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George Orwell: animal farm

The author and his times

George Orwell was a quiet, decent Englishman who passionately hated two things: inequality and
political lying. Out of his hatred of inequality came a desire for a society in which class privileges would
not exist. This to him was "democratic socialism." is hatred of political lying and his support for
socialism led him to denounce the political lie that what was going on in the !oviet "nion had anything
to do with socialism. #s long as people equated the !oviet "nion with socialism, he felt, no one could
appreciate what democratic socialism might $e li%e.
#nd so, he says, he "thought of exposing the !oviet myth in a story that could $e easily understood $y
almost anyone and which could $e easily translated into other languages." That story was #nimal &arm,
and it has $een translated into many other languages. "nderstanding Orwell's political convictions((and
how they developed((will greatly enrich your reading of #nimal &arm.
e was $orn Eric )lair((he too% the name George Orwell many years later: in *+,-, in .ndia. is father
was an important )ritish civil servant in that country, which was then part of the )ritish Empire. e
retired on a modest pension and moved $ac% to England a few years after Eric was $orn. Thus the family
was part of the "lower upper(middle(classes," as Orwell was to say: people in the English upper classes
who weren't rich, $ut who felt they should live as the upper classes traditionally did. That's why, when
Eric was eight, the )lairs sent him away to $oarding school to prepare for Eton, an exclusive prep
school. Eric had a scholarship, and yet his father still ended up spending almost a quarter of his pension
to send his son to that $oarding school/ &rom his parents' point of view, the sacrifice paid off: Eric won a
scholarship to Eton. &rom the $oy's point of view, it meant that in a ferociously sno$$ish, class(conscious
world, he twice had the humiliating experience of $eing the poorest $oy in the school. ".n a world where
the prime necessities were money, titled relatives, athleticism, tailor(made clothes... . was no good," he
wrote years later, in a powerful essay on his school experiences called "!uch, !uch 0ere the 1oys." .n his
first school, he was repeatedly $eaten with a cane for $eing "no good" in various ways. #nd he was made
to feel ashamed for "living off the $ounty" of the headmaster(owner, that is, for having a scholarship.
&rom the age of eight to eighteen, the $oy learned a lot a$out inequality and oppression in )ritish
e graduated from Eton at eighteen, near the $ottom of his class. There was no chance of a scholarship
to Oxford, so Eric followed in his father's footsteps and passed the Empire's 2ivil !ervice Examination.
#s a mem$er of the .mperial 3olice in )ritish(ruled )urma, he was to see inequality and oppression
from another point of view((from the top. The fact that he was a part of that top intensified the feelings
of distance and anger that he already had toward his own class. #fter five years in )urma he resigned.
0hen he came $ac% to Europe in *+45, he lived for more than a year in 3aris, writing novels and short
stories that no$ody pu$lished. 0hen his money ran out, he had to find wor% as a teacher, a private tutor,
and even as a dishwasher. e was poor(($ut of his own choice. is family could have sent him the
money to get $ac% to England and find a $etter 6o$ than dishwashing in a 3aris hotel. 3erhaps he was
too proud to as% for help. )ut there was another, deeper reason: he felt guilty for the 6o$ he had done in
)urma((for having $een part of an oppressive government. e saw his years of poverty as punishment((
and as a way to understand the pro$lems of the oppressed and helpless $y $ecoming one of them.
)y *+-- he had come up from the $ottom enough to write a $oo% a$out it: 7own and Out in 3aris and
8ondon. 3ro$a$ly to save his family em$arrassment, Eric as%ed that the $oo% $e pu$lished under a pen
name. e suggested a few to his pu$lisher. One of them was the name of a river he loved: Orwell. The
next year, "George Orwell" pu$lished )urmese 7ays, a sad, angry novel a$out his experiences there.
Two more novels followed.
.n *+-9 came another significant experience in Orwell's life. is pu$lisher sent him to the English coal(
mining country to write a$out it. ere he again saw poverty close up((not the "picturesque" poverty of
3aris streets and English tramps, $ut the dreary poverty of tough men %illing themselves in the dar%
mines day after day, or((worse still((hungry and out of wor%. e wrote a powerful piece of first(hand
reporting a$out what he saw there: The :oad to 0igan 3ier.
#fterwards, Orwell descri$ed himself as "pro(!ocialist," yet he was often $itterly critical of )ritish
socialists. To refuse to "6oin" his own side, to insist instead on telling the unpleasant truth as he saw it,
was to $ecome an Orwell trademar%.
.n *+-5, however, Orwell did 6oin a side he $elieved in, and it almost cost him his life: he volunteered to
fight for the :epu$lic in the !panish 2ivil 0ar.
&ascism was rising in Europe: ;ussolini had ta%en power in .taly, itler in Germany. .n !pain, where a
sha%y democratic :epu$lic had recently $een $orn, a socialist government was elected, promising land
reform, voting reform, and separation of 2hurch and !tate. # group of right(wing generals led $y
&rancisco &ranco revolted against the :epu$lic with their armies. The government was forced to arm
factory wor%ers to defend itself against the armies((and a long, $loody civil war $egan.
Three experiences were crucial for Orwell in the !panish 2ivil 0ar. The first was what he saw when he
got there. .n )arcelona, Orwell found an exhilarating atmosphere of "comradeship and respect,"
everyone addressing each other as "comrade," treating each other as equals. The same thing was true, he
said, of the militia group he 6oined. Orwell $elieved he was seeing the success of socialism in action.
The second thing that mar%ed Orwell was what happened to his fellow fighters. They were 6ailed and
shot((not $y &ranco, $ut $y their own "comrades," 2ommunist(dominated elements of the same
:epu$lican government they were fighting for/ The 2ommunists disagreed with some of the views of the
militia group Orwell $elonged to< they suspected the men of $eing disloyal to 2ommunist ideas. 8uc%ily
for Orwell, he was not rounded up with his fellow soldiers. e had $een shot through the throat on the
front lines and was shipped $ac% to England for treatment.
The third experience that would stay with Orwell for the rest of his life was what happened when he
returned to England and reported what he had seen. =one of the socialists wanted to hear it< no$ody
$elieved it. e was an eyewitness> =o matter. .t was not the right time to say something that might hurt
the :epu$lican side.
!o Orwell had seen the socialist ideal in action, and he had seen it crushed((not $y its natural enemies
on the :ight, $ut $y 2ommunists on the 8eft. #nd he had seen the infuriating incapacity of the 8eft,
even the non(2ommunist 8eft, to accept that truth. #ll of this was very much on his mind when, in the
middle of 0orld 0ar .., he resigned his 6o$ on the ))2 ?the #rmy wouldn't ta%e him $ecause of his $ad
lungs@ and $egan writing #nimal &arm, in =ovem$er *+A-.
Once again it loo%ed li%e the wrong time for a story to "expose the !oviet myth." The !oviet "nion was
)ritain's ally in the war against =aBi Germany. #nd in fact four pu$lishers would turn down #nimal
&arm. )ut what was "the !oviet myth"> 0hy did enlightened, humane people not want to $elieve ill of
the !oviet "nion> To see what #nimal &arm is a$out, we must loo% at what happened in :ussia, and
what it meant for people who were in many ways Orwell's political friends.
#nimal &arm was written at a very inopportune time, for everywhere, even in the "nited !tates, respect
for the communist government was growing, after their valiant defeat of =aBi Germany. 8ater, however,
Orwell's #nimal &arm was caught up in a "cold war" of anti( communist sentiment and soon even
encouraged this outrage, although this was not Orwell's intent. &or Orwell was not a party(hardliner, nor
a capitalist at heart. :eally he despised all systems of government that he considered hypocritical. #t
Eton in England, he attained such a distaste for money that he soon $ecame an opponent of capitalism
all together.
!urprisingly, Orwell was a socialist. The reason he hated communism so much is $ecause it was not pure
socialism(( he distrusted the leaders who lived in mansions while the common fol% slaved in the fields.
2ommunism, he thought, was 6ust another way for the elite to control the ma6ority of peasants.
The Russian Revolution
.deas play a part in any revolution, $ut the )olshevi% :evolution of Octo$er *+*5((the one that changed
":ussia" into the "".!.!.:."((was noteworthy for $eing principally inspired $y one idea. .t was a
revolution consciously made in the name of one class ?the wor%ing class, the "proletariat"@ and against
another class ?the owners, the "$ourgeoisie"@. The :evolution was made $y men who $elieved with Carl
;arx that the whole history of the world was the history of a struggle $etween classes(($etween
oppressors and oppressed.
;arx, li%e other socialist thin%ers of the *+th century, denounced the cruel in6ustices of industrial
capitalist society as he saw it. e had a vision of ending "the exploitation of man $y man" and
esta$lishing a classless society, in which all people would $e equal. The only means to this end, he
thought, was a revolution of the exploited ?the proletariat@ against the exploiters ?the $ourgeoisie@, so
that wor%ers would own the means of production, such as the factories and machinery. This revolution
would set up a "dictatorship of the proletariat" to do away with the old $ourgeois order ?the capitalist
system@ and eventually replace it with a classless society.
8enin too% this idea and further focused on the role of the 2ommunist 3arty as the leader of the wor%ing
0hen 8enin reached :ussia in *+*5 a first revolution against the crum$ling regime of the 2Bar had
already ta%en place. The new government was democratic, $ut "$ourgeois." 8enin victoriously headed
the radical socialist ?)olshevi%@ revolution in Octo$er of that year. This was immediately followed $y
four years of $loody civil war: the :evolution's :ed #rmy, organiBed and led $y 8eon Trots%y, had to
defeat the "0hites" ?:ussians loyal to the 2Bar or 6ust hostile to the 2ommunists@ and foreign troops,
#t 8enin's death in *+4A, there was a struggle $etween 1oseph !talin and Trots%y for leadership of the
2ommunist 3arty and thus of the nation. .n *+4D, !talin clearly gained the upper hand< in *+45, he was
a$le to expel Trots%y from the 3arty. 8ater Trots%y was exiled, then deported, and finally assassinated in
;exico, pro$a$ly $y a !talinist agent, in *+A,. #ll this time, !talin never stopped denouncing Trots%y as
a traitor.
3ower in the !oviet "nion $ecame increasingly concentrated in !talin's hands. .n the *+-,s, massive
arrests and a series of pu$lic trials not only eliminated all possi$le opposition, $ut loyal )olshevi%s and
hundreds of thousands of other a$solutely innocent :ussians.
!till, people all over the world who felt the pull of ;arx's ideal((an end to exploitation and oppression,
as they saw it((thought of the !oviet "nion as the country of the :evolution. .t was hard for many people
on the 8eft ?who thin% of themselves as on the side of the exploited, and want ma6or changes in society
to attain social 6ustice@ to give up this loyalty. That's one reason why Orwell wrote #nimal &arm.
The story ta%es place on a farm somewhere in England. The story is told $y an all(%nowing narrator in
the third person. The action of this novel starts when the oldest pig, Old ;a6or on the farm calls all
animals to a secret meeting. e tells all the other animals a$out his dream of a revolution against the
cruel ;r. 1ones. Three days later ;a6or dies, $ut the speech gave the more intelligent animals a new
outloo% on life. The pigs, who were considered the most intelligent animals, instructed the other ones.
7uring the period of preparation two pigs could distinguish themselves, =apoleon and !now$all.
=apoleon is $ig, and although he isn't a good spea%er, he could assert himself. =apoleon is a $etter
spea%er, he has a lot of ideas and he is very vivid. Together with another pig called !quealer, who is a
very good spea%er, they wor% out the theory of "#nimalism". The re$ellion starts some months later, as
one night ;r 1ones comes home drun%en, and forgets to feed the animals. They $rea% out of the $arns
and run to the house, where the food is stored. #s ;r 1ones recognises this he ta%es out his shotgun, $ut
it is to late for him, all the animals fall over him and drive him off the farm. The animals destroy all
whips nose rings, reins, and all other instruments that were used to suppress them. The same day the
animals cele$rate their victory with an extra ration of food. The pigs have made up the seven
commandments, and they have written then a$ove the door of the $ig $arn.
They run thus:
*.: 0hatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
4.: 0hatever goes upon four legs, or has wings is a friend.
-.: =o animal shall wear clothes.
A.: =o animal shall sleep in a $ed.
D.: =o animal shall drin% alcohol.
9.: =o animal shall %ill another animal.
5.: #ll animals are equal.
The animals also agreed that no animal shall ever enter the farmhouse, and that no animal shall have
contact with humans. This commandments are summarised in the simple phrase: "&our legs good, two
legs $ad". #fter some time 1ones came $ac% with some other men from the village to recapture the farm.
The animals fight $rave, and they manage to defend the farm. !now$all and )oxer received medals of
honour for defending the farm so $ravely. #lso =apoleon who had not fought at all ta%es a medal. This
is the reason that the two pigs, snow$all and =apoleon are often arguing. #s !now$all one day presented
his idea to $uild a windmill, to produce electricity to the other animals, =apoleon calls nine strong dogs.
The dogs drive off !now$all from the farm, and =apoleon explains that !now$all in fact was co(
operating with ;r 1ones. e also explains that !now$all in realty never had a medal of honour, that in
!now$all was always trying to cover up that he was fighting at the side of ;r 1ones. The animals then
started with the $uilding of the windmill, and as time went on the wor%ing(time went up, whereas the
food ration went down. #lthough the "common" animals had not enough food, the pigs grow fatter and
fatter. The pigs tell the animals that they need more food, for they are managing the whole farm. #gain
some time later the pigs explain to the other animals that they have to trade with the neigh$our farms.
The common animals are very upset , $ecause after the revolution, there has $een a resolution that no
animal shall ma%e trade with a human. )ut the pigs ensured that there never has $een such a resolution,
and that this was a evil lye $y !now$all. !hort after this decision the pigs moved to the farm house. The
other animals remem$ered that there was a commandment that for$ids sleeping in $eds, and so they go
to the $ig $arn to loo% at the commandments. #s they arrive there they can't $elieve their eyes, the Ath
commandment has $een changed to: "=o animal shall sleep in $ed with sheets". #nd also the other
commandments were changed: "=o animal shall %ill another animal without reason", or "=o animal
shall drin% alcohol in excess". !ome months there is a heavy storm that destroys the windmill, that is
nearly ready. =apoleon accuses !now$all of destroying the mill, and he promises a reward to the animal
who gets !now$all. The re$uilding of the mill ta%es two years. #gain 1ones attac%s the farm, and
although the animals defend the farm the windmill is once again destroyed. The pigs decide to $uild the
mill again, and they cut down the food ration. #nd some day )oxer $rea%s down. e is sold to a $utcher,
whereas =apoleon tells the pigs that )oxer was $rought to a hospital where he has died. Three years
later the mill was finally ready. .n this time =apoleon deepens the relations with the neigh$our farm,
and one day =apoleon even invites the owners of this farm for an inspection. They sit inside the
farmhouse and cele$rate the efficiency of his farm, where the animals wor% very hard with the minimum
of food. 7uring this cele$ration all the other animals have meet at the window of the farm, and as they
loo% inside they can't distinguish $etween man and animal.
#s its title implies, #nimal &arm is set on a farm. )ut Orwell uses the farm to represent a universe in
miniature. .t sometimes seems idyllic, peaceful, fresh, spring(li%e. "sually moments when it is perceived
in this way contrast ironically with the real situation of the animals. The setting suggests an attitude:
"this could $e utopia, $ut..." .t does not really interest Orwell in itself. !ometimes he s%etches a wintry,
$lea%, cold decor, a perfect $ac%drop for hard times. ere you could thin% of the setting as a metaphor, a
way of representing hard times.
#nimal &arm concerns one of the central political experiences of our time: revolution.
On those relatively rare occasions when men and women have decided to change radically the system of
government they were $orn under, there has $een revolution. .t has $een on the rise in the last three
hundred years of human history.
#nimal &arm is also a$out another crucial political phenomenon of our time, one which is perhaps
unique to the 4,th century: the rise of the totalitarian state. Even though he's less concerned with
totalitarianism in #nimal &arm than in his novel *+EA, Orwell does give us an imaginative analysis of
totalitarian dictatorship in #nimal &arm.
The story of #nimal &arm is told in a simple, straightforward style. The sentences are often short and
spare, with a simple su$6ect(ver$(o$6ect structure: "Old ;a6or cleared his throat and $egan to sing." ".t
was a $itter winter."
The story follows a single line of action, calmly told, with no digressions. Orwell's style, said one critic,
has "relentless simplicity" and "pathetic doggedness" of the animals themselves. There is a %ind of
tension in #nimal &arm $etween the sad story the author has to tell and the lucid, almost light way he
tells it.
Point of View
Orwell uses point of view in #nimal &arm to create irony. .rony is a contrast or contradiction, such as
$etween what a statement seems to say and what it really means, or $etween what characters expect to
happen and what really happens. The story is told from the naive point of view of the lower animals, not
from that of the clever pigs or an all(seeing narrator. Thus, when there's a crash one night and !quealer
is found in the $arn sprawled on the ground $eside a $ro%en ladder, a $rush, and a pot of paint, it is "a
strange incident which hardly anyone was a$le to understand." # few days later the animals find that the
&ifth 2ommandment painted on the $arn wall is not exactly as they remem$ered it< in fact there are,
they can now see, two words at the end that "they had forgotten." =o comment from the narrator.
This simple irony is sometimes charged with great intensity in #nimal &arm. &or example, when )oxer,
who has literally wor%ed himself to death for the &arm, is carted off in a van to the "hospital," and
)en6amin reads out "orse !laughterer" on the side of the van ?too late@, we %now, and for once at least
some of the animals %now, what has really happened: the sic% horse has $een sold for glue. =o irony. )ut
when !quealer gives his fa%e explanation a$out the vet who didn't have time to paint over the
slaughterer's old sign, we are gravely informed that "The animals were enormously relieved to hear
this." #nd two paragraphs later, at the end of the chapter, when there is a $anquet ?for the pigs@ in
)oxer's honor, we hear the sound of singing coming from the farmhouse, and the last sentence tells us
that the word went round that from somewhere or other the pigs had acquired the money to $uy
themselves another case of whis%y." ;ost of the animals don't ma%e the connection $etween )oxer's
$eing ta%en away and the pigs suddenly having more money((and the narrator doesn't seem to ma%e the
connection either. )ut Orwell ma%es sure we, the readers, don't miss it. The irony ?the contrast $etween
what the animals $elieve, what the narrator actually tells us, and what we %now to $e the truth@ fills us
with more anger than an open denunciation could have done.
Form and Structure
#nimal &arm successfully com$ines the characteristics of three literary forms ( the fa$le, the satire, and
the allegory.
#nimal &arm is a fa$le ?a story usually having a moral, in which $easts tal% and act li%e men and
women@. Orwell's animal characters are $oth animal and human. The pigs, for example, eat mash ?real
pig food@ $ut with mil% in it that they have gra$$ed and persuaded the other animals to let them %eep ?a
human action@. The dogs growl and $ite the way real dogs do, $ut to support =apoleon's drive for
political power. Orwell never forgets this delicate $alance $etween how real animals actually $ehave and
what human qualities his animals are supposed to represent.
3art of the fa$le's humorous charm lies in the simplicity with which the characters are drawn. Each
animal character is a type, with one human trait, or two at most((traits usually associated with that
particular %ind of animal. "sing animals as types is also Orwell's way of %eeping his hatred and anger
against exploiters under control. .nstead of crying, "#ll political $osses are vicious pigs/" he %eeps his
sense of humor $y reporting calmly: ".n future, all questions relating to the wor%ing of the farm would
$e settled $y a special committee of pigs." ?=o wonder that when a pu$lisher who re6ected the $oo%,
afraid to give offense, wanted to have some animal other than pigs representing these $osses, Orwell
called it an "im$ecile suggestion."@
The aspect of human life that most interested Orwell was not psychological< it was political: how people
act as a group, how societies are formed and function. 2learly, #nimal &arm is a story a$out a revolution
for an ideal, and a$out how that ideal is increasingly $etrayed until it disappears altogether from the new
society after the revolution. !ince Orwell attac%s that new society, and since, despite the grim, $itter
picture he paints of it, he attac%s it with humor ?the humor of the $east fa$le@, we can also call #nimal
&arm a satire.
The immediate o$6ect of attac% in Orwell's political satire is the society that was created in :ussia after
the )olshevi% :evolution of *+*5. The events narrated in #nimal &arm o$viously and continuously refer
to events in another story, the history of the :ussian :evolution. .n other words, #nimal &arm is not
only a charming fa$le ?"# &airy !tory," as Orwell playfully su$titles it@ and a $itter political satire< it is
also an allegory.
Fou can en6oy #nimal &arm without %nowing this, of course, 6ust as you can en6oy !wift's Gulliver's
Travels without realiBing that it, too, is a $itter satire and in places a political allegory. )ut to understand
the $oo% as fully as possi$le, we'll want to pay attention to the historical allegory as we go along.
The novel Animal Farm is a satire on the :ussian revolution, and therefore full of sym$olism. General
Orwell associates certain real characters with the characters of the $oo%. ere is a list of the characters
and things and their meaning:
Mr Jones: the farmer ;r 1ones stands for the :ussian Tsar =icolaii the second who was forced to
a$dicate after the successful &e$ruary(revolution. )ut ;r 1ones also somehow stands for the moral
decline of men in a capitalist or feudalist type of socierty.
Old Major: Old ma6or on the one hand represents the wor%ers of the 3utilow factory, who started the
&e$ruary(revolution, and on the other hand Old ;a6or is representing the :ussian intelligentsia. )ut it is
also possi$le that Orwell made Old ;a6or a sym$ol for Carl ;arx and &riedrich Engels, who somehow
invented the communist ideology. #nother possi$ility is that Old ;a6or represents 0ladimir .l6itsch
8enin, the leader of the Octo$er revolution.
Napoleon: 0ithout dou$t =apoleon stands for 1osef 0issarionowitsch !talin, one of the most cruel
dictators in worlds history.
Benjamin: in communist :ussia, or the "!!:, would $e an old intellectual or professor. !omeone that
has a good education and that has read a$out similar revolutions, which have not wor%ed. e is smart in
the sense that he %nows a$out =apoleonGs tyranny enough to %eep quiet. e %nows that if he spea%s or
acts against =apoleon he might get hurt. e %nows that =apoleon would not tolerate opposition.
)en6amin is a sceptic and a pessimist we could almost say a cynic, if it were not for his loyal devotion to
)oxer. e is also unli%e )oxer in that he does not $elieve in the :evolution or in anything else, except in
what he has seen and felt. e $elieves only that life is hard and that it will always $e that way. e is the
only one that %new and saw the corruption of the pigs. e is wise and his hard life made him what he is
rancorous. .n the end his wisdom and %nowledge lets him survive through something he never $elieved
Squealer: This pig is an excellent spea%er. !quealer convinces all animals to follow the revolution.
!quealer convinced the animals that =apoleon was a great leader that all of the animals should defend
and $e proud of him, $ut what truly was happing was that =apoleon wasnGt actually doing anything
unless $rea%ing the animal farm rules.
!quealer is short, fat, twin%le(eyed and nim$le, "a $rilliant tal%er." e has a way of s%ipping from side
to side and whis%ing his tail that is somehow very persuasive. They say he can turn $lac% into white/
That's 6ust what he does, again and again: every time the pigs ta%e more wealth and power, !quealer
persuades the animals that this is a$solutely necessary for the well $eing of all. 0hen things are scarce,
he proves that production has increased( with figures. e is also the one who ma%es all the changes in
the !even 2ommandments. .n human terms he is the propaganda apparatus that spreads the "$ig lie"
and ma%es people $elieve in it.
Snowball: !now$all is a sym$ol for 8eo 7awidowitsch TrotB%y. Trots%y participated in the revolution
and he was seen as !talinGs opponent for the leader of the !oviet "nion and as a result !talin expelled
!now$all together with =apoleon lead the revolution and $ecame HleadersG when the revolution
succeeded. !now$all in the $eginning showed that he was a more intelligent pig then =apoleon. e was
a good orator, he could easily convince people he was right. !now$all was a visionary leader. e was
inventive and planned to improve life for the animals, he wanted to change and improve. !now$all was
the one who wrote and thought of the seven commandments. This shows us that he really wants a new
and $etter life for the animals.
#fter a while, however, he gets more and more corrupt: the first sign that !now$all is not thin%ing of the
animals $ut only in himself is that he agrees that the pig should get the apples and the mil%. e
?together with the other pigs@ is ta%ing advantage of the other animals, !now$all is $ecoming human.
Boxer & Cloer: These three animals are a sing for the :ussian wor%ing(class, which was convinced
of the necessity of the :evolution. The :ussian wor%ing(class then has $uild up the industry, which was
forty years $ehind the western countries. Then this class that has done so much for the prosperity of
:ussia has $een $etrayed $y the 2ommunist party, or in this case the pigs. Orwell also shows up that the
proles are not very intelligent.
!i"s: Orwell has chosen the pigs to represent the communist 3arty. )efore and short after the
revolution the acted li%e $eing loyal to the wor%ing(class, or common animals, $ut later they have
$ecame 6ust li%e, the tsar family. They 6ust exploit the wor%ing(class, an they live in luxury and
#o"s: The dogs were recruited $y the pigs to protect their own power and might. The dogs were also
used to evict and to intimidate political enemies within their own rows ?for example: !now$all(TrotB%y@.
!o one can say that the cruel dogs stand for the army and the secret(police.
Moses: The raven ;oses is a sym$ol for the orthodox church, that was somehow an allied of the
:ussian Tsar. ;oses always told stories of the "!ugar 2andy ;ountain" where all dead animals live on.
;oses tries to persuade the animals that there is no need for revolution.
$ats & $abbits: The rats and the ra$$its, who are regarded as wild animals, somehow represent the
socialist movement, the so(called ";enschevi%i". .n the very $eginning of the $oo% the animals vote if
rats and ra$$its should $e comrades.
!i"eons: The pigeons, who fly out each day to spread out he message of the victory, represent the
"2ommunist 0orld :evolution".
Farm buildin"s: The farm stands for the Cremlin. .n the early days of the "!!: there were
sightseeing tours trough the Cremlin. 8ater it $ecame the residence of !talin< %indmill: The 0indmill
for example stands for the :ussian industry, that has $een $uild up $y the wor%ing(class.
&umans: 'he humans stand (or the )apitalists* who exploit the wea+,
Frederi)+s: !tands for itler. There also has $een an arrangement. ?allusion to &ritB@
Foxwood: &oxwood farm is representing England.
!in)h(iled: 3inchfiled sym$olises Germany.
Napoleon's Pursuit for Power
3ower/ 3ower> . want it/ Fou pro$a$ly want it, most people around the world desire it. 3ower is what
ma%es people wor%. )efore . can start tal%ing a$out the role power has in human nature . must define it.
;astery, authority and hegemony are expression that reflects power. They have the same meaning they
are synonyms. Omnipotence, . $elieve, is the most closely equivalent to power. 0ho doesn't li%e a $it of
power> To have authority over someone is one of the $est feelings you have, people see% this, they want
power at any cost.
#s far as there was humans there was power. !ince the $eginning of the world's history there is a
desperate attempt to have power. Government/ The living proof of this greed is any form of Government.
There has always $een some sort of a government and in every government there is some sort of
ence< there has always $een one man with more power then the other. )rutus and his followers plot to
murder 2aesar is evidence that humans will do any thing to move up this hierarchy. 0hy do people
wor% hard> To get a $etter 6o$, to go a step further in their profession and get more power. #rmament
race, space race, etc. These are desperate attempt to show power over other countries.
George Orwell see%s to show this human desire. .n #nimal &arm, Orwell's fa$le, =apoleon, !now$all,
1ones, 3il%ington long for this nectar of gods. They constantly want to ta%e advantage over each other
they want edict over each other. Total power is most li%ely to occur in a dictatorship. .n #nimal &arm
Orwell shows us that communism is a dictatorship, therefore the possi$ility of a tyrant, or a$solute ruler,
is very pro$a$le and real.
This longing for power is already evident in the first chapter. 0hat is freedom> &reedom is when you
have power over your self. The animals want this. "The wor% of teaching and organising fell naturally
upon the pigs, who were generally recognised as $eing the cleverest of animals." #lready the pigs have
more power over the other animals. The animals $elieve the pigs are more intelligent so they thin% that
the 3igs should teach and organise. Organise> .sn't organising a sort of ruling. Fes, the pigs are ruling
even $efore the revolution. They have power over the animals even $efore the revolution.
#fter the revolution the pigs start to rule. They give orders, they do not do the manual wor% they
supervise. They have the power to give orders, the power to only supervise while the rest do the manual
3ower corrupts/ This is and will always $e true until human nature is swept off the face of the earth. The
$oars get the apples and mil%. "Our sole o$6ect in ta%ing these thing is to preserve our health." !now$all
manages to "...turn $lac% into white..." and ma%e the ro$$ing sound euphemistic. The animals don't see
the truth and are cheated. !quealer uses his a$ility to "...turn $lac% into white..." for the pigs own good.
e is a$using his power.
The more you get the more you want. # simple $ut true statement. =apoleon has power, $ut he still
want's more of it. ")ut it was noticed that these twoI=apoleon and !now$allJ were never in
agreement..." =apoleon and !now$all don't want to share their power $etween themselves. They want
total power.
They disagree with each other, they fight against each other to show off their power. They compete
against themselves.
The counter(revolution led $y 1ones shows us that people don't give up their power so easily. They will
fight until the end to preserve it. =apoleon and !now$all again disagree with each other in the windmill
affair. =apoleon uses "...four legs good, two legs $ad..." to sa$otage !now$all. e hires the sheep to
constantly interrupt !now$all.
The most evident show off desire for power is when =apoleon uses the 7ogs to chase !now$all of the
farm. =apoleon isn't ready to share his power. )rutus, !talin and many other famous leaders 6ust weren't
ready to share their power. They need and yearn for the power for themselves. "...and when he falleth, he
falleth li%e 8ucifer, never to ascend again..." =apoleon fights to the end of the $oo% to $lame everything
on !now$all. 0ith this not only does he have a scapegoat $ut he also eliminates any chance of loosing
power. !now$all was the only one that could challenge =apoleon's power, $y $laming everything that
goes wrong on !now$all, =apoleon ma%es !now$all's reputation one of an evil and mean pig. This way
the animals would hate !now$all and =apoleons power will $e left unchallenged.
Total power leads to a$use. =apoleon starts to a$use of the animals. "=apoleon read out the orders for
the wee% in a gruff soldierly style..." Gruff> .sn't all the animals supposedly equal> The rules of
animalism are already started to $e $ro%en. This is a consequence of having only one leader, a
unrestricted leader. 7emocracy is already deteriorating. "=apoleon...!quealer...and ;inimus...sat on the
front of the raised platform.... The rest of the animals sat facing them on the main $ody of the $arn." The
animals aren't equal anymore. =apoleon is supreme, his a$ove them. =apoleon has acquired power,
autocracy, and now no$ody can affront him.
0ith this power he is a$le to ma%e !quealer convince people to wor% more with lies. "This wor% was
strictly voluntary, $ut any animal who a$sented himself from it would have his rations reduced $y half."
Koluntary> =o, not at all. =apoleon is cheating the animals in to wor% more for him. This happens
$ecause there is no$ody to loc% horns with him.
0ith propaganda =apoleon manages to ta%e even more power over the animals. =apoleon then decides
to sell the hens eggs. The hens did revolt against =apoleons decision $ut power changes people, it is li%e
a drug it ma%es you want more of it every time you get some. =o$ody can change =apoleons ideals.
=apoleon ordered "...the hens rations to $e stopped." =apoleon does not care for any$ody $ut him. This
is an unfortunate result of power. ;ay$e the only opposition left to =apoleon is )oxer. e is $ig,
stronger then all of dogs and is starting to thin%. =apoleon then ma%es the dogs attac% )oxer. e %nows
it is a gam$le and therefore orders only three dogs to attac% and in a moment of chaos. "...for a few
moments they appeared to go quite mad...three of them flung themselves upon )oxer." .t does not wor%.
3ower leads to lust. =apoleon drin%s and produces alcohol. =apoleon alters the commandments to fit
him $est. =apoleon is constantly using propaganda to %eep him in power. ;inimus' songs, manipulation
of words are all propaganda to put =apoleon in a good spot. The parades are not "spontaneous" as it is
called this is all a propaganda tric%. 3ower leads the pig to get privileges and luxury. The one candidate
election is another tric% to hive =apoleon more power.
=apoleon says he disagrees with religion $ut he lets the raven spread religious ideas $ecause =apoleon
%nows that if the animals thin% that: if they wor% hard in this life they will get a good "life" after death,
the "sugar candy mountain" or heaven, the animals will wor% hard. =apoleon uses all the money for the
dogs and pigs. The animals have no privileges.
3ower will always lead to corruption, a$use and manipulation. .t is human nature. .t has and will always
exists. The more you get power the more you want it.
What the story tries to tell us
The story starts with a good intention: The animals ta%e action against men and fight against all $ad
things they had to suffer.
)ut the animals aren't equal. There are more and less intelligent ones, and step $y step, the pigs, that
were the most intelligent animals, too% over leadership, which leaded under =apoleon to a dictatorship.
0hy did it came to this point> ;ostly, it was the fault of every other animal on farm. The pigs could do
what they wanted to, $ecause no animal realised what happened to their farm. #t first, they didn't try
hard enough to learn reading and writing, then they 6ust followed the leaders instead of ta%ing any
actions. Even when !now$all was expelled from the farm, they too% no action.
The author wants to teach us, that you should always thin% for yourself what is good and what is $ad.
)ut to do this, it is necessary to have a good education.. :eading and writing is important, and loo% at
the history and learn from the $ad things that happened.