Animal Farm represents a revolution that is a failure as a result of those who would benefit most from it. Explore who is ultimately responsible for the downfall of ‘Animal Farm’. Discuss with reference to characterisation, key incidents and theme.
Reference to the question – You must explain what your essay is going to do with reference to the question.
‘Animal Farm represents a revolution that is a failure as a result of those who would benefit most from it. Explore who is ultimately responsible for the downfall of ‘Animal Farm’. Discuss with reference to characterisation, key incidents and theme.’
Break the essay up by exploring 3 characters you consider responsible for Animal Farm’s failure.
I suggest we look at:
You can choose to discuss other animals if you wish.
Let’s start with Old Major
We need to think about the ways in which Old Major was responsible for the downfall of ‘Animal Farm’ and how he would benefit from it.
We need to examine this by exploring characterisation (character/personality points that are developed in the novel), key incidents (main events that occur throughout the novel) and theme (theme is a main idea that runs through the novel, in this case power and corruption).
Old Major - Characterisation
What is it about Old Major that drives him to want the revolution of ‘Animal Farm’?
He is ambitious for the equality of animals, he is a communist.
“Orwell (when referring to the author always use his surname) uses the technique of characterisation to show how Old Major is responsible for the downfall of ‘Animal Farm’ as he shows us that Old Major is ambitious for the equality of the animals and is a communist, believes in communism.”
Your quotation must support your statement.
“The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that’s the plain truth.”
“Never listen when they tell you that man and animals have a common interest.”
“All animals are equal.”
“And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.”
In your analysis you must explain how your quotation supports your statement with reference to the question.
Old Major wants all the animals to be the same.
He wants the animals to be friends and all to be equal, no one to be in charge of anyone else.
He initiates the idea of revolution and identifies man as the enemy.
ANALYSIS – Refer to/answer question
How does all of this make Old Major responsible for the downfall of Animal Farm?
It is an impossible concept – all animals can’t be equal. Some are advantaged/disadvantaged by default (ability to read, willingness/ability to learn and belief in the revolution), Old Major did not consider this.
ANALYSIS – Refer to/answer question
How could Old Major have benefited from the revolution?
He would be a ‘legend’, would be remembered and become an important historical figure.
“The theme of power and corruption shows us that Old Major is responsible for the downfall of Animal Farm as he imagines a world where no animal has power but forgets that there will always be corruption and that some animals will be advantaged and/or disadvantaged in relation to the other animals .”
Old Major clearly states that all animals should be equal and no one animal should have power over the others.
“no animal must ever tyrannize over his own kind.”
“The work of teaching and organising the others fell naturally upon the pigs, who were generally recognized as being the cleverest of the animals.”
We see here that although Old Major dreams of an ideal where all animals are equal he has not considered that this is unable to function practically. As the pigs are naturally more intelligent than the other animals they are immediately at an advantage and are willing and able to corrupt and take charge of the revolution.
ANALYSIS – Refer to the question
As a result of Old Major not fully considering the impact of his dream he contributes to the downfall of Animal Farm by giving the animals the idea in the first place and not telling them about, or recognising the possible problems associated with it.
You are now focusing on Napoleon – forget about Old Major!
Start off by thinking about how Napoleon is responsible for the downfall of Animal Farm.
The character point that we are going to look at is his greed and selfishness.
STATEMENT – The technique of characterisation is used to show…
QUOTATION – (show Napoleon is greedy and selfish) – pages 21 – 22
ANALYSIS – Explain why the pigs, particularly Napoleon, taking the milk and apples shows that Napoleon is greedy and selfish. How does this answer the question? How is Napoleon responsible for the downfall of Animal Farm?
KEY INCIDENTS – technique 2
The second technique is key incidents. Pick a main event in the novel which shows Napoleon doing something or being involved in something which contributes to the downfall of Animal Farm.