Animal Farm

Themes and Colors
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Animal Farm, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

George Orwell once wrote: “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been [...] against totalitarianism.” Animal Farm, Orwell’s tale of the titular farm animals’ takeover of a provincial English farm and their development of a totalitarian state there, is no exception. Totalitarianism is a form of government in which the state seeks to control every facet of life, from economics and politics to each individual’s ideas and beliefs. Different…

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Animal Farm depicts a revolution in progress. Like all popular revolutions, the uprising in Animal Farm develops out of a hope for a better future, in which farm animals can enjoy the fruits of their own labor without the overbearing rule of humans. At the time of the revolution, all of the animals on Mr. Jones’s farm, even the pigs, are committed to the idea of universal equality—but these high ideals that fueled the…

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One of the main tenets of Animalism, the ideology that Napoleon and Snowball develop, is that all animals are equal. However, it doesn’t take long for the pigs to begin to refer to themselves as “mindworkers” to distinguish themselves from the other animals, who work as physical laborers. Through this, Animal Farm shows how differences in education and occupation lead to the development of a class hierarchy, which leads inevitably to class warfare, in which…

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From the beginning of the popular revolution on Manor Farm, language—both spoken and written—is instrumental to the animals’ collective success, and later to the pigs’ consolidation of power. Through Animal Farm, Orwell illustrates how language is an influential tool that individuals can use to seize power and manipulate others via propaganda, while also showing that education and one’s corresponding grasp of language is what can turn someone into either a manipulative authority figure or…

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While Animal Farm condemns all forms of totalitarianism, it’s most explicitly a bitter attack on the Soviet Union. Though Orwell supported the ideals of socialism, he strongly opposed the Soviet Union’s descent into totalitarianism under Stalin in the decades before and during World War II. Animal Farm satirically attacks the Soviet Union by mirroring many events from Soviet history, and though Animal Farm is subtitled “A Fairy Story,” almost nothing that happens in it is…

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