by George Orwell
The Fall of Mister Jones
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
The Happy Meal
The fall of Mister Jones represents the overthrow of Russia's Tsar Nicholas II.
The Sit-Down Meal
If you're looking for a stirring tale of the people—er, farm animals—fighting a nail-biting battle for their freedom, look again. In Animal Farm, "the Rebellion was achieved much earlier and more easily than anyone had expected" (2.10).
It happens like this: Mr. Jones goes out to get drunk and forgets to feed the animals. The cows are fed up and kick in the barn door, and all of a sudden all the animals are eating from the bins. When Mr. Jones and his men come in to whip the animals into obedience, full-scale rebellion erupts, and the animals chase Mr. Jones and his men off the farm. Soon after, Napoleon and Snowball step in to organize the animals around a new system based on the Seven Commandments—most importantly, "All animals are equal" (2.21).
Good to Be the King
Mr. Jones is a symbol for Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II. Russian tsars weren't exactly known for being in touch with the common man, but ol' Nick was particularly bad—lavishing money on himself and his family while ignoring the fact that his people were not doing so well. In 1914, he got Russia entangled in World War I, and then bungled the thing. The war effort and problems with food supply led to famine—just like Mr. Jones forgetting to feed his poor animals).
Like the animals' rebellion, the February Revolution of 1917 was kind of random. It began with nothing more than a few strikes and demonstrations in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. The situation exploded when Nicholas sent in the military. Problem? The military actually sympathized with the people, and many of the military leaders didn't care for the way Nicholas was handling the war. The army refused to squash the protests and then turned on Nicholas. Eventually, they forced him to abdicate, exiled him and his family, and set up a temporary government.
End phase one of the Russian Revolution.
In the 1890s, the government had exiled Vladimir Lenin to Siberia for getting a little too radical with his Marxism; Siberia didn't agree with him, so he left for Western Europe. But then the February Revolution happened, and Lenin came home. His first order of business: publishing the April Theses, a.k.a. Animal Farm's Seven Commandments. The April Theses were Lenin's idea for what comes next—how to turn the Revolution into a new society.
It was a pressing question, because the provisional government that the military had set up wasn't doing such a hot job. In October, phase two began: the Bolsheviks (Russian communists) overthrew the provisional government in the Russian Civil War. Their leader? Vladimir Lenin.
Okay, take a deep breath. Got all that? Now for the parallels:
In Animal Farm, we don't get two rebellions, but we do get the pigs (the Bolsheviks) sweeping in to take control over the revolution that already happened. One major difference: in Animal Farm, Jones and his family escape. Nicholas II wasn't so lucky. After spending months in exile, he and his family were executed a basement and then buried in a mass grave.