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Animal Farm: Context and Background

Animal Farm: Context and Background. Youtube. ClickView, 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

As you watch this video on the Russian Revolution, fill in the blank spaces below.

What is an allegory?

 An allegory is a story which is actually an extended metaphor.

 All the elements in the story symbolize things from a similar real-life situation.

 While the story has a simple surface meaning, it also carried another meaning; one that is

often about a real political or historical event.

Who was George Orwell?

 Orwell was concerned about social injustice and the mistreatment of the lower classes.

 He was particularly interested in effects totalitarianism on ordinary people and on the ability

of political power to corrupt good people.

What is totalitarianism?

 A totalitarian government controls everything: the economy, the media, the beliefs, and

values of its people.

Historical Context: The Russian Revolution:

 By the early 1900’s, the Russian tsar Nicholas II faced an angry nation.
 Russian peasants struggled to survive under the ruthless government who controlled all the

wealth; leaving the people in poverty and dying of starvation, disease, and overworked.

 By 1917, amid the suffering of WWI, a revolution began.

 In two major showdowns, the Tsar’s government was toppled then taken over by Vladimir


 This established the USSR: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The world’s first

communist state.

 Communism is a social system in which personal freedom, the right to an education,

independent business operation, and private ownership of property are not recognized.

 The intention behind communism is that everyone gets an equal share of the rewards of

labor which is all controlled by the government.

 When Lenin died in 1924, Leon Trotsky, popular revolutionary and intellectual and Joseph

Stalin, head of the Communist Party, battled for power.

 Trotsky was exiled and later murdered.

 The government controlled the flow of information to maintain power.

 During Stalin’s reign, illegal arrests and rigged trials led to the execution of millions of


Animal Farm: Orwell’s Motivation

 As a socialist, Orwell advocated equality among the working class.

 Some of the sharing ideas of socialism are theoretically beneficial, but he was disgusted by

Stalin’s regime. A regime that manipulated the socialist ideas Orwell supported.

 He wrote Animal Farm as an attack on Stalinism and to show that Stalin’s communist state

should be condemned by world leaders.

Animal Farm: A Fair Story

 Traditionally, a fable is set in an unspecified place and time.

 By using animal figures instead of the real life figures from the Russian Revolution,

Orwell’s cautionary message becomes clearer for the reader to understand.

 While Animal Farm is an allegory for the Russian Revolution, the story is still relevant to

the latest grabs for power from people in oppressive regimes around the world.


 Tsar: “one having great power or authority” and “the ruler of Russia until the 1917


"Tsar." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Ruthless: “having no pity”

"Ruthless." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Amid: “in or into the middle of : surrounded by”

"Amid." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Showdown: “a meeting, argument, fight, etc., that will finally settle a disagreement between

people or groups”

"Showdown." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Topple: “to remove (a government or a leader) from power”

"Topple." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Revolutionary: “relating to, involving, or supporting a political revolution”

"Revolutionary." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Advocate: “a person who argues for or supports a cause or policy”

"Advocate." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Theoretically: “relating to the general principles or ideas of a subject rather than the

practical uses of those ideas”

"Theoretically." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Regime: “a form of government”

"Regime." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Condemn: “to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong”

"Condemn." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Fable: “a short story that usually is about animals and that is intended to teach a lesson”

"Fable." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Cautionary: “to advise caution to : warn”

"Caution." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

 Relevant: “relating to a subject in an appropriate way”

"Relevant." Merriam-Webster. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.