ANIMAL FARM Animal Farm is basically a science fiction story based on the Russian Revolution and put into a book, where instead of humans, the animals are the main characters. Animal Farm is also a story about how power can overcome people who don't know how to use it correctly and from that, in almost any situation comes a revolution or as it was stated in Animal Farm a rebellion. All of this makes Animal Farm a really fun and great story that George Orwell has given us.

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CHARACTERS:

The Animals

Old Major

Old Major is the wise old pig whose stirring speech to the animals helps set the Rebellion in motion- though he dies before it actually begins. His role compares with that of Karl Marx, whose ideas set the Communist Revolution in motion.

Napolean

Napoleon is a "large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, not much of a talker, but with a reputation for getting his own way." And so he does. Instead of debating with Snowball, he sets his dogs on him and continues to increase his personal power and privileges from that time on. What counts for him is power, not ideas. Note his name: think of the other Napoleon (Bonaparte) who took over the French Revolution and turned it into a personal Empire. Napoleon's character also suggests that of Stalin and other dictators as well.

Snowball

Snowball is an energetic, brilliant leader. He's the one who successfully organizes the defense of the Farm (like Trotsky with the Red Army). He's an eloquent speaker with original- although not necessarily beneficial- ideas (the windmill).

Squealer

Squealer is short, fat, twinkle-eyed and nimble, "a brilliant talker." He has a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail that is somehow very persuasive. They say he can turn black into white! That's just what he does, again and again: every time the pigs take more wealth and power, Squealer persuades the animals that this is absolutely necessary for the well-being of all. When things are scarce, he proves that production has increased- with figures. He is also the one who makes all the changes in the Seven Commandments. In human terms he is the propaganda apparatus that spreads the "big lie" and makes people believe in it.

Boxer

Boxer believes in the Rebellion and in its Leader. His two favorite sayings are "Napoleon is always right" and "I will work harder." His huge size and strength and his untiring labor save the Farm again and again. He finally collapses from age and overwork, and is sold for glue.

Clover

Clover the mare is a motherly, protective figure. She survives to experience, dimly and wordlessly, all the sadness of the failed Revolution.

Mollie

Mollie, the frivolous, luxury-loving mare, contrasts with Clover. She deserts Animal Farm for sugar and ribbons at a human inn. Orwell may have been thinking of certain Russian nobles who left after the Revolution, or of a general human type.

Napolean's Dogs

The dogs represent the means used by a totalitarian state to terrorize its own people. Think of them as Napoleon's secret police.

Muriel

Muriel the goat reads better than Clover and often reads things (such as Commandments) out loud to her.

the Sheep

The stupid sheep keep bleating away any slogan the pigs teach them. You can guess who they are.

Moses

Moses the Raven, who does no work, but tells comforting tales of the wonderful Sugarcandy Mountain where you go when you die, is a satire of organized religion. (Marx called religion, in a famous phrase, "the opiate of the people.") In terms of Russia, Moses represents the Orthodox Church. Watch what happens to him in the story.

Pigeons

The pigeons spread the word of Rebellion beyond the farm, as many Communists spread the doctrine of the revolution beyond the boundaries of the Soviet Union.

Benjamen

Gloomy Benjamin, the donkey, may remind you of Eeyore in Winnie-the-Pooh, except that unlike Eeyore he never complains about his own personal problems. He is a skeptic and a pessimist- we'd almost say a cynic, if it weren't for his loyal devotion to Boxer. Like his friend, he doesn't talk much and patiently does his work, although- unlike Boxer- no more than is required. He's also unlike Boxer in that he does not believe in the Revolution, nor in anything else, except that life is hard. Whatever political question he is asked, he replies only that "Donkeys live a long time" and "None of you has ever seen a dead donkey." He survives.

The Humans

Jones

In the narrowest sense the drunken, negligent Farmer Jones represents the Czar. He also stands for any government that declines through its own corruption and mismanagement.

Pilkington

Pilkington, who likes hunting and fishing more than farming, represents Orwell's view of the decadent British gentleman in particular- and of the Allied nations in general, especially Britain and France.

Whymper

Whymper is a commercial go-between for animals and humans- just as certain capitalists have always transacted business with Communist nations.

Frederick

the cruel Frederick doesn't really represent anything, but he does kind of show a strong resemblance toward Geramny, the cruel nation that it is.

PLOT:

One night when Farmer Jones has gone to bed drunk, all the animals of Manor Farm assemble in the barn for a meeting. Old Major, the prize pig, wants to tell them about a strange dream he had. First, he tells them in clear, powerful language "the nature of life" as he has come to understand it. Animals toil, suffer, get barely enough to eat; as soon as they are no longer useful, they are slaughtered. And why? Because animals are enslaved by Man, "the only creature that consumes without producing." There is only one solution: Man must be removed. And animals must be perfectly united for their common goal: Rebellion.

After a brief interruption caused by the dogs chasing after some rats and a vote proposed by Major to decide if rats are comrades (they are), Major sums up: All animals are friends, Man is the enemy. Animals must avoid Man's habits: no houses, beds, clothes, alcohol, money, trade. Above all, "we are brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal." He cannot describe his dream to them, "a dream of the earth as it will be when Man has vanished." But he does teach them an old animal song, "Beasts of England," which came back to him in his dream. The repeated singing of this revolutionary song throws the animals into a frenzy.

Major dies soon after, but the animals feel they should prepare for the Rebellion he preached. The work of teaching and organizing the others falls on the pigs, thought to be the cleverest animals. Snowball and Napoleon are "pre-eminent among the pigs"; and then there is Squealer, "a brilliant talker."

Mr. Jones drinks and neglects his farm more and more. One evening, when he has forgotten to feed them for over a day, the animals break into the store-shed and begin helping themselves. Jones and his men charge in, lashing with their whips. This is more than the hungry animals can bear. They all fling themselves on their tormentors. The surprised and frightened men are driven from the farm. Unexpectedly, the Rebellion has been accomplished. Jones is expelled; Manor Farm belongs to the animals.

Social Context:

These are the Original Seven Commandments of Animalism that were created by the pigs after the animals took over the farm and changed the name from "Manor Farm" to "Animal Farm".

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.

2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.

3. No animal shall wear clothes.

4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.

5. No animal shall drink alcohol.

6. No animal shall kill any other animal.

7. All animals are equal.

This is the song that was taught to the animal by Old major on the night he explained his dream/vision of a Rebellion, which was song to the beat of "La Cucaracha".

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland, Beasts of every land and clime, Hearken to my joyful tidings Of the golden future time. Soon or late the day is coming, Tyrant Man shall be o'erthrown, And the fruitful fields of England Shall be trod by beasts alone. Rings shall vanish from our noses, And the harness from our back, Bit and spur shall rust forever, Cruel whips no more shall crack. Riches more than mind can picture, Wheat and braley, oats and hay, Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels Shall be ours upon that day. Bright will shine the fields of England, Purer shall its waters be, Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes On the day that sets us free. For that day we all must labor, Though we die before it break; Cows and horses, geese and turkeys, All must toil for freedom's sake. Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland, Beasts of every land and clime, Hearken well and spread my tidings Of the golden future time.

Toward the end, Napolean and the other pigs reduce the Seven Commandments to one, which was...

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHER

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