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ANALYSIS OF ANIMAL FARM

Summary of Animal Farm by George Orwell









One night, all the animals at Mr. Jones' Manor Farm assemble in a barn to hear old Major, a pig, describe a dream he had about a world where all animals live free from the tyranny of their human masters. old Major dies soon after the meeting, but the animals — inspired by his philosophy of Animalism — plot a rebellion against Jones. Two pigs, Snowball and
Napoleon, prove themselves important figures and planners of this dangerous enterprise. When Jones forgets to feed the animals, the revolution occurs, and Jones and his men are chased off the farm. Manor Farm is renamed Animal Farm, and the Seven Commandments of Animalism are painted on the barn wall.
Initially, the rebellion is a success: The animals complete the harvest and meet every Sunday to debate farm policy. The pigs, because of their intelligence, become the supervisors of the farm. Napoleon, however, proves to be a power-hungry leader who steals the cows' milk and a number of apples to feed himself and the other pigs. He also enlists the services of Squealer, a pig with the ability to persuade the other animals that the pigs are always moral and correct in their decisions.
Later that fall, Jones and his men return to Animal Farm and attempt to retake it. Thanks to the tactics of Snowball,  the animals defeat Jones in what thereafter becomes known as The Battle of the Cowshed. Winter arrives, and Mollie, a vain horse concerned only with ribbons and sugar, is lured off the farm by another human. Snowball begins drawing plans for a windmill, which will provide electricity and thereby give the animals more leisure time, but Napoleon vehemently opposes such a plan on the grounds that building the windmill will allow them less time for producing food. On the Sunday that the pigs offer the windmill to the animals for a vote, Napoleon summons a pack of ferocious dogs, who chase Snowball off the farm forever. Napoleon announces that there will be no further debates; he also tells them that the windmill will be built after all and lies that it was his own idea, stolen by Snowball. For the rest of the novel, Napoleon uses Snowball as a scapegoat on whom he blames all of the animals' hardships.
Much of the next year is spent building the windmill. Boxer, an incredibly strong horse, proves himself to be the most valuable animal in this endeavor. Jones, meanwhile, forsakes the farm and moves to another part of the county. Contrary to the principles of Animalism, Napoleon hires a solicitor and begins trading with neighboring farms. When a storm topples the half-finished windmill, Napoleon predictably blames Snowball and orders the animals to begin rebuilding it.
Napoleon's lust for power increases to the point where he becomes a totalitarian dictator, forcing "confessions" from innocent animals and having the dogs kill them in front of the entire farm. He and the pigs move into Jones' house and begin sleeping in beds (which Squealer excuses with his brand of twisted logic). The animals receive less and less food, while the pigs grow fatter. After the windmill is completed in August, Napoleon sells a pile of timber to Jones; Frederick, a neighboring farmer who pays for it with forged banknotes. Frederick and his men attack the farm and explode the windmill but are eventually defeated. As more of the Seven Commandments of Animalism are broken by the pigs, the language of the Commandments is revised: For example, after the pigs become drunk one night, the Commandment, "No animals shall drink alcohol" is changed to, "No animal shall drink alcohol to excess."
Boxer again offers his strength to help build a new windmill, but when he collapses, exhausted, Napoleon sells the devoted horse to a knacker (a glue-boiler). Squealer tells the indignant animals that Boxer was actually taken to a veterinarian and died a peaceful death in a hospital — a tale the animals believe.
Years pass and Animal Farm expands its boundaries after Napoleon purchases two fields from another neighboring farmer, Pilkington. Life for all the animals (except the pigs) is harsh. Eventually, the pigs begin walking on their hind legs and take on many other qualities of their former human oppressors. The Seven Commandments are reduced to a single law: "All Animals Are Equal / But Some Are More Equal Than Others." The novel ends with Pilkington sharing drinks with the pigs in Jones' house. Napoleon changes the name of the farm back to Manor Farm and quarrels with Pilkington during a card game in which both of them try to play the ace of spades. As other animals watch the scene from outside the window, they cannot tell the pigs from the humans. 

Roles Characters Analysis of Napoleon in Animal Farm George Orwell


Napoleon
From the very beginning of the novella, Napoleon emerges as an utterly corrupt opportunist. Though always present at the early meetings of the new state, Napoleon never makes a single contribution to the revolution—not to the formulation of its ideology, not to the bloody struggle that it necessitates, not to the new society’s initial attempts to establish itself. He never shows interest in the strength of Animal Farm itself, only in the strength of his power over it. Thus, the only project he undertakes with enthusiasm is the training of a litter of puppies. He doesn’t educate them for their own good or for the good of all, however, but rather for his own good: they become his own private army or secret police, a violent means by which he imposes his will on others.
Although he is most directly modeled on the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Napoleon represents, in a more general sense, the political tyrants that have emerged throughout human history and with particular frequency during the twentieth century. His namesake is not any communist leader but the early-eighteenth-century French general Napoleon, who betrayed the democratic principles on which he rode to power, arguably becoming as great a despot as the aristocrats whom he supplanted. It is a testament to Orwell’s acute political intelligence and to the universality of his fable that Napoleon can easily stand for any of the great dictators and political schemers in world history, even those who arose after Animal Farm was written. In the behavior of Napoleon and his henchmen, one can detect the lying and bullying tactics of totalitarian leaders such as Josip Tito, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, Augusto Pinochet, and Slobodan Milosevic treated in sharply critical terms.



Old Major

A wise and persuasive pig, old Major inspires the rebellion with his rhetorical skill and ability to get the other animals to share his indignation. When he announces that he wishes to share the contents of his strange dream with his companions, all the animals comply, demonstrating the great respect they have for such an important (that is, "major") figure. His speech about the tyranny of man is notable for its methodical enumeration of man's wrongs against the animals. Listing all of man's crimes, old Major rouses the other animals into planning the rebellion. His leading them in singing "Beasts of England" is another demonstration of his rhetorical skills, for after he teaches the animals the song about a world untainted by human hands, the animals sing it five times in succession.
The flaw in old Major's thinking is that he places total blame on man for all the animals' ills. According to him, once they "Remove Man from the scene," then "the root cause of hunger and overwork" will be abolished forever. Clearly, old Major believes that Man is capable only of doing harm and that animals are capable only of doing good. Such one-dimensional thinking that ignores the desire for power inherent in all living things can only result in its being disproved. Also ironic is old Major's admonition to the animals: "Remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him." This warning is ignored by Napoleon and the other pigs, who, by the novel's end, completely resemble their human masters.

SNOWBALL (A PIG)
Battle Royale
We meet Snowball when the pigs decide to spread Old Major's message through the farm. He's "a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character" (2.2). In other words, the animals are fooled by Snowball's appearance: because he's friendly and lively, they assume that he's a ditz. (
)
After Napoleon's dogs chase off Snowball, you might feel a little sorry for the pig. You might even start to think of him as a great and noble hero. Unfortunately, you're probably wrong. Sure, Snowball took an active part in the rebellion and helped set up the Seven Commandments, but he also reduced the commandments to the simplistic line "four legs good, two legs bad" (3.9).
Easy to remember? Yes. But it's also kind of meaningless—and the sheep can be trained to bleat it over Snowball's speeches. Plus, when the other animals aren't too happy that the pigs take all the milk, Snowball insists that they need it for all their brainwork. He may not be around when the pigs turn Animal Farm into a dictatorship, but he goes along with the first steps before he gets elbowed out. If he'd hung around, who knows? Maybe he'd be the one getting drunk on Mr. Jones's whiskey.
The Great Divide
After Snowball heads the victorious Battle of Cowshed,
with him and Napoleon. We learn that Snowball is a much better public speaker, and that he "often won over the majority by his brilliant speeches, but Napoleon was better at canvassing support for himself in between times" (5.8). In other words, Snowball isn't bringing the game—or rather, Napoleon is playing a different game.
And then there's the issue of the Windmill. This is Snowball's pet project; he thinks it's vital to the future success of Animal Farm. Plus, Snowball wants the Rebellion to spread; he wants to send out "more and more pigeons to stir up rebellion among the animals on other farms" (5.12). Like Old Major, Snowball is kind of a dreamer: he imagines greater technical achievements on the farm and a revolution that can spread all the way across England. Not Napoleon. All Napoleon wants to do is consolidate the power he's already gained.
The problem is, Snowball isn't mean. He might be a little , but he's at heart an idealist. When he and Napoleon both make speeches to the crowd, Snowball is much more charismatic, and as he finishes, "there was no doubt as to which way the vote would go" (5.13).
But no one counted on the dogs. Napoleon lets out his private army, and they chase Snowball off the farm. Napoleon spreads lies and rumors, making Snowball into a symbol of the enemy within—the guy who only seems like he's on your side.
And all he wanted was a windmill. (And some milk.)
Leon "Snowball" Trotsky
, the leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution. But he's really more like Leon Trotsky, Lenin's second-in-command. Let's look at the similarities:
Trotsky helped win the Revolution. After the Russian Revolution, Trotsky served as the People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs. During the Russian Civil War—a fight between the Red Army of communists and the White Army of anti-communists—Trotsky helped lead the Red Army to victory. In
Animal Farm , Snowball leads the animals to victory in the Battle of Cowshed.
Trotsky wanted to spread the Communist Revolution to the rest of the world. Hey, that's just what Snowball wants to do! But not Stalin / Napoleon: he wants to consolidate his power on Animal Farm.
Trotsky was elbowed out of the Communist Party . After Lenin's death, Trotsky's political party criticized the hierarchical and close nature of Stalin's Communist Party. In response, Stalin kicked him out of the Communist Party and then exiled him from Russia.
Wondering what happens to Snowball after he disappears through hole in the hedge? Well, Trotsky ended up in Mexico, until, in 1940, Stalin send KGB agent Ramón Mercader to assassinate him. So, we have a pretty good idea of what's in store for poor Snowball.


Boxer
The male of the two horses on the farm. He is “an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together. A white stripe down his nose gave him a somewhat stupid appearance, and in fact he was not of first-rate intelligence, but he was universally respected for his steadiness of character and tremendous powers of work” (26). Boxer has a special affinity for Benjamin. With his determination to be a good public servant and his penchant for hard work, Boxer becomes Napoleon’s greatest supporter. He works tirelessly for the cause of Animal Farm, operating under his personal maxims, “I will work harder” and “Napoleon is always right.” The only time Boxer doubts propaganda is when Squealer tries to rewrite the story of Snowball’s valor at the Battle of the Cowshed, a “treachery” for which he is nearly executed. But Boxer recants his doubts when he learns that the altered story of the battle is directly from Napoleon. After Boxer is injured while defending the farm in the Battle of the Windmill, Napoleon sends him to be slaughtered for profit. The pigs use the money from the slaughter to buy themselves a a case of whisky. Boxer is not pugnacious despite his name, but he is as strong as his name implies. In this way, Boxer is a painfully ironic character. He is strong enough to kill another animal, even a human, with a single blow from his hoof, and the dogs cannot manage to overpower him in Chapter VII. Still, Boxer lacks the intelligence and the nerve to sense that he is being used. Boxer represents the peasant or working class, a faction of humanity with a great combined strength but which is uneducated enough to take propaganda to heart and believe unconditionally in the government’s cause

SQUEALER (A PIG)

Squealer. Do you get it? He squeals. A lot.
Or, as the narrator puts it, he's "a brilliant talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive. The others said of Squealer that he could turn black into white" (2.2). He's the one-pig PR outfit of Napoleon's regime, with a quick mind, nimble tongue, and absolutely no morals whatsoever.
(Click the character infographic to download.)
Squealer makes his debut appearance when he justifies the fact that the pigs have hoarded milk and apples for themselves. He claims that these foods "contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of the pig. We pigs are brainworkers" (3.14).
Okay, sure, But then later, when Napoleon eliminates the public meetings, Squealer is sent to explain the decision to the other animals. He tells them:
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? (5.19)
Hm. Maybe it's just us, but the logic seems a little backwards here. The animals can't make their own decisions, because… they might make the wrong decisions? That doesn't sound quite right. It's hard to know, though, because Squealer says it in such a roundabout way and almost forces the animals to agree. After all, it would be bad if the animals made the wrong decision. But the point of communism (or democracy, for that matter), is that people get to make the decisions they make, whether good or bad.
Squealer also knows how to play on gut instinct and prejudices, like explaining away any grumbling by saying, "Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?" (5.21). Meanwhile, Squealer's entire job seems to be to the hide the fact that Jones is coming back—as a pig named Napoleon. He justifies the windmill; spreads rumors about Snowball; constantly changes the Seven Commandments; squashes the revolutionary song "Beasts of England"; and even manages to explain the confusion with Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington as Napoleon just being clever.
And then there's his excuse about Boxer: after Benjamin tells the animals that Boxer has been placed in a knacker's (horse slaughter's) van, Squealer tells them that the vehicle only
used to be a knacker's van. It now belongs to a doctor . He even has a whole elaborate story about his experience at Boxer's deathbed: "It was the most affecting sight I have ever seen" (9.25).
Squealer and Stalin
Napoleon is obviously Stalin, and Snowball is pretty obviously Trotsky, but Squealer… is a little less obvious. Some people think he's supposed to be Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin's Prime Minister in the 1930s, who issued a lot of the death warrants during the Great Purge and basically sucked up to Stalin wherever possible.
Squealer is also a more general allegorical figure for propaganda. Stalin's propaganda team used (and abused) language and images to keep the public calm and keep their control. Squealer's arguments even sound a little like those in Pravda, a daily paper that was the Soviet Party's official voice in the 1930s.
Either way, what is obvious is that Orwell meant Squealer to be hypocrisy embodied. He's so selfish and power-hungry that twist reality to suit his interests—or the interests of whoever he's trying to please. We think this last image does a nice job of summing him up: "Squealer was so fat that he could with difficulty see out of his eyes" (10.2).

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