This article presents a critical reading of the function of the animal-human allegory or the “humanimallegory” in both the animated films Animal Farm
and Chicken Run
. Based on George Orwell’s novel of the same name, Animal Farm
provides an allegorical representation of the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism in the Soviet Union by relaying Orwell’s story of a revolution led by a group of farm animals and its aftermath. Animal Farm
ultimately reduces its fictional animal characters to simple metaphors for real human subjects, thus serving the most common function of the animal-human allegory in literature as well as film. In contrast, improvising on the many prisoner-of-war films that were produced during the first few decades following World War II, Chicken Run
tells the story of a group of chickens who attempt to escape from an egg farm. Chicken Run
complicates the function of the animal-human allegory, though, by resisting the allegorical reduction of its fictional animal characters to simple metaphors for real human subjects. By presenting a critical reading of these two different films, this article suggests that the literary concept of allegory itself remains circumscribed within the philosophical tradition of humanism.
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