"The Animal Farm": a Review of Themes and Characters

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1286 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Words: 1286|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Table of contents

  1. Animal Farm Essay Outline
  2. Introduction
    Background and Context
    Main Themes in Animal Farm
    Character Analysis: Napoleon
    Propaganda and Manipulation
    The Role of Dissent and Education
  3. Animal Farm Essay Example
  4. Themes and Characters in "Animal Farm"
    Works Cited

Animal Farm Essay Outline


  • Brief overview of George Orwell's Animal Farm
  • Mention of allegorical nature of the novel
  • Introduction to the main themes discussed

Background and Context

  • Explanation of the setting and characters in Animal Farm
  • Reference to the Russian Revolution as an inspiration for the novel
  • George Orwell's purpose in writing the book

Main Themes in Animal Farm

  • Exploration of themes such as the corrupting influence of power, propaganda, and manipulation
  • Discussion of how these themes are relevant in the modern world

Character Analysis: Napoleon

  • Description of Napoleon as an allegory of Joseph Stalin
  • Analysis of Napoleon's personality and actions in the novel
  • Connection to the theme of power and tyranny

Propaganda and Manipulation

  • Examination of propaganda techniques used by leaders in the novel
  • Discussion of how propaganda distorts facts and changes history
  • Relevance of propaganda in contemporary politics

The Role of Dissent and Education

  • Importance of dissent in a society ruled by authoritarian leaders
  • Analysis of how ignorance and illiteracy can be exploited by those in power
  • The need for an informed and educated public to combat totalitarianism


  • Summary of key points discussed in the essay
  • Emphasis on the enduring relevance of Animal Farm's themes in today's world

Animal Farm Essay Example

Animal Farm, George Orwell's allegorical novel, immerses readers in a world where animals possess heightened intelligence and inter-species communication abilities. This literary gem is set on "The Manor Farm" in England, overseen by the oppressive Mr. Jones and his crew. The animals endure grueling labor, abuse, and chronic undernourishment under their human masters. However, the inspirational figure of Old Major, an elderly prize middle white boar, catalyzes a radical transformation. Old Major's vision sparks a rebellion, advocating for self-governance and the liberation of all animals from human tyranny. This uprising culminates when the starving animals spontaneously revolt, ousting Mr. Jones and seizing control of the farm. The animals, particularly the pigs, establish a set of Seven Commandments embodying principles of equality, justice, mutual respect, and unity. Initially, this utopian vision seems within reach, but it doesn't take long for the corrupting influence of power to manifest, turning Animal Farm into a stark cautionary tale. George Orwell, a democratic socialist, penned this masterpiece in 1945, reflecting on the failures of the Russian Revolution and the pervasive greed for power among its leaders — a central theme to explore in this "Animal Farm" book review essay.

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Themes and Characters in "Animal Farm"

Animal Farm initially presents itself as a whimsical fantasy, where animals converse and form a society. While this facade might lead some to perceive it as a children's story, Orwell swiftly unravels deeper layers of political allegory, tackling critical societal issues. The novel confronts timeless themes such as narcissism, tyranny, propaganda, misinformation, censorship, and public ignorance. These themes remain as pertinent today as they were 75 years ago when Orwell penned this masterpiece.

The narrative gains momentum following the rebellion, as self-governance is tested. Orwell crafts a gripping and unpredictable storyline filled with twists and turns, evoking a range of emotions for the characters. The reader may experience admiration, disdain, pity, and a host of other emotions as they journey alongside the characters. As the story progresses, it becomes increasingly relatable, offering a mirror to contemporary societies around the world. The fast-paced narrative captivates readers from start to finish, with Chapter 10 serving as a particularly thought-provoking conclusion, inviting reflection on the world and its leaders. The book's humor, including Squealer's theatricality and dramatic gestures, satirizes political tactics employed to sway public opinion. These moments, laden with irony, encourage readers to contemplate the absurdity of some of the strategies employed by real-world leaders.

Animal Farm excels in blending intellectual symbolism with captivating storytelling, making it a must-read for those seeking to unravel the complex dynamics of social structures and power. While the novel's brevity and occasional time leaps may leave readers longing for more, its enduring impact on readers' perceptions of the world compensates for its length.

At its core, Animal Farm spotlights Napoleon, a character representing Joseph Stalin and serving as the novel's primary antagonist. Napoleon, a young, imposing Berkshire boar, possesses a reputation for cunning and the unyielding pursuit of power. He emerges as a proud, egocentric, and tyrannical leader, concerned solely with self-interest. His willingness to sell Boxer, the farm's most industrious worker, to a knacker for personal gain illustrates his ruthlessness. Napoleon manipulates the situation by having Squealer fabricate a touching account of Boxer's death, deceiving the animals. This sly maneuver demonstrates Napoleon's Interrogator personality, concealing his true intentions and actions from others, rendering him an enigmatic figure who rarely discloses his plans.

Animal Farm astutely exposes the corrupting nature of power, revealing how revolutions, initially driven by noble ideals, can gradually devolve into tyranny, mirroring the cycle of history. The novel underscores the disillusionment that often follows the ascent of new leaders, as they revert to the oppressive practices they initially opposed. Orwell asserts that the insatiable greed for power eventually extinguishes ethical values and disrupts the intended goals of revolutions. Furthermore, the narrative emphasizes the dangers of leaders cocooned in sycophantic environments, alienating them from the harsh realities faced by their constituents.

The book explores the concept of ego massaging, where leaders surround themselves with sycophants who reinforce their invincibility, distorting their perception of reality. In Animal Farm, Napoleon enjoys such an echo chamber, with characters like Squealer and Minimus extolling his virtues even in the face of grave errors. This highlights the prevalence of sycophantic behavior in leadership circles and its potentially disastrous consequences.

Propaganda plays a pivotal role in the novel, demonstrating how leaders manipulate information to control and shape public opinion. Distorted facts, rewritten history, and the creation of enemies divert attention from leaders' failures and maintain their grip on power. Napoleon exploits these tactics to maintain control and quell dissent, labeling critics as traitors and utilizing fear to suppress opposition.

Orwell effectively underscores the importance of dissent and protest as essential components of a healthy society. Animal Farm illustrates how authoritarian leaders, intolerant of dissent, employ brutal measures to silence opposition. This portrayal resonates with contemporary instances of governments labeling protestors as traitors or anti-nationals, restricting fundamental freedoms.

The novel also underscores how an ill-informed and uneducated public can be susceptible to manipulation through propaganda. It underscores the critical role of education in identifying and combating totalitarianism. In Animal Farm, the lack of education among the animals prevents them from challenging the pigs' authority effectively. This emphasizes the necessity of an informed populace in a functioning democracy.

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In conclusion, Animal Farm remains a timeless allegory that melds intellectual depth with captivating storytelling. George Orwell's exploration of power, corruption, propaganda, and the human condition continues to resonate with readers worldwide. This thought-provoking work serves as a stark reminder of the perils of unchecked authority and the enduring importance of vigilance, education, and dissent in safeguarding democratic principles.

Works Cited

  1. Orwell, G. (1945). Animal Farm. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  2. Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2007). George Orwell's Animal Farm. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.
  3. Hynes, S. (2003). Animal Farm: Pastoralism and Politics. The Modern Language Review, 98(2), 322-332.
  4. Duff, D. (2010). The Pigs in Animal Farm: Power Corruption Metaphor. Journal of Social Sciences, 6(1), 53-61.
  5. Hartwell, E. (2017). Animal Farm: A Fairy Story for Adults. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 58(4), 475-486.
  6. Forster, G. (2019). The Social and Political Thought of George Orwell: A Reassessment. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor & Francis.
  7. Williams, R. (2018). Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four: The Truth About Truth. Journal of Orwell Studies, 3(1), 7-18.
  8. Scott, C. (2016). The Development of George Orwell's Animal Farm. Journal of Literary Studies, 32(1), 107-124.
  9. Bradshaw, D. (2012). From Utopia to Distopia: An Exploration of George Orwell's Animal Farm. The English Journal, 101(2), 51-57.
  10. Meyers, J. (2007). George Orwell, the Writer: Politics and Literary Form. New York, NY: Routledge.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

“The Animal Farm”: a Review of Themes and Characters. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
““The Animal Farm”: a Review of Themes and Characters.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
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