Jason Godfroy

SLM 521

Summer 2005



Animal Farm as Allegory


The Novel Animal Farm by George Orwell is not just a simple story about farm animals taking over and running a farm. It is much more.  On a deeper level it is a commentary by Mr. Orwell about the political climate in Russia.  Or, more simply put: it is an allegory (see below for a definition) to what happened in Russia around the time of the Bolshevik Revolution to World War II.  The links below list some of the major characters in the book, and web site where you can go to research the connection between him and the real-life character.


You will be researching one character or event from the book Animal Farm and its allegorical connection to a person or event in Russian History.  Your teacher has assigned you your topic and given you a worksheet to complete.  Your job is to use the links below to find out the information you need.  (Note: this means you do not need to do a random search.  No Google searches!!)  After you complete your research you will present your findings to the class. 


Definitions of Allegory

            Allegory:  This site gives a simple definition of allegory.  There are some examples given.  The web page is nearly blank except for links to other words.  A very good and simple definition for all middle school level readers.  Date visited 5/19/2005.



            Allegory (definition 2):  This site gives another definition.  There are some examples from literature built into the definition.  The web page has a few more ads on the right and left, making it a bit cluttered.  Again a nice middle level definition.  Date visited 5/19/2005.



            Allegory of the Cave:  This site is an example of an Allegory.  It details the famous Cave of Plato allegory.  The example is very clear and easy to understand.  There is even an illustration to help make everything clear.  The subject matter (the Cave) is high school, but the definition is written on a middle school level.  Date visited 5/19/2005.



            Allegory (definition 3 and example):  This is another example of an allegory.  It actually gives two examples. The first one is a bit hard to follow, especially if you have not read Everyman.  But, the second one is more clear.  It is a good example of an allegory to the moon landing.  It is an uncluttered page written for all middle school readers. Date visited 5/19/2005.



Animal Farm Characters/ Events


Napoleon = Joseph Stalin

            Biography.com:Stalin, Joseph:  This is an excellent and short biography about Stalin.  It specifically mentions Trotsky, an area neglected by many short biographies.  It also talks about his cruelty and brings up many of the atrocities he or his government committed. The page is a bit cluttered with other advertisements, etc.  The bio is rather advanced, probably geared toward high school students and above.  But, the information is clearly written.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            CNN Cold War – Profile: Joseph Stalin:  This site is maintained by CNN.  It is another good short biography of Stalin’s life.  It specifically mentioned The Great Purge and the agricultural revolution that was responsible for 14.5 million deaths. The web page is clear with very little clutter.  Middle school level readers will find this page easily understandable.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            Joseph Stalin, 1879-1953:  This also is another good biography.  This one has some links at the bottom of the page that may give you more information.  Or, at least give you some other places to look.  In particular this biography gives more details about Stalin as a younger man, before his rise to power in Russia.  The web page is very clear and uncluttered with ads.  The reading level is around upper middle school. Date visited 5/20/2005.



Mr. Jones = Tsar Nicholas

            Czar.html:  This site describes the life of Czar (or Tsar) Nicholas.  It has many pictures (with out captions) of the Russian images.  There are many short paragraphs on an easy reading level.  Very little detail is given, but the information is very concise.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            Nicholas II:  This site has a long and detailed biography.  There are many details about Nicholas life that are included—why he moved, how his wife felt, etc.  The reading level is around the beginning of high school, but there are many specific historical references that may make this page challenging to read.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            First World War.com:  This is another good site that is a good description of the times.  There is a reference to Bloody Sunday (Great Purge, Executions in Animal Farm).  It is written for all middle and high school level readers.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



Old Major = Karl Marx

            Karl Marx Economic/ Political Philosopher:  This website has a brief biography of Karl Marx.  It discusses his writing the ‘Communist Manifesto’ and gives many pertinent dates in his life.  It is short and concise and the readability if for any middle school grade.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            Karl Marx 1818-1883:  This site contains a very detailed biography.  It discusses many of the details of Marx’ life and how he came to believe in communism.  The reading level is for at least high school students.  There are many pictures that help create an image of the life and times of Karl Marx.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            The Communist Manifesto:  For those of you ambitious students who want to learn about Communism first hand.  This site is for you.  As you know, Communism was based on the book The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx.  The entire text is copied here on these pages.  It is very difficult reading, for high school level readers and beyond.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            Karl Marx:  This site contains a long and detailed biography.  There are many facts here that were left out of the other sites (for example why he was in a hurry to marry, and what jobs he held).  There are details footnotes, with references to specific passages of The Communist Manifesto.  It is easy to read and middle school level readers will not have a problem with it.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



Snowball = Leon Trotsky

            Leon Trotsky:  This site is a fantastic site for a biography on Leon Trotsky.  Make sure you visit this site.  There are many pictures of Leon on site.  The information presented is all very clear and easy to read (middle school grades).  Make sure you read to the end so you can find out how Trotsky died!!  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            Leon Trotsky (2):  This site also has a great biography on Trotsky.  It is written on a slightly harder level (entering high school), but still it is very readable.  There is a section here that really examines the relationship with Trotsky and Lenin and their eventual falling out—much like Snowball and Napoleon.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            The Collected Writings of Leon Trotsky: Trotsky Internet Archive:  Curious about what Trotsky wrote?  Well, he was a prolific writer.  His favorite topic was about political and social inequities.  If you are a highly skilled reader and are interested, this page has links to many of his writings.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



Squealer = Pravda

            Novel Guide--Animal Farm: Character Profiles:  This page gives a brief description of all of the characters in the story and their allegorical significance.  About halfway down you can find the Pravda/ Squealer link.  It is very easy to read (middle school level).  However, the page is very busy with flashes and banners and popups.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            Animal Farm by George Orwell Book Notes:  This page is dedicated to the issue of propaganda.  Remember our discussions from class.  There are 22 example of the use of propaganda in the book.  Many of them recount what squealer did.  Some of them do not.  The site is very easy to read (middle school level) and is very neat and organized.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            Squealer:  This website is an essay on the links between Squealer and propaganda.  The author makes some assertions that Squealer is one of the most intelligent and important characters in the story.  However, you must read and decide if you agree with the author.  The allegorical information is very solid.  Reading level is middle school and the web page is neat and uncluttered.  Date visited 5/20/2005.



            Squealer (2):  This is a very brief description of Squealer and his allegory of Pravda. There is a link on this page that gives a bit more of a descprition.  The reading level is middle school.  Date visited 5/20/05.