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Animal Farm is a satire on the Russian Revolution and is one of the best 20th-century examples of allegory an extended form of metaphor in which objects and persons symbolize figures that exist outside the text As its title suggests the setting for this fable-like novel is a farm and the bulk of the characters are the farm animals themselves all of whom symbolize various revolutionary figures or political ideologies The opening chapter introduces the theme of revolution that dominates Animal Farm as well as introduces the farm animals who are less notable for their individual characters than for the political figures they will symbolize in later chapters Old Major is the central figure in Chapter One He lights the spark of revolution on the farm and symbolizes the idealistic revolutionary leaders whose ideas served as the catalyst for revolution in Russia and more general within the Communist movement His statement that the life of an animal is misery and slavery echoes the 17th-century philosopher Hobbes who famously described human life as nasty brutish and short The first chapter contains many examples of the whimsy which is scattered throughout Animal Farm most notably in the way Orwell describes the various farm animals in semi-human terms We meet Clover the mare who never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal an example of Orwell drawing attention to the very animalness of the farm animals by juxtaposing it with traditionally human characteristics and foibles Orwells writing style here as throughout the novel is plain spare and simple a technique which emphasizes the fable aspect of Animal Farm by using minimalist language and short simple sentence structure Orwell draws the readers attention to the animals perspective a point of view which will lead to great irony as the revolution unfolds With his death Old Major symbolizes the idealistic often intellectual or abstract vision that leads to a revolution His death clears the
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