Animal Farm is a fable of our time full of meanings and messages relating to the importance of freedom in any society. The story light-heartily uses a farm and the rebellion of its mistreated animals to symbolize a much more serious issue. George Orwell expresses his own political opinions in a clever and interesting way, that allows readers of all ages have an understanding of what really is a complex situation. As the author, Orwell successfully combines the characteristics of three literary forms; the fable, the satire, and the allegory, to create a book that is like no other.
Animal Farm is a fable, a story usually having a moral, in which animals talk and act like men and women. Orwells animal characters are both animal and human. For example, the pigs, eat "mash" (real pig food) with milk in it that they have persuaded the other animals to give them (a human action). The dogs behave like animals by growling and biting, but it is only in support of Napoleons struggle for political power. Orwell balances the way real animals actually behave and the human qualities they are supposed to represent.
Part of the fables humorous charm lies in how the characters are depicted. Each animal character is a type, with one or more human traits usually associated with that particular kind of animal. Orwell keeps his hatred and anger against exploiters under control by using the animals as types. Instead of saying "All political bosses are vicious pigs!" he keeps a sense of humor and says "In future, all questions relating to the working of the farm would be settled by a special committee of pigs."
Animal Farm is a story about a revolution for an ideal, and about how that ideal is betrayed until it disappears altogether from the new society after the revolution. Since Orwell attacks that new society, and despite the grim picture he paints of it, he attacks it with humor: We can also call Animal Farm a satire.
The object of Orwells political satire is actually the real life situation of the society that was later on created in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. The events narrated in Animal Farm continuously refer to events in history, the Russian Revolution. In other words, Animal Farm is not only a charming fable and a political satire; it is also an allegory.
Of course Animal Farm can be enjoyed as a completely fictitious fable for younger audiences. But to understand the book as fully as possible, it is futile to pay attention to the historical allegory.