Literary devices


This is by far the most important literary device to consider when working with Animal Farm, as the entire story is an allegory of the Russian Revolution and the development of the Soviet Union. Almost all of the major events and characters are designed to be direct allegories of real-life events and people from this period. Some knowledge of Russian history is therefore highly useful when trying to understand the full significance of the novel.

Because there is so much to say about this allegory and it is so central to the interpretation of the story, we will talk about it in detail in a later section.


Anthropomorphism is the device of attributing human characteristics to animals, which is commonly used in fables and fairy tales.

Animal Farm makes heavy use of anthropomorphism, as most of its main characters are animals who behave in very human-like ways and who think, speak, write and read like humans do.

However, it is interesting to note that the fictional world of the story also contains regular human beings who interact with the animals, making the story a curious mix of realism and fable. Furthermore, the animals still try to cling to their animal identity in some ways, since many of their rules and commandments are focused on not becoming too much like humans. Despite these rules and commandments, the pigs gradually become more and more human-like, until it is finally impossible to tell the two species apart. Orwell therefore presents a complex view of anthropomorphism.


The novel contains numerous examples of foreshadowing. Foreshadowing means that future events in the story are hinted at before they happen - sometimes very directly, sometimes in more hidden ways.

The disappearing milk at the end of Chapter II foreshadows the revelation that the pigs are taking resources for themselves. The fact that Napoleon stays behind and seems eager to distract the other animals from the milk strengthens the foreshadowing, as most readers will easily understand his actions even before the truth is directly revealed soon afterwa...

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