Genre of Animal Farm

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Foreshadowing in Animal Farm

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Genres
  • 0:17 ''Animal Farm'' as an Allegory
  • 2:03 ''Animal Farm'' as a Fable
  • 2:47 ''Animal Farm'' as a Satire
  • 4:19 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christina Boggs

Chrissy has taught secondary English and history and writes online curriculum. She has an M.S.Ed. in Social Studies Education.

In what genre is George Orwell's 'Animal Farm?' Is it an allegory? Is it a fable? Is it a satire? Who says it has to be just one of the three? This lesson explores each of the three literary genres that can be applied to 'Animal Farm.'


The genre, or category, of a book can tell you a lot about the author's purpose for writing it. For example, the novel Animal Farm falls within three literary genres that give readers little glimpses into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of its author, George Orwell.

Animal Farm as an Allegory

First and foremost, Animal Farm is generally considered an allegory. An allegory is a story that includes settings, characters, and events that are meant to represent or parallel something with much deeper meaning. Take a moment to think about the settings and characters in Animal Farm. The story takes place on a farm. On the farm, there are a handful of bossy and controlling pigs, a few horses, a couple of dogs, a raven, and some humans. What deeper meaning could this story possibly have?

Orwell's barnyard story is actually allegory for the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism that took place in Russia beginning in 1917. Manor Farm, the setting, represents the entire country of Russia, while various characters have different meaning in the story.

Take, for example, the pig revolutionaries. Old Major, the idealistic but old boar, is an allegory for Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Like the communist thinkers, Old Major has some ideas that sound solid, but he's not around long enough to see them all the way through. The pig Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, Lenin's successor in Russia who used fear and intimidation to rise to power, much like Napoleon uses his dogs to get his way on Manor Farm. Characters like Boxer represent not just one person but people in Russia as a whole. Boxer symbolizes the faithful followers of men like Lenin and Stalin who don't really understand what's happening in government. As a result, they become victims of tyranny.

George Orwell uses his animal characters to reflect the major people and events that shaped Russian politics. His use of allegory is an effective way of explaining historical events and major themes, like the evils of tyranny and human nature, that entertains and engages the reader.

Animal Farm as a Fable

You're probably familiar with stories like 'The Tortoise and the Hare' and 'The Ant and the Grasshopper', but did you know that they were fables? A fable is a story with talking animals that helps teach readers a moral or lesson. Orwell's Animal Farm can be considered a fable, based on this definition.

Orwell's story is not very complex, and the messages it communicates to readers are pretty simple. This easy-to-read format makes the point of the story very accessible to his audience. From Napoleon's actions, Orwell really drives home the point that greed and power can lead a person (or a pig!) to do things that are damaging to society as a whole. Meanwhile, characters like Boxer remind readers that it's important to stay informed about what's happening in the world around them.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account