Animal Farm Analysis
The novel Animal Farm by George Orwell is about a farm originally run by humans taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. The animals set to create a socialist community in which every animal is equal and should cooperate with others to achieve a paradise where every animal is free.
Willingdon Beauty, the prize Middle White Boar, or best known as Major is one of the most respected characters in the novel Animal Farm. On page four, Orwell tells the audience that Old Major “…was so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite ready lose an hour’s sleep in order to hear what he had to say”. In the paragraph written subsequently, the author provides more of Major’s backstory. He lived twelve years without being killed for food and that he looked majestic and wise. The animals idolized him for his wisdom and would listen to anything he said. Old Major is essentially the leader of all the animals In the quote, Orwell describes that hearing Major speak was more important than sleeping to the animals. This makes the reader infer that what Major would say will be influential to the rest of the book. After Major’s speech, the animals listened to him and took his words to heart, hence the revolt of animals.
“Word had gone round during the day that old Major, the prize Middle White boar, had had a strange dream on the previous night and wished to communicate it to the other animals” (Orwell 3). In the beginning of the book, all of the animals gather in the barn to hear Major’s speech and about his dream the other night. Major begins to communicate his “wisdom” acquired from the many years that he had lived. He says the animals have no life meaning because none of them are free; the animals are worked until their very last breath is taken and they are only fed what is necessary to survive. Major begins to explain that the reason why no animal in England is free is because of one thing only: human beings. “Man is the only creature that consumes without producing… Yet he is the lord of all animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself (8). Major has grown to despise his owner, Mr Jones because Major has observed the abuses that the animals have suffered are under the hand of humans. He believed that the animals suffered and were stolen from the humans who flourished from the onerous labor that the animals were put through while barely receiving anything in return. His theory was “Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own” (9). This quote of Major’s was the spark that started the rebellion. He goes on to lay the foundation of the Seven Commandments of Animal Farm, which are followed and respected for the most part of the story. When Major finishes his speech, he talks to the animals about the dream he had the night before. It reminded him of a song that he had forgot long ago when he was younger until he heard it in the dream. It was called Beasts of England and Major begins to sing it for the animals. They immediately begin to catch on and fall in love with it (13). When Major dies and the animals defeat Mr Jones, Beasts of England becomes Animal farm’s anthem and would be sung every Sunday. After Major dies, his speech opened the eyes of the more intelligent of animals and led them to have a greater outlook on their life. Three pigs, Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer devised Major’s teachings into a system of thought; these pigs called this system Animalism and construed its principles to the other farm animals.
Towards the end of Major’s speech, he speaks of what should not be done by animals that humans do. He says “Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend”(11). This became the essential principle of Animalism that summarizes that humans are enemies to animals because they use two legs to travel, while animals use wings or four legs to travel. This is a saying that tells animals to hate humans and to befriend other fellow animals. Major’s dictum later became the major doctrine followed by those in the animal farm. For those in the animal farm who were doltish, Snowball decided to shorten the saying to four simple words: “four legs good, two legs bad” (34). This becomes the most fundamental doctrine of Animalism which revolves completely around its philosophy and it is why the revolt started in the first place: because Major had realized that humans were bad and that animals have to stick together against the humans.
Orwell’s novel begins as a totalitarian government whereas the humans are the dictators and the animals are the society. After the animals take over, it is revealed in the beginning of chapter three that the “…pigs did not not actually work, but directed and supervised the others” (27). In the beginning of the book, it is already established that the pigs were more clever than the other animals, and were better at making decisions for the farm. As the book progresses, the pigs start to convince the rest of the animals that they were needed by the other animals because without them, Mr Jones would come back. When Napoleon became the sole pig in power, he announced that all Animal Farm activities would be decided by a committee of exclusively pigs. Later on, when Animal Farm became participating in trade, pigs began to move into the farmhouse and lived there, reasoning that it was where the leader deserved to live (66). During the time in which Animal Farm had turned into a totalitarian regime once again, the pigs were favored because of the belief that they were “better” than the others although the pigs stated otherwise. After a few years had passed since the revolution, the winters got colder and there was less food every year, leading to smaller food rations for the animals. Nonetheless, the food rations of the pigs and the dogs were not reduced (112). In December, Orwell tells the readers that the food rations of the animals were reduced in December and then once again in February, but then he says “the pigs seemed comfortable enough, and in fact were putting on weight if anything” (114). What this meant was that while the food served to the animals kept on reducing, the pigs seem to have been eating the amount of food that was reduced because they were gaining weight. Later that year, about 31 young pigs were produced and Napoleon took them in and taught them in a schoolroom built in the farmhouse garden. They were discouraged from playing with the other animals that weren’t pigs. Around this time, as well, a rule was put in place that stated “…when a pig and any other animal met on a path, the other animal must stand aside…” (114). Napoleon implements the rule of other animals having to stand aside because of his idea that the other animals are inferior to the pigs. A couple of weeks later, the animals smelled a delicious aroma which was thought to be cooking barley for the animals’ mash for supper, but there was no warm mash for them. The next Sunday, there was a rule that declared that all barley would be for the pigs and later on it was discovered that each pig drank one pint of beer daily and Napoleon drank half a gallon (115). These benefits were solely for the pigs, leaving the rest of the animals to be at a disadvantage because they weren’t pigs, thus, under the Napoleon regime, pigs were favored because they were believed to be superior to the rest of the animals. When Animal Farm is under the power of Napoleon, class stratification is heavily involved because of how the pigs are treated much differently than the other animals because they do not work, yet receive more food rations and other advantages unavailable to the others.
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