Animal Farm Questions and Answers by George Orwell
LONG TYPE QUESTIONS
[Q. Discuss the relevance of some major themes in the novel Animal Farm.]
Animal Farm, an anti-utopian satire by George Orwell, was published in 1945. One of Orwell’s finest works, it is a political fable based on the events of Russia’s Bolshevik revolution and the betrayal of the cause by Joseph Stalin. The book concerns a group of barnyard animals who overthrow and chase off their exploitative human masters and set up an egalitarian society of their own. Eventually the animals’ intelligent and power-loving leaders, the pigs, subvert the revolution. Concluding that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” (with its addendum to the animals’ seventh commandment: “All animals are equal”), the pigs form a dictatorship even more oppressive and heartless than that of their former human masters.
Language and Meaning
In Animal Farm, his allegory of the Soviet Revolution, Orwell examines the use of language and the subversion of the meaning of words by showing how the powerful manipulate words for their own benefit. As a journalist, Orwell knew the power of words to serve whichever side the writer backed. In the novel, Snowball is a quick talker who can always explain his way out of any situation. When the birds object to the maxim, “Four legs good, two legs bad,” that the pig teaches the sheep, he explains that the bird’s wing “is an organ of propulsion and not of manipulation. It should therefore be regarded as a leg.” The birds do not really understand this explanation, but they accept it. Orwell particularly comments on the abuse of language with his character Squealer, “a brilliant talker,” who acts as an unofficial head of propaganda for the pigs. Like Joseph Goebbels, who bore the title of Nazi party minister of propaganda and national enlightenment during World War II, Squealer “could turn black into white.” This is also reminiscent of the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Pravda, which was often used to rewrite the past. (Ironically, its title means “Truth.”) When a bad winter forces a reduction in food rations to the animals, Squealer calls it a “readjustment.” In a totalitarian state, language can be used to change even the past. Squealer explains to the animals “that Snowball had never-as many of them had believed hitherto-received the order of ‘Animal Hero, First Class.””
Corruption and Exploitation
The pigs who take over leadership of Animal Farm after the rebellion depart from the ideals of Animalism, serving their own interests. The inequalities begin on a small scale-a pail of milk here, a bushel of apples there. As the pigs gain more wealth and power over time, they change the rules of Animalism to suit their own desires and to maintain their control of the farm, eventually turning it into a totalitarian society.
Understanding that literacy offers power, the pigs make sure that none of the animals except their own young learn how to read. As the pigs take advantage of their position, using their superior education and, later, the physical threat of the dogs, the overworked and uneducated other animals find themselves working harder for fewer and fewer benefits. Their efforts benefit the pigs more than themselves.
God and Religion
In the novel religion is represented by Moses, the tame raven. The clergy is presented as a privileged class tolerated by those in power because of their ability to placate the masses with promises of rewards in the afterlife for suffering endured on Earth. Moses is afforded special treatment not available to the other animals. For example, he is the only animal not present at the meeting called by Old Major as the book opens. Later, the reader is told the other animals hate the raven because he does not do any work; in fact, the pigs give him a daily ration of beer. Like Lenin, who proclaimed religion was the opiate of the people, Orwell sees organized religion as another corruptible institution which serves to keep the masses tranquil. Moses preaches “the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died;” in that distant land “it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges.”
Idealism and Deception
The animals embrace the ideals of Animalism and the equality and sharing this political philosophy promises them. They believe in the best intentions of one another, even as the practice of Animalism moves away from its noble concept of free, equal animals working together and sharing the plentiful fruits of their labor. Throughout the story the animals remind themselves of the beliefs that guided their revolution by singing “Beasts of England,” which describes their ideal world.
To maintain their position of power over the other animals, Napoleon and the other pigs create elaborate lies to cover their actions. Squealer uses propaganda to convince the animals they are doing well when, in fact, their lives get worse as the months and years pass. The pigs secretly change the Seven Commandments and other resolutions from the rebellion, convincing the animals that their own memories are faulty. Using Snowball as a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong hides the fact that others are really responsible.
In Animal Farm, Orwell comments on those who corrupt the idea of human rights by showing how the animals deal with the issue of equality. In chapter one, Old Major interrupts his speech appealing to the animals for a Rebellion against the humans by asking for a vote on whether “wild creatures, such as rats and rabbits” should be included in the statement “All animals are comrades.” Although at this point, the animals vote to accept the rats, later distinctions between different types of animals become so commonplace that the seventh commandment of Animalism is officially changed to read, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” A number of societies have historically “voted” that portions of their populations were not equal because of their faith, their skin color, or their ancestry.
Two kinds of apathy exist on the farm; both enable the pigs to assume absolute power. The apathy shown by characters such as Benjamin the donkey stems from an ability to see and understand what is happening disabled by a belief that action of any kind will not create change and is, therefore, not worthwhile. Most of the animals fall victim to a second kind of apathy, born of unquestioning trust in the pigs’ leadership, which leads to a lack of critical thought that makes them susceptible to manipulation and deception.
Orwell saw firsthand how being a member of a lower class singled him out for abuse at St. Cyprian’s, a school which attracted most of its students from the British upper class. He had also seen how the British ruling class in Burma had abused the native population. In Animal Farm the animals begin by proclaiming the equality of all animals. The classless society soon becomes divided as preferential treatment is given to the pigs. First, they alone are allowed to consume the milk and the apples which Squealer claims they do not really want to take, but must to preserve their strength. Later, the other animals are told that they must “stand aside” if they meet a pig coming down a path and that all pigs had “the privilege of wearing green ribbons on their tails on Sundays.” By this time, not even an explanation from Squealer is necessary; the hierarchy in the society is well established. A pointed remark by Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood, who represents Great Britain in Orwell’s satire, puts the author’s distaste for classes in perspective. When Mr. Pilkington and other farmers meet with Napoleon in the novel’s last scene, Pilkington chokes with amusement as he says to the pigs, “If you have your lower animals to contend with, … we have our lower classes.” Orwell knew that with power came the abuse of power and only a vigilant citizenry could prevent such abuses.
Orwell uses Animal Farm to express his deeply held political convictions. He stated in his 1946 essay, “Why I Write,” “every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for Democratic socialism.” Although the novel is written in direct response to his bitter disappointment that the Russian Revolution, instead of establishing a people’s republic, established an essentially totalitarian state, its continued relevance is possible because his criticism stands against any and all totalitarian regimes. The only protection the average citizen has against a similar tyranny developing in his own country is his refusal to blindly follow the crowd (like the sheep), the repudiation of all spurious explanations by propaganda sources (like Squealer), and diligent attention to all government activity, instead of faithfully following those in power (like Boxer). Identity and Competition
The rebellion on Animal Farm, initiated by the revolutionary pig leader, Old Major, begins as a result of the farm animals’ discontent with “the tyranny of human beings,” as described in a speech that the revolutionary makes in the first chapter. After overthrowing Mr. Jones and others like him, Old Major contends, the animals will be able to enjoy the fruits of their own labor.
Initially, the animals’ contention with humans analogizes with the proletariat’s discontent with the ruling class during the Russian Revolution. As Animal Farm prospers, however, leading the pigs to form an economic alliance with neighboring farmersa move that had initially been forbidden in the original Seven Commandments—the rivalry with the humans takes a new shape. After the pigs install themselves as a ruling class, to whom the other animals must answer, it is only the pigs who interact with the outside world. At this point, the rivalry is only really between pigs and humans and becomes a metaphor for the competition between the East and West and Communism versus Capitalism.
After the pigs, particularly Napoleon and Squealer, begin to mimic human behaviorwalking on their hind legs and wearing clothes-the line of demarcation between the animals and humans becomes unclear. This becomes especially poignant at the end of the novel when a card game erupts into a fight after Napoleon and a neighboring farmer, Mr. Pilkington, both play an ace of spades. The fact that both play the trump card means not only that each side seeks to be dominant but that they are also willing to cheat each other to win (there can only be one ace of spades in a deck). The pigs have so expertly morphed themselves into human-like creatures that the other animals can no longer tell them apart. In his preface to the Ukrainian edition of the novel, Orwell noted that he did not mean for this moment to suggest reconciliation between the pigs and the humans. On the contrary, the conflict was meant to reflect his prediction that the détente that resulted after the 1943 Tehran Conference-a meeting of Josef Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill-would not last. The goals of the West, centered on their supposed emphasis of democratic values, could not be reconciled with the ambitions of a ruthless totalitarian regime.
Truth and Falsehood
In the novel, the animals are often forced to examine the meaning of truth in their society. Again and again, truth becomes simply what Snowball, and later Squealer, tells them. Any questions about past events that do not seem to match the pigs’ version of those events are either discounted or explained away. For example, when some of the animals are executed after they confess to various crimes against Napoleon, some of those left alive remember that the Sixth Commandment of Animalism was “No animal shall kill any other animal.” When Clover asks Muriel to read the commandment, however, it is discovered that it reads, “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” “Somehow or other,” the narrator comments, “the last two words had slipped out of the animals’ memory.” Similarly, when the pigs get into a case of whiskey and get drunk, Muriel looks up at the barn wall where the Seven Commandments had been written and sees that the Fifth Commandment reads, “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.” She thinks the animals must have forgotten the last two words of this commandment as well. She comes to believe that the original event of the writing of the commandments on the wall did not happen the way she and other animals remember it. With this theme Orweil challenges the Soviet state’s-and any totalitarian state’s-method of controlling public opinion by manipulating the truth and, in particular, rewriting history.
The Soviet Union
While Animal Farm condemns all forms of totalitarianism, it’s most explicitly a bitter attack on the Soviet Union. Though Orwell supported the ideals of socialism, he strongly opposed the Soviet Union’s descent into totalitarianism under Stalin in the decades before and during World War II. Animal Farm satirically attacks the Soviet
Union by mirroring many events from Soviet history, and though Animal Farm is subtitled “A Fairy Story,” almost nothing that happens in it is at all fantastical; nearly every event, and indeed every character, correlates to a historical event, person, or group of people.
The first portion of the novel has parallels to the final years of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th century. Mr. Jones is a parallel to Tsar Nicholas, the final monarch of Russia, whose family was widely seen as decadent and unconcerned with the fact that many Russians at that point were starving and wildly dissatisfied with their rulers. Old Major represents Vladimir Lenin, a Marxist revolutionary who led the Bolshevik Party that ultimately ousted Nicholas during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Like Old Major, Lenin didn’t survive to see his ideals come to fruition; rather, his associate Leon Trotsky, represented by Snowball in the novel, took over and advocated for spreading revolutions all over the world (as when Snowball proposes sending out more pigeons to spread word of the rebellion to neighboring farms) and planned to modernize what, by this time, had become the USSR. Joseph Stalin exiled Trotsky, however, and ultimately assassinated him in Mexico. Stalin, like his literary counterpart Napoleon, didn’t care much for debate, and instead amassed power, developed a totalitarian state, and relied heavily on propaganda to control the population. Events on Animal Farm after Napoleon’s takeover mirror many that happened in the USSR during his rule, including Stalin’s Five Year Plans (the first and second windmills), rebellions on the part of farmers and sailors (the hens’ rebellion), and Stalin’s show trials and executions (the confessions and executions of the four young pigs and other animals). The novel ends with a parallel to the Tehran Conference in 1943, during which Winston Churchill of Great Britain, Franklin D. Roosevelt of the US, and Stalin met to discuss how to achieve peace after World War II, an event that Orwell mocks when both Mr. Pilkington (the Allies) and Napoleon cheat at cards, presciently predicting what would ultimately develop into the Cold War between the US and the USSR.
Notably, Animal Farm focuses intently on the inner monologues and experiences of those who don’t have much or any power, such as Clover and Boxer (who symbolize female and male peasant workers, respectively). Through Clover’s experience in particular, Orwell paints a picture of 40 years’ worth of history that was alternately, and at times simultaneously, hopeful and horrific-and often hungry and scary for those without power, education, or the means to escape-as Mollie, the cat, and the real-life middle class do and did. Further, Orwell doesn’t stop at vilifying the USSR alone. Instead, he suggests that capitalists who got rich doing business with the USSR, as represented by Mr. Whymper, and ultimately, the allies who gave Stalin a legitimate place on the world stage, as represented by the farmers’ visit to Animal Farm at the end of the novel, are also to blame for what happened. Through this, Orwell cautions against romanticizing any aspect of Russian or USSR history, as even though he may have sympathized with the ideals that drove the revolution to begin with, he makes it very clear that the fruits of the revolution are nothing anyone should aspire to. Rather than helping anyone, the revolutions actually led to starvation, fear, death, and trauma of all sorts.
2. The Significance of the Title
[Q. What is the significance of the title ‘Animal Farm’?
Or, Q. What is important about the title? Illustrate your answer.]
In Animal Farm, the primary intention of George Orwell was to satirize equality. Major, an old boar, stirs up his fellow animals on Manor Farm to revolt against their human masters, pointing out that if human beings were gone, animals would enjoy a happy and free life. Inspired by this appeal, the overworked and underfed animals chase their drunken and incompetent owner, Mr. Jones, from the farm. Two pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, emerge as rival leaders of the newly established Animal Farm. They argue constantly about the direction Animal Farm should take. Snowball advocates building a windmill to bring electricity. Napoleon trains several dogs to chase Snowball away from the farm and seizes total power.
Animal Farm quickly descends into tyranny; the ruling class of pigs exploits the labor of the other animals, systematically lies to them, and creates a cult-like status for the leader, Napoleon. The animals work in slave-like conditions and are constantly hungry, while the leaders live in the farmhouse and enjoy generous rations. The corruption on the farm reaches its nadir when the pigs arrange to have Boxer, an old cart horse who has collapsed from exhaustion, transported away to be slaughtered so that they can buy whiskey.
Economic necessity forces Napoleon to form an alliance with human outsiders. The book ends with the humans and the pigs enjoying a party in the farmhouse, as the other animals notice that they can no longer distinguish the pigs from the humans by appearance or behavior. The original principles upon which Animal Farm was founded have crumbled, and the conditions in which the animals end are worse than those under Mr. Jones.
In the novel, The Animal Farm, the pigs are the one who leads the animal farm and it also talked about the higher authority or those who are superior. Furthermore, in support of my view, The Animal Farm begins with the farm animals overthrowing their higher authority, the farmer. This is often so that the animals seem to ease their unpleasant lives, getting more able to be in a more advantageous environment and favorable working conditions. In addition, the pigs are known for their high education and literacy, and are entitled to be the leader of the farm. This governing rule enforces changes that better the farm, however, overtime, self concern within the rule causes its corruption. This self concern inside the farm causes corruptness. With all that in intellect, the message this novel has given to me is to challenge higher specialists when it isn’t acting within the best favor of myself and others around me. In this way, the higher authority is considerate and open-minded to the desires of its individuals it must meet. In expansion, such debasement in the show is seen when Napoleon, the head of the Animal Farm and source of corruptness evacuates others in running the show, like Snowball who was in favor of profiting the animal’s prosperity.
With Snowball and others expelled, Napoleon shapes rules and rules for the creatures to take after so the pigs conclude up profiting the foremost. With this, changes that Napoleon actualizes in the long run hurts the other animal’s welfare and causes the cultivator to basically lose thoughtfulness and organization. With all that in mind, the message this novel has given to me is to challenge higher authority when it isn’t acting within the best favor of myself and others around me. In this manner, the higher specialist is at that point chivalrous and open-minded to the wants of its individuals it must meet.
Upon the conclusion of the Animal Farm certain qualities and downsides can be taken from its reading. To start, strengths emerge from the first idea of freeing the farm of its proprietor so that the animals can ease their workload as well as make a favorable environment to live in. Such an environment, as depicted within the novel, appears to have its qualities in having all the animals work in equal solidarity, outperforming their impediments, so that together they achieve deeds never accomplished before. A case happens when the animals construct a windmill. As George Orwell’s text goes, “All that year the animals worked, but they were cheerful in their work.” To include, the centrality of this site is that the animals worked on the windmill showing the novel’s quality in rise to work and solidarity. In any case, there are downsides that show up post-rebellion when the animals took over. Such disadvantages are the administering run of the show set up by the pigs who are the most astute of creatures.
“”Animal Farm””” by George Orwell, represents the Russian Revolution in almost a “fairy tail” way. The animals say they are tired of being mistreated and overworked. When the animals rebel, two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, are the leaders of the farm. Napoleon wants to take power and he runs Snowball away from the farm. This is just like when Stalin killed Leon Trotsky to become the dictator of Russia. Napoleon is a typical dictator and he kills anyone that opposes him. There are many similar stories in the real world that can relate to “Animal Farm”.
The French Revolution took place in the early 1790’s. At the time, King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were enthroned. King Louis and his wife were more concerned about their social lifestyle than they were of the people of France, who were starving to death. In the 1780’s, the harvests were poor and food shortages became a major concern. King Louis XVI represents Mr. Jones because of the way they rewarded themselves, and how they treated their people. Marie Antoinette represents Mollie because they were vain and did not care anything about politics. The people of France began an uprising and Maximillian Robespierre took power in France. He became a similar leader to Napoleon. The people of France eventually killed him.
Two people that can be related to “Animal Farm” are Fidel Castro of Cuba and Joseph Stalin of Russia. In the book, Orwell used Napoleon as a representation of Stalin. Both Castro and Stalin made themselves appear as underdogs. They gained respect quickly as young men and were cunning enough to become leaders. Fidel Castro was a very good speaker but Stalin was not. They both had ways of using to undermine and kill anyone who opposed their beliefs. Stalin killed 60,000,000 power people and Castro killed over 30,000. Likewise in the book, the pigs had their opposition executed.
A third person that can be related to “Animal Farm” is Muammar Quadaffi of Libya. The Libyan rebellion began in 2011 when people of Libya began protesting for their freedom. Quadaffi has been terrorizing Libya for almost 40 years and the Libyan people are fighting for their freedom. The Libyans also want a new leader who is not a dictator. When the protests began, Quadaffi tried to use his military power and secret services to repress the rebellion. The uprising quickly spread throughout the entire country of Libya. This rebellion is still ongoing.
In conclusion, “Animal Farm” is a perfect example of a typical dictator becoming a harsh, unfair and cruel leader while hiding the truth behind an iron curtain of lies and secrecy while giving themselves special privileges and protection. People like Castro and Quadaffi used the same types of propaganda to become leaders. The French revolution is also like an animal farm where the leaders lived lavish and rich lives while the peasants did the work and suffered.
The title of the book and the changed name of the farm (Jones’ Manor Farm) is that the farm was actually run by animals. A farm for animals, by animals, is the premise under which the pigs work when they encourage the rebellion in their secret meeting. The animals, of course, are an allegory for men since the pigs who take over the running of things morph to look more and more like men-especially after they move into the house, begin sleeping in beds, drinking alcohol just as they had seen their human masters do before the take over.
At first, the name change signifies a unity among animals and is the crown of their success as a team. Then as the pigs become more like despots and the animals realize they are worse off under the rule of pigs than they were under the rule of man, it becomes more of a joke. It is not really a farm which signifies equality among all animals because, “Some animals are more equal than others.”
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