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Animal Farm

Animal Farm


by George Orwell

Napoleon's Initiative

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Happy Meal

Napoleon's initiative represents Stalin's Five-Year Plans.

The Sit-Down Meal

When Stalin took over the Soviet Union, he proposed the first of his Five-Year Plans. The goal? To rapidly industrialize the nation so that it could catch up with the West.

He also decided to collectivize agriculture, which is a fancy way of saying that he thought he could gets the peasants to produce more crops by moving them off their individual farms and onto large-scale mechanical farms. Nice in theory; too bad it was a total failure. Instead of improving quality of life, the plan seems to have directly contributed to widespread famine in 1931 and 1932. Whether or not Stalin's plan was totally responsible, he sure didn't do much to help them.

In Animal Farm, Napoleon has the animals working harder than ever. Even the neighboring humans "had developed a certain respect for the efficiency with which the animals were managing their own affairs" (6.9). But the animals are still starving. And just like Stalin, Napoleon uses tricks to "conceal this fact from the outside world" (7.4): he sends the sheep out to talk about increased rations and has empty food bins filled with sand—lots of fiber, but unfortunately not too filling.

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