Thursday, February 23, 2012
Animal Farm: Who is the Cat??
Due to its allegorical nature, the characters in Animal Farm are meant to represent certain persons or peoples. Most of the symbolism is obvious, such as Boxer, who represents the industrial workers, and Napoleon, who is Stalin, but some of the references are less clear (see previous post debating whether Old Major is Lenin or Marx). One such symbol is the cat. The cat does not appear throughout the novel, for she disappears just before the first purge, and never returns. Earlier in the novel, however, she is mentioned several times. She takes no apparent interest in animalism, in fact, the one time she votes on an issue, she votes on both sides. She then joins the "re-education committee" and takes interest in the sparrows. She tries to convince them to come to her, preaching that under animalism she cannot hurt them, but they stay away, perhaps wisely, for the tone of the passage implies that her intentions may not be virtuous. To me, this action suggests that the group she represents is educated, but perhaps not in full support of animalism. This suggests that she could represent the educated of Russia, more specifically, the educated who did not believe that communism was the correct path. She also skips out on work, which could mean the educated because they did not do physical nature. One more clue is the nature of a cat on a farm: the cat performs a service (rodent control) and receives benefits (milk, shelter). This further implies that the cat was privileged under the Czars, which further implies the wealthy, educated class.