Animal Farm, Essential Revision Notes

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Table of Contents

Animal Farm by George Orwell 4

Context 4

Historical Context 5

Summary 6

Characters 8

Napoleon 8

Snowball 8

Boxer 8

Squealer 8

Old Major 8

Clover 8

Moses 9

Mollie 9

Benjamin 9

Muriel 9

Mr. Jones 9

Mr. Frederick 9

Mr. Pilkington 9

Mr. Whymper 9

Jessie and Bluebell 10

Minimus 10

Themes 10

The Corruption of Socialist Ideals in the Soviet Union 10

The Societal Tendency Toward Class Stratification 11

The Danger of a Naïve Working Class 11

The Abuse of Language as Instrumental to the Abuse of Power 11

Symbols 12

Animal Farm 12

The Barn 12

The Windmill 12

Important Quotations Explained 13

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Context

George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Blair, a British political novelist and essayist whose pointed criticisms of political oppression propelled him into prominence toward the middle of the twentieth century. Born in 1903 to British colonists in Bengal, India, Orwell received his education at a series of private schools, including Eton, an elite school in England. His painful experiences with snobbishness and social elitism at Eton, as well as his intimate familiarity with the reality of British imperialism in India, made him deeply suspicious of the entrenched class system in English society. As a young man, Orwell became a socialist, speaking openly against the excesses of governments east and west and fighting briefly for the socialist cause during the Spanish Civil War, which lasted from 1936 to 1939.

Unlike many British socialists in the 1930s and 1940s, Orwell was not enamoured of the Soviet Union and its policies, nor did he consider the Soviet Union a positive representation of the possibilities of socialist society. He could not turn a blind eye to the cruelties and hypocrisies of Soviet Communist Party, which had overturned the semi-feudal system of the tsars only to replace it with the dictatorial reign of Joseph Stalin. Orwell became a sharp critic of both capitalism...

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