Animal Farm and its Relationship to History

Animal Farm is a 1945 allegorical novella by English writer George Orwell. According to Orwell, the book reflects events that led up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, and then to the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union.

Orwell believed that the Soviet Union had become a brutal dictatorship built upon a cult of personality and enforced by a reign of terror, and he wrote Animal Farm in an effort to illustrate this to the world. The controversial book was rejected by many British and American publishers, but once published, it was a success.

Here are some helpful resources that show the allegorical relationship of Animal Farm to events and people in the Soviet regime:

This short video provides a synopsis of the events of Animal Farm and draws parallels between the story and actual historical figures in Stalinist Russia.

Here is a helpful chart of Animal Farm characters and their counterparts in the Russian Revolution:


Another chart:

Animal farm – Comparison of Characters to the Russian Revolution from Tiny Mu 


If you enjoyed this article, you may wish to try some our other Introduction to Literature (E1) videos. If you’d like to learn more about Animal Farm and it’s author George Orwell, you can check out our article on Adaptations of Animal Farm and our collection of George Orwell Resources.


When will you read George Orwell’s writing in Excellence in Literature?

E1.7 Focus text: Animal Farm; Honors text: 1984
1984 and Animal Farm by George OrwellThis volume contains both the focus text and the honors text.






9184 by George Orwell This volume contains just the honors text, 1984.