Boxer: The name Boxer is cleverly used by Orwell as a metaphor for the Boxer Rebellion in China in the early twentieth century. It was this rebellion which signalled the beginning of communism in red China. This form of communism, much like the distorted Stalin view of socialism, is still present today in the oppressive socialist government in China. Boxer and Clover are used by Orwell to represent the proletariat, or unskilled labour class in Russian society. This lower class is naturally drawn to Stalin (Napoleon) because it seems as though they will benefit most from his new system. Since Boxer and the other low animals are not accustomed to the "good life," they can’t really compare Napoleon’s government with the life they had before under the czars (Jones). Also, since usually the lowest class has the lowest intelligence, it is not difficult to persuade them into thinking they are getting a good deal. The proletariat is also quite good at convincing themselves that communism is a good idea. Orwell supports this contention when he narrates, "Their most faithful disciples were the two carthorses, Boxer and Clover. Those two had great difficulty in thinking anything out for themselves, but having once accepted the pigs as their teachers, they absorbed everything that they were told, and passed it on to the other animals by simple arguments." Later, the importance of the proletariat is shown when Boxer suddenly falls and there is suddenly a drastic decrease in work productivity. But still he is taken for granted by the pigs, who send him away in a glue truck. Truly Boxer is the biggest poster-child for gullibility.
Pigs: Orwell uses the pigs to surround and support Napoleon. They symbolise the communist party loyalists and the friends of Stalin, as well as perhaps the Duma, or Russian parliament. The pigs, unlike other animals, live in luxury and enjoy the benefits of the society they help to control. The inequality and true hypocrisy of communism is expressed here by Orwell, who criticised Marx’s oversimplified view of a socialist, "utopian" society. Obviously, George Orwell doesn’t believe such a society can exist. Toward the end of the book, Orwell emphasises, "Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer except, of course, the pigs and the dogs."
Dogs: Orwell uses the dogs in his book, Animal Farm, to represent the KGB or perhaps more accurately, the bodyguards of Stalin. The dogs are the arch-defenders of Napoleon and the pigs, and although they don’t speak, they are definitely a force the other animals have to reckon with. Orwell almost speaks of the dogs as mindless robots, so dedicated to Napoleon that they can’t really speak for themselves. This contention is supported as Orwell describes Napoleon’s early and suspicious removal of six puppies from their mother. The reader is left in the dark for a while, but is later enlightened when Orwell describes the chase of Snowball. Napoleon uses his "secret dogs" for the first time here; before Snowball has a chance to stand up and give a counter-argument to Napoleon’s disapproval of the windmill, the dogs viciously attack the pig, forcing him to flee, never to return again. Orwell narrates, "Silent and terrified, the animals crept back into the barn. In a moment the dogs came bounding back. At first no one had been able to imagine where these creatures came from, but the problem was soon solved: they were the puppies whom Napoleon had taken away from their mothers and reared privately. Though not yet full-grown, they were huge dogs, and as fierce-looking as wolves. They kept close to Napoleon. It was noticed that they wagged their tails to him in the same way as the other dogs had been used to do to Mr Jones." The use of the dogs begins the evil use of force which helps Napoleon maintain power. Later, the dogs do even more dastardly things when they are instructed to kill the animals labelled "disloyal." Stalin, too, had his own special force of "helpers". Really there are followers loyal to any politician or government leader, but Stalin in particular needed a special police force to eliminate his opponents. This is how Trotsky was killed.
Mollie: Mollie is one of Orwell’s minor characters, but she represents something very important. Mollie is one of the animals who is most opposed to the new government under Napoleon. She doesn’t care much about the politics of the whole situation; she just wants to tie her hair with ribbons and eat sugar, things her social status won’t allow. Many animals consider her a traitor when she is seen being petted by a human from a neighbouring farm. Soon Mollie is confronted by the "dedicated" animals, and she quietly leaves the farm. Mollie characterises the typical middle-class skilled worker who suffers from this new communism concept. No longer will she get her sugar (nice salary) because she is now just as low as the other animals, like Boxer and Clover. Orwell uses Mollie to characterise the people after any rebellion who aren’t too receptive to new leaders and new economics. There are always those resistant to change. This continues to dispel the belief Orwell hated and according to which basically all animals act the same. The naivety of Marxism is criticised, socialism is not perfect, and it doesn’t work for everyone.
Moses: Moses is perhaps Orwell’s most intriguing character in Animal Farm. This raven, first described as the "especial pet" of Mr Jones, is the only animal who doesn’t work. He’s also the only character who doesn’t listen to Old Major’s speech of rebellion. Orwell narrates, "The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put about by Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr Jones’s especial pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges. The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place." Moses represents Orwell’s view of the Church. To Orwell, the Church is just used as a tool by dictatorships to keep the working class of people hopeful and productive. Orwell uses Moses to criticize Marx’s belief that the Church will just go away after the rebellion. Jones first used Moses to keep the animals working, and he was successful in many ways before the rebellion. The pigs had a real hard time getting rid of Moses, since the lies about Heaven they thought would only lead the animals away from the equality of socialism. But as the pigs led by Napoleon become more and more like Mr Jones, Moses finds his place again. After being away for several years, he suddenly returns and picks up right where he left off. The pigs don’t mind this time because the animals have already realised that the "equality" of the revolt is a farce. So Napoleon feeds Moses with beer, and the full circle is complete. Orwell seems to offer a very cynical and harsh view of the Church. This proves that Animal Farm is not simply an anti-communist work meant to lead people into capitalism and Christianity. Really Orwell found loop-holes and much hypocrisy in both systems. It’s interesting that recently in Russia the government has begun to allow and support religion again. It almost seems that like the pigs, the Kremlin officials of today are trying to keep their people motivated, not in the ideology of communism, but in the "old-fashioned" hope of an after-life.
Muriel: Muriel is a knowledgeable goat who reads the commandments for Clover. Muriel represents the minority of working class people who are educated enough to decide things for themselves and find critical and hypocritical problems with their leaders. Unfortunately for the other animals, Muriel is not charismatic or inspired enough to take action and oppose Napoleon and his pigs.
Old Benjamin: Old Benjamin, an elderly donkey, is one of Orwell’s most elusive and intriguing characters on Animal Farm. He is described as rather unchanged since the rebellion. He still does his work the same way, never becoming too excited or too disappointed about anything that has passed. Benjamin explains, "Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey." Although there is no clear metaphoric relationship between Benjamin and Orwell’s critique of communism, it makes sense that during any rebellion there are those who never totally embrace the revolution, those so cynical they no longer look to their leaders for help. Benjamin symbolises the older generation, the critics of any new rebellion. Really this old donkey is the only animal who seems as though he couldn’t care less about Napoleon and Animal Farm. It’s almost as if he can see into the future, knowing that the revolt is only a temporary change, and will flop in the end. Benjamin is the only animal who doesn’t seem to have expected anything positive from the revolution. He almost seems on a whole different maturity level compared with the other animals. He is not sucked in by Napoleon’s propaganda like the others. The only time he seems to care about the others at all is when Boxer is carried off in the glue truck. It’s almost as if the old donkey finally comes out of his shell, his perfectly fitted demeanour, when he tries to warn the others of Boxer’s fate. And the animals do try to rescue Boxer, but it’s too late. Benjamin seems to be finally confronting Napoleon and revealing his knowledge of the pigs’ hypocrisy, although before he had been completely independent. After the animals have forgotten Jones and their past lives, Benjamin still remembers everything. Orwell states, "Only old Benjamin professed to remember every detail of his long life and to know that things never had been, nor ever could be much better or much worse; hunger, hardship, and disappointment being, so he said, the unalterable law of life."
Rats & Rabbits: The rats and the rabbits, who are regarded as wild animals, somehow represent the socialist movement, the so-called "Menscheviki". In the very beginning of the book the animals vote if rats and rabbits should be comrades.
Pigeons: The pigeons symbolise Soviet propaganda, not to Russia, but to other countries, like Germany, England, France, and even the United States. Russia had created an iron curtain even before WWII. The Communist government raved about its achievements and its advanced technology, but it never allowed experts or scientists from outside the country to check on its validity. Orwell mentions the fact that the other farmers became suspicious and worried when their animals began to sing Beasts of England. Many Western governments have had similar problems with their people in this century. There was a huge "Red Scare" in the United States in the 1920s. In the 1950s in the United States, Joseph McCarthy was a legislative member of the government from Wisconsin. He accused hundreds of people of supporting the communist regime, from famous actors in Hollywood to middle-class ordinary people. The fear of communism became a phobia in America and anyone speaking out against the government was a suspect.
Farm buildings: The farm stands for the Kremlin. In the early days of the USSR there were sightseeing tours through the Kremlin. Later it became the residence of Stalin.
Windmill: The Windmill for example stands for the Russian industry, that has been built by the working-class. (Clover…)
Fredericks: Stands for Hitler. There has also been an arrangement and secret deals. (Allusion to Fritz.)
Foxwood: Foxwood farm represents England.
Pinchfield: Pinchfield symbolises Germany.
Destruction of the Windmill: This destruction is a symbol for the failure of the Five Year Plan.