Czar Nicholas II
Czar Nicholas, born on May 18th, 1868 in Tsarskoe Selo, Russia, was the last emperor of Russia. Czar Nicholas was crowned the Czar of Russia in 1894, after Czar Alexander III died of kidney disease at age 49. After 2 failed war attempts against Japan in 1904 and Germany in the first world war, Czar Nicholas decided to take command of the army in 1915, which associated him more closely with the failing war effort. The Czar’s reputation continued to fall as a result, and in March 1917, food riots and labor strikes were held to protest against war. Not long after the protests, Czar Nicholas II abdicated. He and his family, along with some of their servants were executed on the evening of July 16th (Biography in context, 2007).
Relation to Mr Jones in Animal Farm
Since the novel is a metaphor of the Russian Revolution, Czar Nicholas II was portrayed through the character Mr Jones, the owner of the farm before he was overthrown by the animals. One of the similarities between Mr Jones and Czar Nicholas II can be seen through the income disparity of Russia during the revolution compared with the farm in the novel. During the period of time before the revolution took place, Czar Nicholas II lived in luxury while thousands of unemployed peasants struggled to survive. Even those who were employed endured abuse from their employers, and had long working hours for extremely low wages (Student resources in context, 2009). In the novel, the distribution of resources was quite similar, when Mr Jones was still the owner of the farm. During that period, Mr Jones “does not give milk, does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits.”(p4). While Mr Jones lived in luxury, the resources that the animals get was “the bare minimum that would prevent them from starving” (p4)
Another trait of Czar Nicholas that can be seen in Mr Jones is the Czar’s inability to rule over others. According to History.com, when Czar Nicholas II was crowned, he was never trained or inclined to rule (History.com, 1996). Mr Jones was also an inefficient leader for Animal farm. At the very start of the novel Mr Jones was already introduced as an alcoholic who “had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes” (p1). Excess consumption of alcohol is widely known to affect the body’s nervous system, therefore making the alcoholic unable to react to things the way he or she normally would. Due to excess alcohol consumption Mr Jones couldn’t look after the farm animals well and as a result the animals were greatly neglected.
Czar Nicholas was the dictator of Russia during the time period before the revolution. As a result, dictatorship played a large part of the revolution. After Czar Nicholas was overthrown, the dictatorship system was replaced with a communist one, but it did not take long for the good intentions of the communist system to be overcome by the greed and dishonesty of the leaders of the revolution. In the end, the system that was established as a result of the Russian Revolution was no better than the one before. This was also portrayed in Animal Farm. In the beginning of the novel, Mr Jones, the dictator, was overthrown by the animals on the farm. The farm then established a system where all animals were equal. However, this system, much like the Russian revolution, the system was eventually twisted to their own needs by the pigs, and the farm gradually turned back into a dictatorship system.
Author's intentions and effectiveness
George Orwell connected both traits of Czar Nicholas to Mr Jones in a very realistic and modern way in order for these traits to be easily relatable and understandable for the reader. George Orwell decided to represent the income disparity during the time of the Russian Revolution with the quality of life of humans compared to the animals in the farm. This makes it more relatable because a majority of the readers should be aware of how farmers uses animals to help them make money for themselves. There is also an effective comparison when the living conditions of animals are compared to those of human beings, especially farm animals. Since farms are something most people are taught about when they were children, readers would be able to understand the income disparity of the time of the Russian revolution without needing to explain the living conditions of Czar Nicholas and the peasants.
George Orwell also made the situation easier to relate when he used alcoholism to represent Czar Nicholas II’s inability to rule over others. Excess consumption of alcohol is widely known to affect the alcoholic’s nervous system, therefore making the person unable to think rationally or complete any task. This is a main reason why it is illegal for a person to drink while driving. Because alcoholism is a widely known problem, readers would automatically have an impression of Mr Jones as an inefficient farmer.