Want to know this novel’s central symbol?
It’s right there in the title: Animal Farm itself. Are you getting the idea that Animal Farm—the
novel, I mean—is an allegory? That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise
that the farm after which the book is named is totally symbolic. It’s even symbolic on multiple levels! On the surface, Animal Farm stands for Russia—specifically
Russia under Communist Rule. (Obviously not a very appealing place according
to Orwell.) But the meaning doesn’t stop there. More broadly, Animal Farm stands for any society. It has a ruling class and a working class.
It has rules and state-sponsored rituals and even a national anthem. And I think the symbol of Animal Farm is partly
what makes Orwell’s book endure. The farm represents the way a society can
start out with ideals and good intentions, but how those can get lost when its citizens
don’t think for themselves. It represents what happens when power is abused
and the control of a nation is absolute. Not a very pretty picture, I know. But that was Orwell’s whole point. He wanted to wake people up to the need for
action and critical thought when it came to politics—before it was too late.