Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell, first
published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book
reflects events leading up to the
Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917 and then
on into the
Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Orwell, a democratic
socialist, was a critic of
Joseph Stalin and hostile to
Moscow-directed Stalinism, an attitude that was critically shaped by
his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. The Soviet Union, he
believed, had become a brutal dictatorship, built upon a cult of
personality and enforced by a reign of terror. In a letter to Yvonne
Davet, Orwell described
Animal Farm as a satirical tale against Stalin
("un conte satirique contre Staline"), and in his essay "Why I
Write" (1946), wrote that
Animal Farm was the first book in which he
tried, with full consciousness of what he was doing, "to fuse
political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole".
The original title was Animal Farm: A Fairy Story; U.S. publishers
dropped the subtitle when it was published in 1946, and only one of
the translations during Orwell's lifetime kept it. Other titular
variations include subtitles like "A Satire" and "A Contemporary
Satire". Orwell suggested the title Union des républiques
socialistes animales for the French translation, which abbreviates to
Latin word for "bear", a symbol of Russia. It also played on
the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques
Orwell wrote the book between November 1943 and February 1944, when
the UK was in its wartime alliance with the
Soviet Union and the
British people and intelligentsia held Stalin in high esteem, a
phenomenon Orwell hated. The manuscript was initially rejected by a
number of British and American publishers, including one of
Orwell's own, Victor Gollancz, which delayed its publication. It
became a great commercial success when it did appear partly because
international relations were transformed as the wartime alliance gave
way to the Cold War.
Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language
novels (1923 to 2005); it also featured at number 31 on the Modern
Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. It won a Retrospective Hugo
Award in 1996, and is included in the Great Books of the Western World
1 Plot summary
2.3 Horses and donkeys
2.4 Other animals
3 Composition and publication
3.2 Efforts to find a publisher
4 Critical response
5.2 Significance and allegory
6.2 Radio dramatizations
6.3 Stage productions
6.4 Comic strip
7 Popular culture
7.3 Video game
9 See also
12 External links
Old Major, the old boar on the Manor Farm, summons the animals on the
farm together for a meeting, during which he refers to humans as
"enemies" and teaches the animals a revolutionary song called "Beasts
When Major dies, two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, assume command
and consider it a duty to prepare for the Rebellion. The animals
revolt, driving the drunken, irresponsible farmer Mr Jones, as well as
Mrs Jones and the other human caretakers and employees, off the farm,
renaming it "Animal Farm". They adopt the Seven Commandments of
Animalism, the most important of which is, "All animals are equal".
Snowball teaches the animals to read and write, while Napoleon
educates young puppies on the principles of Animalism. Food is
plentiful, and the farm runs smoothly. The pigs elevate themselves to
positions of leadership and set aside special food items, ostensibly
for their personal health.
Some time later, several men attack Animal Farm. Jones and his men are
making an attempt to recapture the farm, aided by several other
farmers who are terrified of similar animal revolts. Snowball and the
animals, who are hiding in ambush, defeat the men by launching a
surprise attack as soon as they enter the farmyard. Snowball's
popularity soars, and this event is proclaimed "The Battle of the
Cowshed". It is celebrated annually with the firing of a gun, on the
anniversary of the Revolution. Napoleon and Snowball vie for
pre-eminence. When Snowball announces his plans to modernize the farm
by building a windmill, Napoleon has his dogs chase Snowball away and
declares himself leader.
Napoleon enacts changes to the governance structure of the farm,
replacing meetings with a committee of pigs who will run the farm.
Through a young pig named Squealer, Napoleon claims credit for the
windmill idea. The animals work harder with the promise of easier
lives with the windmill. When the animals find the windmill collapsed
after a violent storm, Napoleon and Squealer convince the animals that
Snowball is trying to sabotage their project.
Once Snowball becomes a scapegoat, Napoleon begins to purge the farm
with his dogs, killing animals he accuses of consorting with his old
rival. When some animals recall the Battle of the Cowshed, Napoleon
(who was nowhere to be found during the battle) frequently smears
Snowball as a collaborator of Farmer Jones, while falsely representing
himself as the hero of the battle. "Beasts of England" is replaced
with an anthem glorifying Napoleon, who appears to be adopting the
lifestyle of a man. The animals remain convinced that they are better
off than they were under Mr Jones.
Mr Frederick, a neighbouring farmer, attacks the farm, using blasting
powder to blow up the restored windmill. Although the animals win the
battle, they do so at great cost, as many, including Boxer, the
workhorse, are wounded. Despite his injuries, Boxer continues working
harder and harder, until he collapses while working on the windmill.
Napoleon sends for a van to purportedly take Boxer to a veterinary
surgeon, explaining that better care can be given there. Benjamin, the
cynical donkey who "could read as well as any pig", notices that
the van belongs to a knacker and attempts a futile rescue. Squealer
quickly assures the animals that the van had been purchased from the
knacker by an animal hospital, and the previous owner's signboard had
not been repainted.
In a subsequent report, Squealer reports sadly to the animals that
Boxer died peacefully at the animal hospital; the pigs hold a festival
one day after Boxer's death to further praise the glories of Animal
Farm and have the animals work harder by taking on Boxer's ways.
However, the truth was that Napoleon had engineered the sale of Boxer
to the knacker, allowing him and his inner circle to acquire money to
buy whisky for themselves. (In 1940s England, one way for farms to
make money was to sell large animals to a knacker, who would kill the
animal and boil its remains into animal glue.)
Years pass, and the windmill is rebuilt along with construction of
another windmill, which makes the farm a good amount of income.
However, the ideals which Snowball discussed, including stalls with
electric lighting, heating and running water are forgotten, with
Napoleon advocating that the happiest animals live simple lives. In
addition to Boxer, many of the animals who participated in the
Revolution are dead, as is Farmer Jones, who died in another part of
England. The pigs start to resemble humans, as they walk upright,
carry whips, and wear clothes. The Seven Commandments are abridged to
a single phrase: "All animals are equal but some animals are more
equal than others."
Napoleon holds a dinner party for the pigs and local farmers, with
whom he celebrates a new alliance. He abolishes the practice of the
revolutionary traditions and restores the name "The Manor Farm". As
the animals look from pigs to humans, they realise they can no longer
distinguish between the two.
Old Major – An aged prize
Middle White boar provides the inspiration
that fuels the rebellion. He is an allegorical combination of Karl
Marx, one of the creators of communism, and Vladimir Lenin, the
communist leader of the
Russian Revolution and the early Soviet
nation, in that he draws up the principles of the revolution. His
skull being put on revered public display recalls Lenin, whose
embalmed body was put on display.
Napoleon – "A large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only
Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with a reputation for
getting his own way". An allegory of Joseph Stalin, Napoleon
is the main villain of Animal Farm. In the first French version of
Animal Farm, Napoleon is called César, the French form of Caesar,
although another translation has him as Napoléon.
Snowball – Napoleon's rival and original head of the farm after
Jones' overthrow. He is mainly based on Leon Trotsky, but also
combines elements from Lenin.
Squealer – A small, white, fat porker who serves as Napoleon's
second-in-command and minister of propaganda, holding a position
similar to that of Vyacheslav Molotov.
Minimus – A poetic pig who writes the second and third national
Animal Farm after the singing of "Beasts of England" is
The piglets – Hinted to be the children of Napoleon and are the
first generation of animals subjugated to his idea of animal
The young pigs – Four pigs who complain about Napoleon's takeover of
the farm but are quickly silenced and later executed, the first
animals killed in Napoleon's farm purge. Based on the Great
Grigori Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Nikolai Bukharin, and Alexei Rykov.
Pinkeye – A minor pig who is mentioned only once; he is the pig that
tastes Napoleon's food to make sure it is not poisoned, in response to
rumours about an assassination attempt on Napoleon.
Mr Jones – A heavy drinker who is the original owner of Manor Farm,
a farm in disrepair with farmhands who often loaf on the job. He is an
allegory of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, who abdicated following the
February Revolution of 1917 and was murdered, along with the rest of
his family, by the
Bolsheviks on 17 July 1918. The animals revolt
after Jones drinks so much he does not care for the animals.
Mr Frederick – The tough owner of Pinchfield, a small but well-kept
neighbouring farm, who briefly enters into an alliance with
Animal Farm shares land boundaries with
Pinchfield on one side and Foxwood on another, making
Animal Farm a
"buffer zone" between the two bickering farmers. The animals of Animal
Farm are terrified of Frederick, as rumours abound of him abusing his
animals and entertaining himself with cockfighting (a likely allegory
for the human rights abuses of Adolf Hitler). Napoleon enters into an
alliance with Frederick in order to sell surplus timber that
Pilkington also sought, but is enraged to learn Frederick paid him in
counterfeit money. Shortly after the swindling, Frederick and his men
invade Animal Farm, killing many animals and detonating the windmill.
The brief alliance and subsequent invasion may allude to the
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and Operation Barbarossa.
Mr Pilkington – The easy-going but crafty and well-to-do owner of
Foxwood, a large neighbouring farm overgrown with weeds. Unlike
Frederick, Pilkington is wealthier and owns more land, but his farm is
in need of care as opposed to Frederick's smaller but more
efficiently-run farm. Although on bad terms with Frederick, Pilkington
is also concerned about the animal revolution that deposed Jones, and
worried that this could also happen to him.
Mr Whymper – A man hired by Napoleon to act as the liaison between
Animal Farm and human society. At first he is used to acquire
necessities that cannot be produced on the farm, such as dog biscuits
and paraffin wax, but later he procures luxuries like alcohol for the
Horses and donkeys
Boxer – A loyal, kind, dedicated, extremely strong, hard working,
and respectable cart-horse, although quite naive and gullible. Boxer
does a large share of the physical labour on the farm. He is shown to
hold the belief that 'Napoleon is always right'. At one point, he had
challenged Squealer's statement that Snowball was always against the
welfare of the farm, earning him an attack from Napoleon's dogs. But
Boxer's immense strength repels the attack, worrying the pigs that
their authority can be challenged. Boxer has been compared to the
Stakhanovite movement. He has been described as "faithful and
strong"; he believes any problem can be solved if he works
harder. When Boxer is injured, Napoleon sells him to a local
knacker to buy himself whisky, and Squealer gives a moving account
falsifying Boxer's death.
Mollie – A self-centred, self-indulgent and vain young white mare
who quickly leaves for another farm after the revolution. She is only
once mentioned again, in a manner similar to those who left Russia
after the fall of the Tsar.
Clover – A gentle, caring female horse, who shows concern especially
for Boxer, who often pushes himself too hard. Clover can read all the
letters of the alphabet, but cannot "put words together". She seems to
catch on to the sly tricks and schemes set up by Napoleon and
Benjamin – A donkey, one of the oldest, wisest animals on the farm,
and one of the few who can read properly. He is sceptical,
temperamental and cynical: his most frequent remark is, "Life will go
on as it has always gone on—that is, badly." The academic Morris
Dickstein has suggested there is "a touch of Orwell himself in this
creature's timeless skepticism" and indeed, friends called Orwell
"Donkey George", "after his grumbling donkey Benjamin, in Animal
Muriel – A wise old goat who is friends with all of the animals on
the farm. She, like Benjamin and Snowball, is one of the few animals
on the farm who can read.
The puppies – Offspring of Jessie and Bluebell, they were taken away
at birth by Napoleon and reared by him to be his security force.
Moses – The raven, "Mr Jones's especial pet, was a spy and a
tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker." Initially following Mrs
Jones into exile, he reappears several years later and resumes his
role of talking but not working. He regales Animal Farm's denizens
with tales of a wondrous place beyond the clouds called "Sugarcandy
Mountain, that happy country where we poor animals shall rest forever
from our labours!" Orwell portrays established religion as "the black
raven of priestcraft—promising pie in the sky when you die, and
faithfully serving whoever happens to be in power." Napoleon brings
the raven back (Ch. IX), as Stalin brought back the Russian Orthodox
The sheep – They show limited understanding of Animalism and the
political atmosphere of the farm; yet nonetheless they blindly support
Napoleon's ideals with vocal jingles during his speeches and meetings
with Snowball. Some commentators have compared the sheep to
representations of state controlled press. Their constant bleating of
"four legs good, two legs bad" was used as a device to drown out any
opposition; analogous to simplistic headlines used in printed media of
the age. Towards the latter section of the book, Squealer (the
propagandist) trains the sheep to alter their slogan to "four legs
good, two legs better", which they dutifully do, symbolizing the state
manipulation of media.
The hens – The hens are promised at the start of the revolution that
they will get to keep their eggs, which are stolen from them under Mr
Jones. However their eggs are soon taken from them under the premise
of buying goods from outside Animal Farm. The hens are among the first
to rebel, albeit unsuccessfully, against Napoleon.
The cows – The cows are enticed into the revolution by promises that
their milk will not be stolen, but can be used to raise their own
calves. Their milk is then stolen by the pigs, who learn to milk them.
The milk is stirred into the pigs' mash every day, while the other
animals are denied such luxuries.
The cat – Never seen to carry out any work, the cat is absent for
long periods and is forgiven; because her excuses are so convincing
and she "purred so affectionately that it was impossible not to
believe in her good intentions." She has no interest in the
politics of the farm, and the only time she is recorded as having
participated in an election, she is found to have actually "voted on
Composition and publication
George Orwell wrote the manuscript in 1943 and 1944 subsequent to his
experiences during the Spanish Civil War, which he described in Homage
to Catalonia (1938). In the preface of a 1947 Ukrainian edition of
Animal Farm, he explained how escaping the communist purges in Spain
taught him "how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion
of enlightened people in democratic countries". This motivated Orwell
to expose and strongly condemn what he saw as the
of the original socialist ideals.
Immediately prior to writing the book, Orwell had quit the BBC. He was
also upset about a booklet for propagandists the Ministry of
Information had put out. The booklet included instructions on how to
quell ideological fears of the Soviet Union, such as directions to
claim that the Red Terror was a figment of Nazi imagination.
In the preface, Orwell also described the source of the idea of
setting the book on a farm:
...I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse
along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck
me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should
have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same
way as the rich exploit the proletariat.
Efforts to find a publisher
Orwell initially encountered difficulty getting the manuscript
published, largely due to fears that the book might upset the alliance
between Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Four
publishers refused; one had initially accepted the work but declined
it after consulting the Ministry of Information. Eventually,
Secker and Warburg published the first edition in 1945.
During the Second World War, it became clear to Orwell that
anti-Soviet literature was not something which most major publishing
houses would touch—including his regular publisher Gollancz. He also
submitted the manuscript to Faber and Faber, where the poet T. S.
Eliot (who was a director of the firm) rejected it; Eliot wrote back
to Orwell praising the book's "good writing" and "fundamental
integrity", but declared that they would only accept it for
publication if they had some sympathy for the viewpoint "which I take
to be generally Trotskyite". Eliot said he found the view "not
convincing", and contended that the pigs were made out to be the best
to run the farm; he posited that someone might argue "what was
needed... was not more communism but more public-spirited
pigs". Orwell let André Deutsch, who was working for
Nicholson & Watson in 1944, read the typescript, and Deutsch was
convinced that Nicholson & Watson would want to publish it;
however, they did not, and "lectured Orwell on what they perceived to
be errors in Animal Farm." In his London Letter on 17 April 1944
for Partisan Review, Orwell wrote that it was "now next door to
impossible to get anything overtly anti-Russian printed. Anti-Russian
books do appear, but mostly from Catholic publishing firms and always
from a religious or frankly reactionary angle."
The publisher Jonathan Cape, who had initially accepted Animal Farm,
subsequently rejected the book after an official at the British
Ministry of Information warned him off—although the civil
servant who it is assumed gave the order was later found to be a
Soviet spy. Writing to Leonard Moore, a partner in the literary
agency of Christy & Moore, publisher
Jonathan Cape explained that
the decision had been taken on the advice of a senior official in the
Ministry of Information. Such flagrant anti-Soviet bias was
unacceptable, and the choice of pigs as the dominant class was thought
to be especially offensive. It may reasonably be assumed that the
'important official' was a man named Peter Smollett, who was later
unmasked as a Soviet agent. Orwell was suspicious of
Smollett/Smolka, and he would be one of the names Orwell included in
his list of Crypto-Communists and Fellow-Travellers sent to the
Information Research Department in 1949. Born Hans Peter Smolka in
Vienna in 1912, he came to Britain in 1933 as an
NKVD agent with the
codename 'Abo', became a naturalised British subject in 1938,
changed his name, and after the outbreak of
World War II
World War II joined the
Ministry of Information where he organised pro-Soviet propaganda,
Kim Philby in 1943–45. Smollett's family have
rejected the accusation that he was a spy. The publisher wrote to
If the fable were addressed generally to dictators and dictatorships
at large then publication would be all right, but the fable does
follow, as I see now, so completely the progress of the Russian
Soviets and their two dictators [Lenin and Stalin], that it can apply
only to Russia, to the exclusion of the other dictatorships.
Another thing: it would be less offensive if the predominant caste in
the fable were not pigs. I think the choice of pigs as the ruling
caste will no doubt give offence to many people, and particularly to
anyone who is a bit touchy, as undoubtedly the Russians are.
Frederic Warburg also faced pressures against publication, even from
people in his own office and from his wife Pamela, who felt that it
was not the moment for ingratitude towards Stalin and the heroic Red
Army, which had played a major part in defeating Hitler. A Russian
translation was printed in the paper Posev, and in giving permission
for a Russian translation of Animal Farm, Orwell refused in advance
all royalties. A translation in Ukrainian, which was produced in
Germany, was confiscated in large part by the American wartime
authorities and handed over to the Soviet repatriation commission.
In October 1945, Orwell wrote to
Frederic Warburg expressing interest
in pursuing the possibility that the political cartoonist David Low
might illustrate Animal Farm. Low had written a letter saying that he
had had "a good time with ANIMAL FARM—an excellent bit of
satire—it would illustrate perfectly." Nothing came of this, and a
trial issue produced by Secker & Warburg in 1956 illustrated by
John Driver was abandoned, but the
Folio Society published an edition
in 1984 illustrated by
Quentin Blake and an edition illustrated by the
Ralph Steadman was published by Secker & Warburg in
1995 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the first edition of
Orwell originally wrote a preface complaining about British
self-censorship and how the British people were suppressing criticism
of the USSR, their
World War II
World War II ally:
The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is
largely voluntary.... Things are kept right out of the British press,
not because the Government intervenes but because of a general tacit
agreement that 'it wouldn't do' to mention that particular fact.
Although the first edition allowed space for the preface, it was not
included, and as of June 2009 most editions of the book have not
Secker and Warburg published the first edition of
Animal Farm in 1945
without an introduction. However, the publisher had provided space for
a preface in the author's proof composited from the manuscript. For
reasons unknown, no preface was supplied, and the page numbers had to
be renumbered at the last minute.
In 1972, Ian Angus found the original typescript titled "The Freedom
of the Press", and
Bernard Crick published it, together with his own
The Times Literary Supplement on 15 September
1972 as "How the essay came to be written". Orwell's essay
criticised British self-censorship by the press, specifically the
suppression of unflattering descriptions of Stalin and the Soviet
government. The same essay also appeared in the Italian 1976
Animal Farm with another introduction by Crick, claiming to
be the first edition with the preface. Other publishers were still
declining to publish it.[clarification needed]
Contemporary reviews of the work were not universally positive.
Writing in the American New Republic magazine, George Soule expressed
his disappointment in the book, writing that it "puzzled and saddened
me. It seemed on the whole dull. The allegory turned out to be a
creaking machine for saying in a clumsy way things that have been said
better directly." Soule believed that the animals were not consistent
enough with their real world inspirations, and said, "It seems to me
that the failure of this book (commercially it is already assured of
tremendous success) arises from the fact that the satire deals not
with something the author has experienced, but rather with stereotyped
ideas about a country which he probably does not know very well".
The Guardian on 24 August 1945 called
Animal Farm "a delightfully
humorous and caustic satire on the rule of the many by the few".
Tosco Fyvel, writing in Tribune on the same day, called the book "a
gentle satire on a certain State and on the illusions of an age which
may already be behind us."
Julian Symons responded, on 7 September,
"Should we not expect, in Tribune at least, acknowledgement of the
fact that it is a satire not at all gentle upon a particular
State—Soviet Russia? It seems to me that a reviewer should have the
courage to identify Napoleon with Stalin, and Snowball with Trotsky,
and express an opinion favourable or unfavourable to the author, upon
a political ground. In a hundred years time perhaps,
Animal Farm may
be simply a fairy story, today it is a political satire with a good
deal of point."
Animal Farm has been subject to much comment in the decades since
these early remarks.
"Seven Commandments" redirects here. For the Noahide code, see Seven
Laws of Noah.
The pigs Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer adapt Old Major's ideas into
"a complete system of thought", which they formally name Animalism, an
allegoric reference to Communism. Soon after, Napoleon and Squealer
partake in activities associated with the humans (drinking alcohol,
sleeping in beds, trading), which were explicitly prohibited by the
Seven Commandments. Squealer is employed to alter the Seven
Commandments to account for this humanisation, an allusion to the
Soviet government's revising of history in order to exercise control
of the people's beliefs about themselves and their society.
Squealer sprawls at the foot of the end wall of the big barn where the
Seven Commandments were written (ch. viii) – preliminary artwork for
a 1950 strip cartoon by
Norman Pett and Donald Freeman
The original commandments are:
Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.
These commandments are also distilled into the maxim "Four legs good,
two legs bad!" which is primarily used by the sheep on the farm, often
to disrupt discussions and disagreements between animals on the nature
Later, Napoleon and his pigs secretly revise some commandments to
clear themselves of accusations of law-breaking. The changed
commandments are as follows, with the changes bolded:
No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.
Eventually, these are replaced with the maxims, "All animals are equal
but some animals are more equal than others", and "Four legs good, two
legs better!" as the pigs become more human. This is an ironic twist
to the original purpose of the Seven Commandments, which were supposed
to keep order within
Animal Farm by uniting the animals together
against the humans and preventing animals from following the humans'
evil habits. Through the revision of the commandments, Orwell
demonstrates how simply political dogma can be turned into malleable
Significance and allegory
The Horn and Hoof Flag described in the book appears to be based on
the hammer and sickle, the Communist symbol.
In the Eastern Bloc, both
Animal Farm and later Nineteen Eighty-Four
were on the list of forbidden books until the end of communist rule in
1989, and were only available via clandestine Samizdat
Orwell biographer Jeffrey Meyers has written, "virtually every detail
has political significance in this allegory." Orwell himself wrote in
1946, "Of course I intended it primarily as a satire on the Russian
revolution..[and] that kind of revolution (violent conspiratorial
revolution, led by unconsciously power hungry people) can only lead to
a change of masters [-] revolutions only effect a radical improvement
when the masses are alert." In a preface for a 1947 Ukrainian
edition, he stated, "... for the past ten years I have been
convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we
wanted a revival of the socialist movement. On my return from Spain
[in 1937] I thought of exposing the Soviet myth in a story that could
be easily understood by almost anyone and which could be easily
translated into other languages."
The revolt of the animals against Farmer Jones is Orwell's analogy
with the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The Battle of the Cowshed
has been said to represent the allied invasion of Soviet Russia in
1918, and the defeat of the White Russians in the Russian Civil
War. The pigs' rise to pre-eminence mirrors the rise of a
Stalinist bureaucracy in the USSR, just as Napoleon's emergence as the
farm's sole leader reflects Stalin's emergence. The pigs'
appropriation of milk and apples for their own use, "the turning point
of the story" as Orwell termed it in a letter to Dwight Macdonald,
stands as an analogy for the crushing of the left-wing 1921 Kronstadt
revolt against the Bolsheviks, and the difficult efforts of the
animals to build the windmill suggest the various Five Year Plans. The
puppies controlled by Napoleon parallel the nurture of the secret
police in the
Stalinist structure, and the pigs' treatment of the
other animals on the farm recalls the internal terror faced by the
populace in the 1930s. In chapter seven, when the animals confess
their nonexistent crimes and are killed, Orwell directly alludes to
the purges, confessions and show trials of the late 1930s. These
contributed to Orwell's conviction that the Bolshevik revolution had
been corrupted and the Soviet system become rotten.
Peter Edgerly Firchow and Peter Davison consider that the Battle of
Windmill represents the
Great Patriotic War
Great Patriotic War (World War II),
Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Moscow.
During the battle, Orwell first wrote, "All the animals, including
Napoleon" took cover. Orwell had the publisher alter this to "All the
animals except Napoleon" in recognition of Stalin's decision to remain
in Moscow during the German advance. Orwell requested the change
after he met Joseph Czapski in Paris in March 1945. Czapski, a
survivor of the
Katyn Massacre and an opponent of the Soviet regime,
told Orwell, as Orwell wrote to Arthur Koestler, that it had been "the
character [and] greatness of Stalin" that saved Russia from the German
Front row (left to right): Rykov, Skrypnyk, and Stalin – 'When
Snowball comes to the crucial points in his speeches he is drowned out
by the sheep (Ch. V), just as in the party Congress in 1927 [above],
at Stalin's instigation 'pleas for the opposition were drowned in the
continual, hysterically intolerant uproar from the floor'.
Other connections that writers have suggested illustrate Orwell's
telescoping of Russian history from 1917 to 1943 include the wave
of rebelliousness that ran through the countryside after the
Rebellion, which stands for the abortive revolutions in Hungary and in
Germany (Ch IV); the conflict between Napoleon and Snowball (Ch V),
paralleling "the two rival and quasi-Messianic beliefs that seemed
pitted against one another: Trotskyism, with its faith in the
revolutionary vocation of the proletariat of the West; and Stalinism
with its glorification of Russia's socialist destiny"; Napoleon's
dealings with Whymper and the Willingdon markets (Ch VI), paralleling
the Treaty of Rapallo; and Frederick's forged bank notes, paralleling
the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact of August 1939, after which
Animal Farm without warning and destroys the
The book's close, with the pigs and men in a kind of rapprochement,
reflected Orwell's view of the 1943 Teheran Conference that seemed
to display the establishment of "the best possible relations between
the USSR and the West"—but in reality were destined, as Orwell
presciently predicted, to continue to unravel. The disagreement
between the allies and the start of the
Cold War is suggested when
Napoleon and Pilkington, both suspicious, "played an ace of spades
Similarly, the music in the novel, starting with
Beasts of England and
the later anthems, parallels
The Internationale and its adoption and
repudiation by the Soviet authorities as the Anthem of the USSR in the
1920s and 1930s.
In addition to the book's political symbolism, some critics have
Animal Farm can also be read as a more straightforward
story about farm animals, reflecting Orwell's concern for the
treatment of animals. Critics supporting such readings,
beginning in the 1970s with Marxist scholar
Raymond Williams and later
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Helen Tiffin, cite Orwell's
description of his inspiration for setting the story on a farm, in
which he writes that, "from the animals’ point of view,"
"To them it is clear that the concept of a class struggle between
humans was pure illusion, since whenever it was necessary to exploit
animals, all humans united against them: the true struggle is between
animals and humans."
Animal Farm has been adapted to film twice. Both differ from the novel
and have been accused of taking significant liberties, including
sanitising some aspects.
Animal Farm (1954) is an animated feature in which Napoleon is
apparently overthrown in a second revolution. In 1974, E. Howard Hunt
revealed that he had been sent by the CIA's Psychological Warfare
department to obtain the film rights from Orwell's widow, and the
resulting 1954 animation was funded by the agency.
Animal Farm (1999) is a TV live action version that shows Napoleon's
regime collapsing in on itself, with the farm having new human owners,
reflecting the collapse of Soviet communism.
In 2012, a HFR-3D version of Animal Farm, potentially directed by Andy
Serkis was announced.
BBC radio version, produced by Rayner Heppenstall, was broadcast in
January 1947. Orwell listened to the production at his home in
Canonbury Square, London, with Hugh Gordon Porteous, amongst others.
Orwell later wrote to Heppenstall that Porteous, "who had not read the
book, grasped what was happening after a few minutes."
A further radio production, again using Orwell's own dramatisation of
the book, was broadcast in January 2013 on
BBC Radio 4. Tamsin Greig
narrated, and the cast included
Nicky Henson as Napoleon, Toby Jones
as the propagandist Squealer, and
Ralph Ineson as Boxer.
A theatrical version, with music by Richard Peaslee and lyrics by
Adrian Mitchell, was staged at the National Theatre London on 25 April
1984, directed by Peter Hall. It toured nine cities in 1985.
A solo version, adapted and performed by Guy Masterson, premièred at
Traverse Theatre Edinburgh in January 1995 and has toured
Norman Pett and his writing partner
Don Freeman were secretly
hired by the
British Foreign Office
British Foreign Office to adapt
Animal Farm into a comic
strip. This comic was not published in the U.K., but ran in Brazilian
and Burmese newspapers. 
(Alphabetical by artist)
The Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps' 2014 show was titled Animal
Farm, based on the novel.
Boxer the Horse
Boxer the Horse takes its name from a character in
Dead prez based a song on their album
Let's Get Free
Let's Get Free (2000), called
"Animal in Man", on the novella, putting emphasis on how the other
animals should not trust the pigs during a revolution.
The lyrics of the song ″Arthur's Farm″ from the Half Man Half
Back Again in the DHSS
Back Again in the DHSS (1987) tell the story of Douglas
Arthur Askey visiting Animal Farm. The song features the
line "Four legs good, but no legs best" in apparent tribute to the two
The song, "The Nature of the Beast", by the American metalcore band,
Ice Nine Kills, was inspired by Animal Farm.
Pink Floyd's album Animals (1977) was partially inspired by Animal
Farm. It categorises people as pigs, dogs, or sheep.
R.E.M.'s song "Disturbance at the Heron House" is based on Animal
Radiohead's song "Optimistic" contains a lyric mentioning Animal
The Clash used an image from the animated movie
Animal Farm (1954) on
their single "English Civil War".
(Alphabetical by program)
The Daleks' Master Plan
The Daleks' Master Plan (1966), an episode of the long-running
British science fiction show Doctor Who, a character references the
modified seventh commandment of Animal Farm, saying: "Though we are
all equal partners with the Daleks on this great conquest, some of us
are more equal than others."
In the tenth episode of the second season of Johnny Bravo, "Aunt
Katie's Farm" (1999), Johnny, while dressed in a pig costume, yells,
"Four feet good! Two feet bad!".
The Lost episode "Exposé" (2007), in season three, involves
flashbacks with Nikki and Paulo involving an argument with Kate about
the handgun case. During this scene, Dr. Leslie Arzt yells at Kate:
"The pigs are walking," a reference to
Animal Farm where Napoleon and
his generals begin to adapt human characteristics and change their
oath from "Four legs good, two legs bad" to "Four legs good, two legs
The seventh episode (1998) of the second season of the
HBO series Oz
is titled "Animal Farm" in reference to the conniving and manipulation
of the characters vying for control, similar to the characters of the
In the ninth episode of the fourth season of Sex and the City, "Sex
and the Country" (2001), Carrie goes with her new boyfriend Aidan to
his cottage, and informs her friends that it reminds her of Animal
Farm, and would not be surprised to hear an outburst of "four legs
good, two legs bad!"
In the third episode of the first season of the X-Men animated series,
"Enter Magneto" (1992), Beast is seen reading a copy of Animal Farm,
is mocked by the prison guards for "reading a picture book", and is
asked if he "sees any relatives in there" because they assume he is an
A video game adaptation of
Animal Farm was announced in August
2017. Fully authorised by the estate of George Orwell, Animal
Farm is created by an independent team formed specifically to deliver
Orwell’s vision in an interactive format.
LCCN 46006290 (hardcover, 1946, First American Edition)
ISBN 0-451-51679-6 (paperback, 1956, Signet Classic)
ISBN 0-582-02173-1 (paper text, 1989)
ISBN 0-15-107255-8 (hardcover, 1990)
ISBN 0-582-06010-9 (paper text, 1991)
ISBN 0-679-42039-8 (hardcover, 1993)
ISBN 0-606-00102-6 (prebound, 1996)
ISBN 0-15-100217-7 (hardcover, 1996, Anniversary Edition)
ISBN 0-452-27750-7 (paperback, 1996, Anniversary Edition)
ISBN 0-451-52634-1 (mass market paperback, 1996, Anniversary
ISBN 0-582-53008-3 (1996)
ISBN 1-56000-520-3 (cloth text, 1998, Large Type Edition)
ISBN 0-7910-4774-1 (hardcover, 1999)
ISBN 0-451-52536-1 (paperback, 1999)
ISBN 0-7641-0819-0 (paperback, 1999)
ISBN 0-8220-7009-X (e-book, 1999)
ISBN 0-7587-7843-0 (hardcover, 2002)
ISBN 0-15-101026-9 (hardcover, 2003, with Nineteen Eighty-Four)
ISBN 0-452-28424-4 (paperback, 2003, Centennial Edition)
ISBN 0-8488-0120-2 (hardcover)
ISBN 0-03-055434-9 (hardcover)
Animal Farm with Connections
ISBN 0-395-79677-6 (hardcover)
Animal Farm & Related
ISBN 0-582-43447-5 (hardcover, 2007)
ISBN 0-14-103349-5 (paperback, 2007)
ISBN 978-0-141-03613-7 (paperback, 2008)
ISBN 978-0-141-39305-6 (paperback, 2013, puffin books edition)
ISBN 978-8-193-36962-3 (paperback, 2017, Pirates Enhanced
On 17 July 2009,
Amazon.com withdrew certain
Amazon Kindle titles,
Animal Farm and
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, from
sale, refunded buyers, and remotely deleted items from purchasers'
devices after discovering that the publisher lacked rights to publish
the titles in question. Notes and annotations for the books made
by users on their devices were also deleted. After the move
prompted outcry and comparisons to
Nineteen Eighty-Four itself, Amazon
spokesman Drew Herdener stated that the company is "[c]hanging our
systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers'
devices in these circumstances."
History of Soviet Russia and the
Soviet Union (1917–1927)
History of the
Soviet Union (1927–1953)
Anthems in Animal Farm
Władysław Reymont, Polish
Nobel laureate who anticipated by two
Animal Farm with his book Revolt.
Gulliver's Travels, a favourite book of Orwell's—Swift reverses the
role of horses and human beings in the fourth book—Orwell brought
Animal Farm "a dose of Swiftian misanthropy, looking ahead to
a time 'when the human race had finally been overthrown.'"
Bunt (Revolt), published in 1924, is a book by Polish Nobel laureate
Władysław Reymont with a theme similar to Animal Farm's.
White Acre vs. Black Acre, published in 1856 and written by William M.
Burwell, is a satirical novel that features allegories for slavery in
the United States similar to Animal Farm's portrayal of Soviet
George Orwell's own Nineteen Eighty-Four, a classic dystopian novel
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Animal Farm at the British Library
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Inside the Whale and Other Essays (1940)
Critical Essays (1946)
Secker and Warburg
Victor Gollancz Ltd
Orwell's list (1949)
Eric & Us
Why Orwell Matters
Hugo Award for Best Novella
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Lost Dorsai by
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Gordon R. Dickson (1981)
The Saturn Game
The Saturn Game by
Poul Anderson (1982)
Joanna Russ (1983)
Cascade Point by
Timothy Zahn (1984)
Press Enter by John Varley (1985)
24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai
24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai by
Roger Zelazny (1986)
Gilgamesh in the Outback
Gilgamesh in the Outback by
Robert Silverberg (1987)
Eye for Eye
Eye for Eye by
Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card (1988)
The Last of the Winnebagos by
Connie Willis (1989)
The Mountains of Mourning by
Lois McMaster Bujold
Lois McMaster Bujold (1990)
The Hemingway Hoax by
Joe Haldeman (1991)
Beggars in Spain
Beggars in Spain by
Nancy Kress (1992)
Barnacle Bill the Spacer by
Lucius Shepard (1993)
Down in the Bottomlands
Down in the Bottomlands by
Harry Turtledove (1994)
Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge
Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge by
Mike Resnick (1995)
The Death of Captain Future by
Allen Steele (1996)
Blood of the Dragon by
George R. R. Martin
George R. R. Martin (1997)
...Where Angels Fear to Tread by
Allen Steele (1998)
Greg Egan (1999)
The Winds of Marble Arch by
Connie Willis (2000)
The Ultimate Earth by
Jack Williamson (2001)
Fast Times at Fairmont High by
Vernor Vinge (2002)
Neil Gaiman (2003)
The Cookie Monster by
Vernor Vinge (2004)
The Concrete Jungle by
Charles Stross (2005)
Inside Job by
Connie Willis (2006)
A Billion Eves by Robert Reed (2007)
All Seated on the Ground
All Seated on the Ground by
Connie Willis (2008)
The Erdmann Nexus by
Nancy Kress (2009)
Charles Stross (2010)
The Lifecycle of Software Objects
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by
Ted Chiang (2011)
The Man Who Bridged the Mist by
Kij Johnson (2012)
The Emperor's Soul
The Emperor's Soul by
Brandon Sanderson (2013)
Charles Stross (2014)
(No award given) (2015)
Nnedi Okorafor (2016)
Every Heart a Doorway by
Seanan McGuire (2017)
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