Animal Farm as an Allegorical Satire (Rewrite) Justin Mariner
The Russian Revolution was a very difficult time, especially for writer George Orwell,
who wrote his famous novel Animal Farm while in the middle of the revolution. Orwell used
allegory the use of hidden meanings to symbolize greater ideas, and satire the use of humor
and ridicule to point out the shortcomings of a way of thinking, to bring to light the horrors of
the revolution. This allegorical satire uses three satirical devices parody, exaggeration, and
incongruity to satirize the Russian Revolution. Animal Farm takes place on a farm where the
animals have decided to overthrow and kick out their corrupt farmer and live their lives
normally without him. Just like when a political leader is overthrown, there always will be
somebody else that will take over; in the case of Animal Farm, the geniuses of the farm the
pigs step up and become even worse leaders than the farmer.
The most prominent satirical device in Animal Farm is parody, which is when already-
known ideas such as the Russian Revolution are imitated and ridiculed through similar
characters and events. Orwell pokes fun at the communist leaders Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, and
Joseph Stalin by depicting them as the pigs Old Major, Snowball, and Napoleon, respectively, on
the farm. He continues this trend by creating another pig Squealer and turning him into a
propaganda machine who blindly follows the orders of his leader Napoleon. This is mocking
Joseph Stalin’s propaganda department, showing how they will blindly follow their leader,
spread any lies necessary to maintain control, and prove that Stalin was correct. The unjust pig
leaders on Animal Farm even made the other animals build them a giant windmill to keep them
busy, parodying Stalin’s 5-year plans which existed to convince the population that the state of
the union was being improved. These parodies existing in Animal Farm are necessary in making
it a satire and an allegory of the Russian Revolution.
Animal Farm as an Allegorical Satire (Rewrite) Justin Mariner
4B 2/8/16
The most common satirical device used by Orwell is exaggeration, which is when
something is depicted excessively better or worse than it actually is. A prime example of this is
when “nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They
dashed straight for Snowball” (48), which depicts the dogs, parodies of Stalin’s private police
force the KGB, as being much more threatening than in reality. This scene mocks how Leon
Trotsky, depicted here as Snowball, was chased out of Russia during the revolution. Orwell also
greatly exaggerated the difference between the living condition of the pigs, shown in a picture
on page 82, and that of the rest of the animals. This clearly refers to how incredibly well Stalin
and his men lived when compared to everyone else in Russia. Another point of exaggeration is
the ignorance and stupidity of all the farm animals outside of the leadership. This is shown
when Squealer changed one of the farm’s Seven Commandments and most of the farm animals
assumed it had always been that way and followed the new rules (96). The stupidity of the farm
animals directly correlates to that of the general population in Russia, where orders were
followed without question. These exaggerated points in the novel support how it is an
allegorical satire of the Russian Revolution.
The less obvious satirical device present in Animal Farm is incongruity, which is the state
of being out of place. Firstly, the farmer and all of his men armed with whips and firearms
were chased off their farm by a horde of their animals. This is clearly out of the ordinary, but it
shows how a group can easily overthrow a corrupt but weak leader, like how Czar Nicholas II
was ran out of his own country. Additionally, Napoleon “was a pig walking on his hind legs”
(116) and “carried a whip in his trotter” (117). Obviously, pigs do not walk like humans and
aren’t able to carry anything in reality, making this extremely incongruous. Lastly, it is very out
Animal Farm as an Allegorical Satire (Rewrite) Justin Mariner
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of place that Boxer, a very old horse on the farm, was suddenly sent to his death by Napoleon
(108), showing how harshly Stalin treated anyone who was no use to him. Regardless,
incongruity was very important in making this novel better relate to the Russian Revolution by
making animals act more like humans.
In Animal Farm, George Orwell very accurately portrays his view of the Russian
Revolution in a way that anybody could understand. He created this portrayal through allegory
and satire as well as satirical devices such as parody, exaggeration, and incongruity. Orwell used
this novel to express his views of communism and politics at the time despite being in the
middle of revolution, where he wouldn’t have been able to speak out against the leadership