Animal Farm

Animal Farm...theme, characters, plot:  Animal Farm is difficult to read
seriously for the first few chapters, mostly because the
main characters are animals that talk not only amongst
themselves, but also with humans.
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Animal Farm...theme, characters, plot
Animal Farm
Animal Farm is difficult to read seriously for the first few chapters,
mostly because the
main characters are animals that talk not only amongst themselves, but also
with humans. After a
short period, though, the animals take on such believable personalities that
it is easy to forget that
they are not humans.
In the beginning, life is satisfactory at the Manor Farm. While food
rations are low, no
one is dying from starvation. One evening, an older member of the farm, a
boar named Old Major
announces that he will die soon. Before he dies, however, he wants to share
with the rest of the
animals his thoughts on how Man has ruined the animals\' life. He says that
if animals were to
grow their own food, Man would no longer be needed on the farm, leaving all
the profits to the
animals. Society without man, of course, would be simpler and more relaxed.
Old Major then
suggests a revolution with the best of intents. A vote taken at the meeting
proves Old Major\'s
main idea, that "all animals are equal". All the animals on the
farm leave
the meeting with fresh
energy, prepared to run Manor Farm on their own, although not sure how to
chase away their
human master, Mr. Jones.
Soon after Old Major\'s speech he dies. One evening, Mr. Jones neglects to
feed his
animals. They become hungry and break into the storage shed to find some
food. When their
master finds his storage room a mess, he is furious, and begins to whip the
animals violently.
The animals decide this may be their only chance to get rid of their master,
and spontaneously
fight back against Mr. Jones. He quickly flees from the farm with his wife.
The Manor Farm is quickly renamed the Animal Farm, and a variety of changes
take place.
The farmhouse is declared a museum, and a set of Seven Commandments is
created for the
animals to follow (Orwell, 40). The principle rules are "All animals are
equal" and the simple
phrase memorized by every animal, "Four legs good, two legs bad".
The other
rules focus on
making sure no animal ever takes on evil human characteristics such as
drinking alcohol and
sleeping in beds.
Because the brains behind the Revolution, Old Major, is now dead, two pigs
themselves the leaders of Animal Farm, although the two do not agree.
Neither of the two pigs,
Napoleon or Snowball, hold all of the dreams which inspired the creation of
the farm. The only
character who constantly communicates the existence of "a better
after Old Major\'s death
is Moses, a raven. He never actually does farm work, but is still given
food rations for keeping
the animals motivated by talking of a perfect afterlife. Snowball, one of
the head pigs in the
Animal Farm\'s early days is more like Old Major than Napoleon, but still
leaves much to be
desired. Snowball\'s first action as self-appointed ruler is to set up
committees so that each animal
can be actively involved in making Animal Farm a success (Orwell, 49).
Snowball has the brilliant
idea of building a windmill. He carefully draws detailed plans of how the
mill will operate and
what it will produce. All the animals love the idea except Napoleon.
Snowball seems to follow
the rule "every animal is equal" quite closely, and the animals on
the farm
seem to take his side in
arguments between him and Napoleon.
The fact that Snowball may be the favorite pig infuriates Napoleon. He is
a boar who is
quite secretive with his ideas, but always seems to firmly disagree with
Snowball. Napoleon
distances himself from the other animals and creates an illusion of
supremacy for himself. One
evening, during one of Snowball and Napoleon\'s frequent arguments Napoleon
sends his dogs to
attack his opponent. Snowball is brutally attacked and runs away, never to
be seen again on the
Therefore, Napoleon is left as the farm\'s only leader. The farm animals
always seem to
quickly adjust to these leadership changes and immediately accept Napoleon
as the farm\'s head.
The animals also seem to forget Snowball\'s important part in leading the
Rebellion and his
concern for their welfare.
Napoleon\'s concern for the supremacy of pigs becomes apparent quickly. He
orders all
the better foods, apples and milk, to be reserved for the pigs only (Orwell,
71). Eventually he
requires all "lower animals" to clear the path when a pig walks by
These changes come in a
subtle way and are peppered with reminders of how awful life was when