking and became known for his harsh rule over the animals.

Instigated by Old Major, the animals rebelled against Mr. Jones and removed him from power, supposedly ending the days of extreme hunger and labor. Mr. Jones attempted to reinstate himself in the farm by attacking the animals; a skirmish the animals later called the Battle of the Cowshed. He was defeated by Snowball’s tactics. The casualties of the battle were only a single sheep lost by the animals, but many of the men whom Jones brought (which were from Foxwood and Pinchfield farms) were injured, including Jones himself.

Jones never made an attempt to capture Animal Farm again and went off to live someplace else. He later died in an inebriates’ home in another part of the country. In the same way that the book’s other characters are representative of historical figures, Jones is an allegory for Tsar Nicholas II.


Mr. Frederick is the tough owner of Pinchfield, a well-kept neighbouring farm. He represents Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in general. Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield Farm was a human character in the satirical novella Animal Farm by George Orwell. Mr. Frederick was one of Animal Farm’s neighbours, and kept a small but organized farm. He was constantly in bad terms with the other farm on the opposite side of Animal Farm owned by Mr. Pilkington. [edit] Frederick in the allegory Mr. Frederick played the role of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in Orwell’s book.

After Germany broke its treaty with Russia, Hitler promptly invaded Russia, jealous of the resources, and nearly succeeded. The Russians eventually defeated the Germans. During this invasion, many of the Russians started starving and many were being killed by Germany’s better equipped army. The Allies failed to offer much help to the Russians (such as Pilkington’s message: “SERVES YOU RIGHT”). However, the Russians managed to defeat the Germans and push them out of the country.


Mr. Pilkington is the easy-going but crafty owner of Foxwood, a neighbouring farm overgrown with weeds, as described in the book. He represents the western powers, such as the United Kingdom and the U. S.. The card game at the very end of the novel is a metaphor for the Tehran Conference, where the parties flatter each other, all the while cheating at the game. The irony in his last scene is present because of all of the Pigs being civil and kind to the humans, defying all for which they had fought. This was present in the Tehran Conference with the Alliance that the Soviet Union formed with the United States and the United Kingdom, capitalist countries that the Soviet Union had fought in the early years of the revolution. [4]

At the end of the novel, both Napoleon and Pilkington draw the Ace of Spades (which in most games, is the highest-ranking card) at the same time and begin fighting loudly, symbolising the beginning of tension between the U. S. nd Soviet superpowers. Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood Farm is a human character in George Orwell’s satirical book Animal Farm. Mr. Pilkington has a more unkept farm, and is on bad terms with Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield Farm, whose farm is on the opposite side of Animal Farm. Mr. Pilkington at first offered to buy Napoleon’s pile of timber, but the timber is “bought” (with counterfeit banknotes) by Frederick instead.

When Frederick invades Animal Farm, Pilkington refuses to help the animals (primarily because the messages that Napoleon sent to Pilkington that read “Death to Pilkington”). edit] The Meeting Pilkington and several other of the men working on the farm were invited to a meeting by Napoleon and the pigs, where Napoleon reintroduces Animal Farm’s “new” name of Manor Farm. Pilkington praises Napoleon on his extreme strictness that he imposes upon the animals, forbidding them any time to enjoy themselves. He talks about the misunderstandings in the past that had been rectified.

“You have your lower animals,” the fat human jokingly consents, “and we have our lower classes. The men and pigs start playing cards, flattering and praising each other while cheating at the game, representing the Tehran Conference. At the end of the novel, both Napoleon and Pilkington draw the Ace of Spades (which in most games, is the highest-ranking card) at the same time and begin fighting loudly this symbolizes the beginning of tension between the U. S and Soviet superpowers. [edit] Pilkington in the Allegory Pilkington represents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill of the Allies. After the end of World War II, the Cold War was ignited between the U. S and the Soviet Union, similar to the end of the meeting where both Napoleon and Pilkington play a simultaneous Ace of Spades.

Horses There are two horses and one mare: Clover & Boxer and “Mollie the mare” Boxer is one of the main characters. He is the tragic avatar of the working class, or proletariat: loyal, kind, dedicated, and physically the strongest animal on the farm, but naive and slow. His ignorance and blind trust towards his leaders leads to his death and their profit. In particular, his heroic physical work represents the Stakhanovite movement.

His maxim of “I will work harder” is reminiscent of Jurgis Rudkus from the Upton Sinclair novel The Jungle. His second maxim, “Napoleon is always right” is an example of the propaganda used by Squealer to control the animals. It was not adopted until later in the book. Boxer’s work ethic is often praised by the pigs, and he is set as a prime example to the other animals. When Boxer is injured, and can no longer work, Napoleon sends him off to the knacker’s and deceives the other animals, saying that Boxer died peacefully in the hospital.

When the animals cannot work, Napoleon tosses them aside, for they mean nothing to him. Boxer is a fictional horse from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, he is the farm’s most hard-working and loyal worker. He serves as an allegory for the Russian working class who helped oust the Czar and establish the Soviet Union, but were eventually betrayed by the Stalinists. He is one of the most popular of the book’s characters. Boxer is the tragic avatar of the working class, or proletariat: loyal, kind, dedicated, and strong.

By contrast, he is not very clever and seldom progresses beyond the fourth letter of the alphabet. His major flaw, however, is his blind trust in the leaders, and his inability to see corruption, leading to his manipulation and abuse by the pigs in more or less the same manner as he was by Jones. His two mottos, seen below, sum up the double side of his character. He fights very bravely in the Battle of the Cowshed and the Battle of the Windmill but is upset when he thinks he has killed a stable lad when, in fact, he had only stunned the poor boy.

When Boxer defends Snowball’s reputation from Squealer’s revisionism, the pigs designate the workhorse as a target for the Great Purge, but he easily outmuscles his canine executioners, sparing them at Napoleon’s request. His eventual death serves to show just how far the pigs are willing to go — when he collapses due to working too hard, the pigs supposedly send him to a veterinarian, when in fact he was sent to the knacker’s yard to be slaughtered and made into dog food and glue, in exchange for money to buy a case of whiskey for the pigs, in what is perhaps their single most despicable action.

A strong and loyal draft horse, Boxer played a huge part in keeping the Farm together prior to his death and was the only close friend of Benjamin, the cynical donkey. Ironically, during Old Major’s speech which inspired the principles of animalism a specific reference is made to how he would be turned into glue under Jones rule, thus implying that it would not happen to him under Animalism. This is possibly a further decline from animalism to Napoleon’s government.

Boxer may have been inspired by Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov, a miner in the Soviet Union who became a hero in 1935 for his great productivity, or the Soviet Stakhanovite movement named after him, which was aimed at increasing worker productivity. His name was possibly based upon the Boxer Uprising in China. Boxer’s Mottos •”I will work harder” is Boxer’s response to nearly all problems. He ends up overstraining himself and collapses. This motto may be a reference to the novel The Jungle, which illustrates the abuse and swindling of the working class, as it was the motto of the main character in that novel also.

“Napoleon is always right”—similar to “Mussolini is always right”— is Boxer’s statement where he always show a belief in Napoleon no matter what. Clover is Boxer’s mother and a fellow draft horse. She helps and cares for Boxer when he splits his hoof. She blames herself for forgetting the original Seven Commandments when Squealer had actually revised them. Clover is compassionate, as is shown when she protects the baby ducklings during Major’s speech; albeit made out to be somewhat vain in the opening of the novel by the narrator, who remarks that she never “recovered” her figure after giving birth to her fourth foal.

She is also upset when animals are executed by the dogs, and is held in great respect by three younger horses who ultimately replace Boxer. Mollie is a self-centred and vain white mare who likes wearing ribbons in her mane, eating sugar cubes (which represent luxury) and being pampered and groomed by humans. She represents upper-class people, the bourgeoisie and nobility who fled to the West after the Russian Revolution and effectively dominated the Russian diaspora. Accordingly, she quickly leaves for another farm and is only once mentioned again.

Other animals

Benjamin is a wise, old donkey that shows slight emotion and is one of the longest surviving of the Manor Farm animals; he is alive to the very last scene of the book. The animals often query him about his lack of expression but always answers with: ‘Donkeys live a long life. None of you have ever seen a dead donkey. ‘ Benjamin can also read as well as any pig, but rarely displays his ability. He is a dedicated friend to Boxer and is sorely upset when Boxer is taken away. Benjamin has known about the pigs’ wrongdoing the entire time, though he says nothing to the other animals.

He represents the cynics in society. It has also been speculated that Benjamin could also represent the role of Jews in society, although this is unlikely since so many of the early supporters of the Russian Revolution were Jews. Another possibility is that Benjamin is an allegory for intellectuals who have the wisdom to stay clear of the purges. Yet another representation is possibly that Benjamin is an allegory of the author himself. Benjamin is a fictional donkey in George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. He is the longest-lived of the animals and is alive in the last scene of the novel.

He is less straightforward than most characters in the novel and a number of interpretations have been put forward. It has been suggested that he represents the aged population of Russia, or that he represents the Menshevik intelligentsia: as intelligent, if not more so, than the novel’s pigs. He is very cynical about the Revolution and life in general. For the most part he represents the skeptical people in and out of Russia who believed that Communism would not help the people of Russia, but who did not criticise it fervently enough to lose their lives or approve of a gradualist alternative.

He is also quite significant in that he is not quite a horse (the working peasantry) and yet definitely not a leader like the pigs—even if his intellect is equal to theirs. The fact that he also has a Biblical name could also imply that he also represents the Jewish populace of Russia whose lives were not remotely improved under Stalin’s leadership. In fact, when asked if he was happier post-Revolution than before the Revolution, he simply remarks, “Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey.

He is one of the wisest animals on the farm, and is able to “read as well as any pig”. [1] However, this is an ability he does not exercise until the end of the book, and for all his age, he is never given the option of retirement. The only outrage that inspires him into action is the pigs’ betrayal of Benjamin’s best friend, Boxer, after which he becomes more cynical than ever. Seen from a wider perspective, Benjamin is a symbol of intelligence that during the times of revolution and its aftermath is very much aware about what is going on, but does nothing about it.

The general (manipulated) masses are represented by the sheep, who are not aware about their misuse, but it is Benjamin who can see how the basic rules of their society are changing and does not get in any way involved. It is quite possible that Benjamin represents George Orwell himself. Muriel is a wise, old goat who is friends with all the animals on the farm. She, like Benjamin and Snowball, is one of the few animals on the farm who can read (with some difficulty, she has to spell the words out first) which helps Clover know that the Seven Commandments have been surreptitiously changed throughout the story.

She possibly represents the same category as Benjamin. The only difference is that she dies at the end of the book due to age. The Puppies, who were raised by Napoleon to be his security force may be a reference to the fact that a major factor in Stalin’s rise to power was his appointment as General Secretary of the Communist Party by Lenin in 1922, in which role he used his powers of appointment, promotion and demotion to quietly pack the party with his own supporters. He did this with such effectiveness that Lenin’s Testament eventually called for Stalin’s removal from this post.

Lenin’s request was ignored by the leading members of the Politburo – most notably Trotsky, represented in the novel by Snowball. The puppies represent Stalin’s secret police. Dogs – The dogs represent the military/police. In the beginning of the book, they voted against accepting the rats & rabbits as ‘comrades’. Shortly after the revolution, several ‘pups’ are stolen from their mothers. Later in the book, these pups (now fully grown – and fully trained) protect Napoleon from a second potential revolution, and help to enforce his decrees. Jessie, Bluebell, Pincher – The only three dogs that are mentioned by name.

They do not have a very active role in the novel. All three are mentioned as being present at old major’s meeting, but Pincher is never mentioned again (except in the ‘epilogue’, when it is mentioned that all three dogs are dead) – Jesse and Bluebell are the mothers of the ‘pups’ which serve as Napoleon’s bodyguards (and I assume Pincher is the father). Jesse and Bluebell also participate in the ‘Battle of the Windmill’. The Sheep represented the masses, manipulated to support Stalin in spite of his treachery. The Rats may have represented some of the nomadic people in the far north of the USSR.

Birds – The primary motto of Animalism is “Four legs good, two legs bad”. The birds argued with this saying since it seems to exclude birds, which have two legs and two wings. Squealer set them at ease by explaining, “A bird’s wing, comrades, is an organ of propulsion and not of manipulation. It should therefore be regarded as a leg. The distinguishing mark of man is the hand, the instrument with which he does all his mischief. ” In real life, there were several classes of citizens ‘left out’ of socialist rhetoric as well. Most of the communistic slogans dealt with the ‘proletariat’ – which was primarily a reference to urban factory workers.

The rural farmers, the clergy, the ‘intelligentsia’, and other ‘non-labour union’ types probably felt left out, just as the birds did in the novel. And, just as in real life, most would be left out – or killed – after the revolution. The birds were different from the other animals – they stood on two legs. And in real-life, the peasant farmers were unique as well – many of them owned land. Though the land was eventually ‘collectivized’ by the state in the 1930’s, these peasants were allowed to own land (‘walk on two legs’) for the first decade of communism.

Property owners in the city lost their land (were forced to ‘walk on four legs’) immediately following the revolution. And the primary reason for this, as Squealer explained above, was that the peasants weren’t using their ownership of property to enrich themselves on the backs of the workers – they generally farmed the land themselves, and so their land ownership was tolerated for some time (their wings were “an organ of propulsion, not of manipulation”). Moses – The raven Moses symbolizes the Russian Orthodox Church. In the beginning of the novel, Moses was Mr.

Jones’s ‘pet’. Moses fled the farm shortly after the revolution, but eventually returned. Moses never did any work. All he did was sit around telling stories – primarily of “Sugar Candy Mountain”, a paradise where animals lived on after they have died. At first Napoleon tried to get rid of Moses. But eventually Moses was allowed to stay on the farm and was even given a small ration of ‘beer’. Moses the raven is an old bird that occasionally visits the farm with tales of Sugarcandy Mountain, where he says animals go when they die, but only if they work hard.

He represents religion, specifically the Russian Orthodox Church, which is banned when the pigs come to power. He leaves after the rebellion, for all animals are supposed to be equal, and religion is not part of equality, but returns later in the novel because he convinces the animals to work harder. Nobody does anything to harm Moses, due to the fact that all animals (and Moses being an animal) are equal. In the end, he is one of few animals to remember the rebellion, along with Clover, Benjamin, and the pigs. Hens – Peasant Farmers.

In Chapter seven, Napoleon calls for the hens to ‘surrender their eggs’. This is a reference to Stalin’s attempt to collectivize the peasant farmers of Russia. The hens attempted to resist the order at first, just as the peasant farmers of the Ukraine. But, just as in real life, they were eventually starved into submission. In the book, 9 hens died during the incident. In real-life, it is estimated that somewhere between 4 and 10 million Ukrainian peasants were starved to death by Stalin. In the book, it was also said that the Hens smashed their own eggs to protest Napoleon’s actions.

In real-life, Ukrainian farmers would slaughter their own livestock before joining a collective as a form of protest. So many farmers engaged in this practice, that livestock in the Ukraine dwindled by 50%-80% between 1928 and 1935. The problem got so out of hand that Stalin eventually executed any farmer found guilty of engaging in this practice. Even the act of ‘neglecting’ your livestock was punishable by death. Three young Black Minorca pullets – The leaders of the hen’s ‘resistance’. The book says that these three chickens ‘made a determined effort to thwart Napoleon’s wishes’.

The dictionary defines a Minorca Hen as ‘A domestic fowl of a breed originating in the Mediterranean region and having white or black plumage. ‘ – a reference to the Ukrainians possibly? (although not exactly on the Mediterranean, the Ukraine is in the same general area) Never the less, It was the Ukrainian peasants who formed the primary resistance to Stalin’s attempts to collectivize farming, so the ‘black Minorcan Pullets’ are almost certainly a reference to the Ukrainians. But it is also possible that Orwell may be referring to specific group of Ukrainians – the Ukrainian Kulaks.

The Kulaks were middle and upper class peasants that owned farmland in Ukraine. It was they that had the most to lose by collectivizing. (And as a side note, Minorca is “A Spanish island in the Balearics of the western Mediterranean Sea. Held by the British and the French at various times during the 18th century, it was a Loyalist stronghold in the Spanish Civil War. ” This is curious since Orwell had personally participated in the Spanish Civil War, and was probably well aware of this islands’ act of resistance. )

Cockerels – Serve as an alarm clock for Boxer. Napoleon had a black cockerel who marched in front of him and acted as a kind of trumpeter (He would let out a loud “cock-a-doodle-doo” before Napoleon spoke. ) Frederick (Hitler) was said to hold cockfights where the combatants had splinters of razor-blade tied to their spurs. Pigeons – The pigeons, who fly out each day to spread the word about ‘animalism’ to the other farms in Willingdon, represent the “Communist World Revolution” – The Communist International, or Comintern, as it is widely known.

Geese – ? Mentioned in the “Beast of England” Turkeys – ? Mentioned in the “Beast of England” Ducks – They are generally only mentioned in conjunction with the hens, and, just like the hens, are portrayed as being less intelligent than the other animals. The obviously represent some type of peasantry, but it is unclear as to with specific group Orwell is referring to since Orwell never gives any specifics of the Duck’s role on the farm.

The book merely states that some ducklings (who have lost their mother) were present at Old Major’s ‘meeting’, and that clover has protected them so the other animals wouldn’t trample on them. The ducks are mentioned as assisting with building the windmill. It is also said that they helped the hens “save five bushels of corn at the harvest by gathering up the stray grains”. The book also states that the Ducks, along with the Sheep and the hens, were on the lower end of the intelligence scale – completely incapable of grasping the full ideas of ‘animalism’.

Since ducks are water-borne foul, it is possible that they may represent the ‘farmers of the sea’ … fishermen perhaps?? The Hens may have represented the Kulaks as they destroy their eggs rather than hand them over to Napoleon, similar to how during collectivisation some Kulaks destroyed machinery or killed their livestock. The Cat represents laziness (for she, along with Mollie, did not do any work on the farm) and possibly racism (for she is the only one who says the rats are enemies).


  • www. wikipedia. org/wiki/Animal_Farm

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Characters in Animal Farm. (2017, Dec 27). Retrieved from

Characters in Animal Farm
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