Russian history masked by fairy tale

Megan Rozsa

Rarely has the Russian Revolution not been mentioned in a world history course. Shortly after introducing the topic, the professors usually ask, “Have any of you read ‘Animal Farm’?”

Having been asked that question multiple times in my life, it was time to submerge myself in George Orwell’s 1945 novel, “Animal Farm.”

The book’s plotline is deeply rooted in the conflicts of the Russian Revolution with one twist: All the characters are talking animals.

The book starts by introducing Old Major (a boar), who has an idea to overthrow the humans who run the farm. He tells the animals his philosophies of freedom and encourages them to spread the gospel to neighboring farms as well.

Orwell uses satire throughout the novel to hint at Joseph Stalin’s totalitarianism by making the main characters pigs.

The newly freed farm starts as a democracy and transforms into a dictatorship run by a pig named Napoleon. He oppresses animals that aren’t pigs and anyone who speaks out against him is executed.

As the novel progresses, Napoleon gains more power and continues to make the farm more and more unjust. However, the other animals are afraid to revolt for fear of execution.

It’s ridiculous to think a bunch of animals could run humans out of their homes, but they succeed. It puts a humorous slant on a not-so pretty past and on what happens when people (or animals) retain too much power.

Contact all correspondent Megan Rozsa at [email protected].