English Literature



Animal Farm


Describe and explain the symbolism used in ‘Animal Farm’ and the political meaning behind it.

3 years ago


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Emerson Feeney

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A symbol is something representing a larger idea or philosophy of ideas. In Animal Farm, the central philosophy represented is Communism through Animalism. As the animals become aware of the oppression and abuse that they suffer under the farmers (representing Capitalism) they revolt and build a new farm on the foundations of their belief that “All animals are equal” (this belief later becomes corrupted). 

The different animals can be analysed further as many represent specific historical figures or groups of people. For instance, Boxer represents the labour force who should benefit from equality and workers’ rights but is actually exploited by both the farmers and the pigs, Old Major represents philosopher Marx who argued all humans are equal, Napoleon represents the political tyranny of Stalin who corrupted Marx’s view of philosophy and created a harmful Communist system (think of Animal Farm after the pigs start believing “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”). 

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