By george orwell revision guide gcse english literature

Download 467,73 Kb.
Date conversion03.08.2017
Size467,73 Kb.
  1   2   3





Unit 1: Understanding Prose

50% of GCSE marks. Exam 1 hr 45 mins.






Name ...................................................................................................
Date of Exam ...............................................................................

The examination will be divided into two sections:

Section A: Literary Heritage (Animal Farm by George Orwell)

 Section B: Different Cultures and Traditions (Of Mice and Men)

Students must answer one question from each section.

Students may refer to a clean copy of the texts in the examination.

The texts must be free from any annotation or additional notes.
Question style

In Section A, students complete a three-part question linked to a short

extract from the text.

For Section B, there will be a choice of essays for each text.

Section A – Three-part question linked to a short extract

 There will be three parts to each question.

 The extract will come from a significant section of the text and will be approximately 250–350 words in length.

 Students will select relevant material focused on the key words of the questions, clearly expressing relevant points and providing evidence from the text.

 Students will be expected to relate the extract to the whole text.

 Both Foundation Tier and Higher Tier questions will focus on character, language and theme both within and outside the extract.

 Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) are assessed in this section.
Section B – Essay question

 Students will choose one of two essays.

 Students will select relevant material focused on the key words of

the question, clearly expressing relevant points and providing evidence from the text.

 Students will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of the whole


 Foundation Tier students will be given bulleted suggestions to support their response focusing on events, themes or character.

 The essay will be assessed for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) and Quality of Written Communication.

Animal Farm is George Orwell's satire on equality, where all barnyard animals live free from their human masters' tyranny. Inspired to rebel by Major, an old boar, animals on Mr Jones' Manor Farm embrace Animalism and stage a revolution; they want an idealistic state of justice and progress. However, a power-hungry pig, Napoleon, becomes a totalitarian dictator who leads the Animal Farm into oppression. "All Animals Are Equal” has added to it: “But Some Are More Equal Than Others."
Three very important aspects of Animal Farm:

  • Animal Farm is an allegory, which is a story in which concrete and specific characters and situations stand for other characters and situations so as to make a point about them. The main action of Animal Farm stands for the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the early years of the Soviet Union. Animalism is really communism. Manor Farm is allegorical of Russia, and the farmer Mr Jones is the Russian Czar. Old Major stands for either Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin, and the pig named Snowball represents the intellectual revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Napoleon stands for Stalin, while the dogs are his secret police. The horse Boxer stands in for the proletariat, or working class.

  • The setting of Animal Farm is a dystopia, which is an imagined world that is far worse than our own, as opposed to a utopia, which is an ideal place or state. Other dystopian novels include Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and Orwell's own 1984.

  • The most famous line from the book is "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." This line is emblematic of the changes that George Orwell believed followed the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia. Rather than eliminating the capitalist class system it was intended to overthrow, the revolution merely replaced it with another hierarchy. The line is also typical of Orwell's belief that those in power usually manipulate language to their own benefit

Chapter One


After Mr Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, falls asleep in a drunken stupor, all of his animals meet in the big barn at the request of Old Major, a 12-year-old pig. Major delivers a rousing political speech about the evils inflicted upon them by their human keepers and their need to rebel against the tyranny of Man. After elaborating on the various ways that Man has exploited and harmed the animals, Major mentions a strange dream of his in which he saw a vision of the earth without humans. He then teaches the animals a song — "Beasts of England" — which they sing repeatedly until they awaken Jones, who fires his gun from his bedroom window, thinking there is a fox in the yard. Frightened by the shot, the animals disperse and go to sleep.


Several of the novel's main characters are introduced in this chapter; Orwell paints their dominant characteristics with broad strokes. Jones, for example, is presented as a drunken, careless ruler, whose drinking belies the upscale impression he hopes to create with the name of his farm. In addition, Jones' very name (a common one) suggests he is like many other humans, and the tyranny of all mankind is an important theme of Major's speech. His unsteady gait (suggested by the "dancing lantern" he carries) and snoring wife mark him immediately as the epitome of all that Major says about mankind's self-absorption and gluttony. Indeed, the first chapter presents Jones as more of an "animal" than the animals themselves, who reacts to any disruption of his comfort with the threat of violence, as indicated by his gunfire when he is awakened from his drunken dreams.

The animals assembling in the barn are likewise characterized by Orwell in quick fashion: Major is old and wise, Clover is motherly and sympathetic, Boxer is strong yet dimwitted, Benjamin is pessimistic and cynical, and Mollie is vain and childish. All of these characteristics become more pronounced as the novel proceeds.

However, Major's speech is the most important part of the chapter, and through it Orwell displays his great understanding of political rhetoric and how it can be used to move crowds in whichever direction the speaker wishes. By addressing his audience as "comrades" and prefacing his remarks with the statement that he will not be with the others "many months longer," Major ingratiates himself to his listeners as one who has reached a degree of wisdom in his long life of twelve years and who views the other animals as equals — not a misguided rabble that needs advice and correction from a superior intellect. This notion that "All Animals Are Equal" becomes one of the tenets of Animalism, the philosophy upon which the rebellion will supposedly be based.

Major's speech seems to initially echo the thoughts of Thomas Hobbes, the seventeenth-century English philosopher who wrote (in his work Leviathan) that men in an unchecked state of nature will live lives that are "poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Unlike Hobbes, however, who felt that a strong, authoritative government was required to keep everyone's innate self-interest from destroying society, Major argues that the earth could be a paradise if the tyranny of Man was overthrown; he presents his fellow animals as victims of oppression and incapable of any wrongdoing. The flaw in Major's thinking, therefore, is the assumption that only humans are capable of evil — an assumption that will be overturned as the novel progresses. Although he tells his listeners, "Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever," this will not prove to be the case.

As previously mentioned, Major possesses great rhetorical skill. His barrage of rhetorical questions makes his argument more forceful, as does his imagery of the "cruel knife" and the animals screaming their "lives out at the block within a year." Major also specifically addresses Man's tyranny in terms of how he destroys families, consumes without producing, withholds food, kills the weak, and prevents them from owning even their own bodies. Major uses slogans as well ("All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.") because he knows that they are easily grasped by listeners as simpleminded as Boxer. The speech is a masterful example of persuasion, and his argument that a rebellion must take place is reminiscent of the one made by Patrick Henry to the House of Burgesses in Virginia, where he argued that a potential war with England was both inevitable and desirable.

Of course, the irony of the entire episode in the barn is that the animals will eventually betray the ideals set forth by Major. He warns, for example, that the animals must never come to resemble their human oppressors — but by the end of the novel, the tyrannical pigs are indistinguishable from their human companions. Old Major's dream of an animal utopia will quickly become a totalitarian nightmare.

The song "Beasts of England" is another way in which Major rouses his audience. Although the narrator jokes that the tune is "something between Clementine and La Cucaracha," the animals find it rousing and moving. The use of a song to stir the citizenry is an old political manoeuvre, and the lyrics of "Beasts of England" summarize Major's feelings about Man: The song describes a day when all animals (even Irish ones — a detail Orwell knew would resonate with a British readership) will overcome their tormentors. Symbols such as rings in their noses, harnesses, bits, spurs, and whips are used to convey the liberty that Major hopes will one day be won. Images of food and plenty also contribute to the song's appeal. The singing of this powerful piece of propaganda reflects one of the novel's chief themes: Language can be used as a weapon and means of manipulation. As the animals will later learn, characters like Napoleon and Squealer will prove even more skilled at using words to get others to do their bidding.


tushes tusks.

eighteen hands high a "hand" is a four-inch unit of measurement used to describe the height of horses; eighteen hands therefore equals 72 inches.

paddock a small field or enclosure near a stable, in which horses are exercised.

knacker a person who buys and slaughters worn-out horses and sells their flesh as dog's meat.

Clementine and La Cucaracha two popular folk songs.

mangel-wurzels a variety of large beet, used as food for cattle

Chapter Two


After the death of old Major, the animals spend their days secretly planning the rebellion, although they are unsure when it will occur. Because of their intelligence, the pigs are placed in charge of educating the animals about Animalism, the name they give to the philosophy expounded by Major in Chapter 1. Among the pigs, Snowball and Napoleon are the most important to the revolution. Despite Mollie's concern with ribbons and Moses' tales of a place called Sugarcandy Mountain, the pigs are successful in conveying the principles of Animalism to the others.

The rebellion occurs when Jones again falls into a drunken sleep and neglects to feed the animals, who break into the store-shed in search of a meal. When Jones and his men arrive, they begin whipping the animals but soon find themselves being attacked and chased off the farm. The triumphant animals then destroy all traces of Jones, eat heartily, and revel in their newfound freedom. After a tour of Jones' house, they decide to leave it untouched as a museum. Snowball changes the sign reading "Manor Farm" to "Animal Farm" and paints the Seven Commandments of Animalism on the wall of the barn. The cows then give five buckets of milk, which Napoleon steals.


The death of old Major marks the moment when the animals must begin to put his theory into practice. For the remainder of the novel, Orwell depicts the ever-widening gulf between the vision expounded by old Major and the animals' attempt to realize it.

The names of the pigs chosen to lead the revolution reveal their personalities. Snowball's name suits the revolution in general, which "snowballs" and grows until, at the novel's end, the animal rulers completely resemble their previous masters. Napoleon's name suggests his stern leadership style (he has "a reputation for getting his own way") and, of course, his incredible lust for power, which becomes more pronounced with each chapter. Squealer, as his name suggests, becomes the mouthpiece of the pigs. His habit of "skipping from side to side" while arguing "some difficult point" dramatizes, in a physical way, what the smooth-talking pig will later do in a rhetorical sense: Every time he is faced with a question or objection, he will "skip" around the topic, using convoluted logic to prove his point. In short, he eventually serves as Napoleon's Minister of Propaganda.

Like all patriots and revolutionaries, Snowball is earnest and determined to win as many converts to his cause as he can. Two animals, however, momentarily fluster him. Mollie's concern over sugar and ribbons is offensive to Snowball because he (as a proponent of Animalism) urges his fellow beasts to sacrifice their luxuries. To him, Mollie is a shallow materialist, concerned only with her own image and comforts. Like Mollie, Moses proves irksome to Snowball because Moses fills the heads of the animals with tales of Sugarcandy Mountain.

What Snowball (and the rest of the animals) fail to realize is that Sugarcandy Mountain — a paradise — is as unattainable a place as a farm wholly devoted to the principles of Animalism. As the biblical Moses led his people out of bondage and into the Promised Land, Moses the raven only offers a story about an obviously fictitious place. The fact that the animals are so willing to believe him reveals their wish for a utopia that (in the sky or on the farm) will never be found. Thus, Moses is the novel's "religious figure," but in a strictly ironic sense, since Orwell never implies that Moses' stories better the animals' condition. As Karl Marx famously said, "Religion … is the opium of the people" — an idea shown in the animals' acceptance of Moses' tales.

Once the animals rebel and drive Jones from the farm, they behave as a conquering army retaking its own land and freeing it from the yoke of oppression. All the symbols of Jones' reign — nose-rings, dog-chains, knives — are tossed into a celebratory bonfire. More important is that the animals attempt to create their own sense of history and tradition by preserving Jones' house as a museum. Presumably, future animals will visit the house to learn of the terrible luxury in which humans once lived, but, like Sugarcandy Mountain, this world where all animals study their oppressors instead of becoming them is a fantasy. Similarly, the renaming of Manor Farm to Animal Farm suggests the animals' triumph over their enemy. By renaming the farm, they assume that they will change the kind of place it has become — another example of their optimism and innocence.

The Seven Commandments of Animalism, like the biblical Ten Commandments, are an attempt to completely codify the animals' behaviour to comply with a system of morality. Like the Ten Commandments, the Seven Commandments are direct and straightforward, leaving no room for interpretation or qualification. The fact that they are painted in "great white letters" on the side of the barn suggests the animals' desire to make these laws permanent — as the permanence of the Ten Commandments is suggested by their being engraved on stone tablets. Of course, like the Ten Commandments, the Seven Commandments are bound to be broken and bound to be toyed with by those looking for a loophole to excuse their wrongdoing.

The chapter's final episode involving the buckets of milk hints at the ruthlessness Napoleon will display as the novel progresses. One of the hens suggests that the milk be put into the animals' mash so that all can enjoy it — an Animalistic thought, to be sure, since the Seventh Commandment of Animalism states that "All animals are equal." Note that Napoleon, however, places himself in front of the buckets and sends Snowball to lead the animals to the harvest. Already the reader can sense the boar's greed and betrayal of the most basic law of Animalism. Napoleon is using the patriotism and drive of the other animals for his own purposes, which initially involve gaining as much control over the farm's food as he can.


porkers hogs, especially young ones, fattened for use as food.

Windsor chair a style of wooden chair, esp. popular in eighteenth-century England and America, with spreading legs, a back of spindles, and usually a saddle seat.

Midsummer's Eve the night before the summer solstice, about June 21.

News of the World a popular periodical.

carpet bag an old-fashioned type of traveling bag, made of carpeting.

spinney a small wood; copse.

Brussels carpet a patterned carpeting made of small loops of colored woolen yarn in a linen warp.

Queen Victoria 1819–1901; queen of Great Britain & Ireland (1837–1901): empress of India (1876–1901): granddaughter of George III.
Chapter Three


Despite the initial difficulties inherent in using farming tools designed for humans, the animals cooperate to finish the harvest — and do so in less time than it had taken Jones and his men to do the same. Boxer distinguishes himself as a strong, tireless worker, admired by all the animals. The pigs become the supervisors and directors of the animal workers. On Sundays, the animals meet in the big barn to listen to Snowball and Napoleon debate a number of topics on which they seem never to agree. Snowball forms a number of Animal Committees, all of which fail. However, he does prove successful at bringing a degree of literacy to the animals, who learn to read according to their varied intelligences. To help the animals understand the general precepts of Animalism, Snowball reduces the Seven Commandments to a single slogan: "Four legs good, two legs bad." Napoleon, meanwhile, focuses his energy on educating the youth and takes the infant pups of Jessie and Bluebell away from their mothers, presumably for educational purposes.

The animals learn that the cows' milk and windfallen apples are mixed every day into the pigs' mash. When the animals object, Squealer explains that the pigs need the milk and apples to sustain themselves as they work for the benefit of all the other animals.


While the successful harvest seems to signal the overall triumph of the rebellion, Orwell hints in numerous ways that the very ideals that the rebels used as their rallying cry are being betrayed by the pigs. The fact that they do not do any physical work but instead stand behind the horses shouting commands suggests their new positions as masters — and as creatures very much like the humans they presumably wanted to overthrow.

When Squealer explains to the animals why the pigs have been getting all the milk and apples, he reveals his rhetorical skill and ability to "skip from side to side" to convince the animals that the pigs' greed is actually a great sacrifice: Appealing to science (which presumably has proven that apples and milk are "absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig") and lying about pigs disliking the very food they are hoarding, Squealer manages a great public-relations stunt by portraying the pigs as near-martyrs who only think of others and never themselves. "It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples," Squealer explains, and his dazzling pseudo-logic persuades the murmuring animals that the pigs are, in fact, selfless.

Squealer's rhetorical question, "Surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones back?" is the first of many times when Squealer will invoke the name of Jones to convince the animals that — despite any discontentment they may feel — their present lives are greatly preferable to the ones they led under their old master. Orwell's tone when describing the animals' reaction to Squealer ("The importance of keeping the pigs in good health was all too obvious") is markedly ironic and again signals to the reader that the pigs are slowly changing into a new form of their old oppressors.

The flag created by Snowball is, like the Seven Commandments and the preserving of Jones' house as a museum, an attempt by the animals to create a greater sense of solidarity and emphasize their victory. Snowball's Animal Committees fail, however, because in them he attempts to radically transform the animals' very natures. Trying to create a "Clean Tails League" for the cows is as doomed to fail as trying to tame the wild animals in a "Wild Comrade's Re-education Committee." Snowball's aims may be noble and high-minded, but he is naive in thinking that he can alter the very nature of the animals' personalities. Thus, Snowball is marked as the intellectual theoretician of the rebellion — a characteristic that will be heightened later when he begins planning the construction of the windmill. Like old Major, Snowball has noble yet naive assumptions about the purity of animals' natures.

Unlike Snowball, Napoleon is a pig of action who cares little for committees. His assumption that the education of the young is the most important duty of the animal leaders may sound like one of Snowball's altruistic ideas — but he only says this to excuse his seizure of the new pups that he will raise to be the vicious guard dogs he uses to terrorize the farm in later chapters.

Note that the characters of other animals are further developed in this chapter. Boxer, for example, is portrayed as a simple-minded but dedicated worker: He cannot learn any more than four letters of the alphabet, but what he lacks in intelligence he more than makes up for in devotion to the farm. His new motto — "I will work harder" — and request to be called to the field half an hour before anyone else marks him as exactly the kind of animal that the pigs feel confident in controlling. When there is no thought, there can only be blind acceptance. (Like Boxer, the sheep are content with repeating a motto instead of engaging in any real thought. Their repetition of "Four legs good, two legs bad" will continue throughout the novel, usually when Napoleon needs them to quiet any dissention.)

Mollie's vanity is stressed in her reluctance to work during the harvest — she cannot devote herself to any cause other than her own ego. Thus, when she is taught to read, she refuses to learn any letters except the ones that spell her name. Unlike Snowball (and his intellectual fancies) or Napoleon (and his ruthlessness), Mollie willingly abstains from any part in the political process.

Old Benjamin's character is likewise developed in this chapter. Orwell points out that Benjamin "never changed" and that, when asked about the rebellion, only remarks, "Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey." The other animals find this reply a "cryptic" one, but the reader understands Benjamin's point: He is wary of becoming too enthusiastic about the rebellion, since he knows that any new government can succumb to the temptation to abuse its power. Later, when the animals learn to read, Benjamin never does, since he finds "nothing worth reading." His cynicism is out-of-place with the patriotism felt by the other animals, but he cannot be convinced that the rebellion is a wholly noble cause — and, after witnessing the actions of the pigs, neither can the reader.


cutter a small, light sleigh, usually drawn by one horse.

whelped gave birth to: said of some animals; here, meaning a litter of puppies was born.

windfalls apples blown down by the wind from trees.

Chapter Four


As summer ends and news of the rebellion spreads to other farms (by way of pigeons released by Snowball and Napoleon), Jones spends most of his time in a pub, complaining about his troubles to two neighboring farmers: Pilkington and Frederick.

In October, Jones and a group of men arrive at Animal Farm and attempt to seize control if it. Snowball turns out to be an extraordinary tactician and, with the help of the other animals, drives Jones and his men away. The animals then celebrate their victory in what they call "The Battle of the Cowshed."


Snowball and Napoleon's decision to send pigeons to neighbouring farms to spread news of Animal Farm is — like their creation of "Animal Hero, First Class" at the end of the chapter — an attempt to heighten the gravity and scope of the rebellion. By informing other animals about Animal Farm, the pigs hope to instigate rebellions elsewhere and eventually live in the world depicted in old Major's dream.

The scene of Jones commiserating in the Red Lion with Pilkington and Frederick portrays the humans as exactly the greedy self-centred beings that the animals wished to overthrow. Although the two neighbouring farmers sympathize with Jones "in principle," Orwell states that each is "secretly wondering whether he could somehow turn Jones' misfortune to his own advantage." Note also that Pilkington's farm, Foxwood, is in a "disgraceful condition" and that Frederick is "perpetually involved in lawsuits" and has a "name for driving hard bargains." In direct contrast to the principles of Animalism, the humans live by a credo of self-interest and desire for material gain. (Of course, the reader has already seen how Napoleon is betraying the principles of Animalism, as he becomes more and more like these men in the pub.)

According to Frederick and Pilkington, the animals are "rebelling against the laws of nature," with "nature" in this context referring to a world where humans control all aspects of animals' lives and use them for their own material gain. Of course, what seems "natural" to the humans is not what seems "natural" to the animals, and it is worth noting that all attempts in the novel to change the natures of both humans and animals fail.

Driven by fear and their perception that other animals at neighbouring farms are beginning to become inspired by the rebels' example, Jones attempts to take back what is his — but his attempt at military prowess in this case only further depicts him as impotent and inept. After being muted upon by the pigeons, Jones is knocked into a dung heap — a fitting place for him, in the eyes of his animal enemies. His running from the farm concludes a scene obviously serious for the characters but — with its panic and application of Caesar’s tactics to a barnyard melee — comic to the reader.

Boxer's teary-eyed concern over the possible death of the stable-lad reinforces his simple-mindedness and foreshadows the fact that he will be unable to survive in a place as harsh as Animal Farm is soon to become. The image of the great horse trying to turn the boy over with his hoof while he laments, "Who will not believe that I did not do this on purpose?" contrasts the one of Snowball, with the blood dripping from his wounds, stating, "War is war. The only good human being is a dead one." Unlike Boxer, who wishes no real harm even to his enemies, Snowball cares little for the possible regrets one of his soldiers may face. To him, death is an inevitable by-product of revolution, as he remarks during his funeral oration for the dead sheep.

The chapter ends with the implication that Animal Farm is becoming a place grounded more in military might than agrarian industry. The creation of military decorations, the naming of the battle, and the decision to fire Jones' gun twice a year all suggest the animals' love of ceremony and the slow but sure transformation of Animal Farm into a place governed by martial law more than the Seven Commandments of Animalism.

Chapter Five


Winter comes, and Mollie works less and less. Eventually, Clover discovers that Mollie is being bribed off Animal Farm by one of Pilkington's men, who eventually wins her loyalties. Mollie disappears, and the pigeons report seeing her standing outside a pub, sporting one of the ribbons that she always coveted.

The pigs increase their influence on the farm, deciding all questions of policy and then offering their decisions to the animals, who must ratify them by a majority vote. Snowball and Napoleon continue their fervent debates, the greatest of which occurs over the building of a windmill on a knoll. Snowball argues in favour of the windmill, which he is certain will eventually become a labour-saving device; Napoleon argues against it, saying that building the windmill will take time and effort away from the more important task of producing food. The two also disagree on whether they should (as Napoleon thinks) amass an armoury of guns or (as Snowball thinks) send out more pigeons to neighbouring farms to spread news of the rebellion. On the Sunday that the plan for the windmill is to be put to a vote, Napoleon calls out nine ferocious dogs, who chase Snowball off the farm. Napoleon then announces that all debates will stop and institutes a number of other new rules for the farm.

Three weeks after Snowball's escape, Napoleon surprises everybody by announcing that the windmill will be built. He sends Squealer to the animals to explain that the windmill was really Napoleon's idea all along and that the plans for it were stolen from him by Snowball.


The defection of Mollie marks her as an even greater materialist than she had appeared to be earlier in the novel. The fact that she is bribed away from Animal Farm with sugar and ribbons — two items that Snowball condemned as unnecessary for liberty in Chapter 2 — shows her desire for luxury without making the necessary sacrifices to obtain it. She is a defector from the politics of Animal Farm and is never mentioned by the other animals, who find her abandonment of Animalism and the rebellion shameful. Despite their implied condemnation, however, the pigeons do report that "She appeared to be enjoying herself" — much more so than the animals who remain on the farm. Mollie may be politically shallow in the eyes of her former comrades, but she does manage to secure herself a much more comfortable life, which raises the question of whether one is better off living well with one's enemies or suffering with one's comrades. The novel eventually suggests that Mollie did, in fact, make a wise decision in leaving Animal Farm, although (to be fair) she did not do so because of any political or moral motives.

At this point, the pigs have gained more power: Earlier, they were "supervisors," but now they decide "all questions of farm policy." While these decisions still need to be ratified by the other animals, Orwell suggests that the pigs are gaining ground at a slow but steady rate. But with the "bitterly hard weather" that arrives that winter, so do "bitterly hard" debates increase between Snowball and Napoleon. Actually, "debate" is hardly the correct term, since only Snowball attempts to use rhetoric and logic to sway the other animals — Napoleon uses a number of what Squealer will later call "tactics" to get his way. For example, Napoleon spends time during the week training the sheep to break into their "Four legs good, two legs bad" bleating during "crucial moments" in Snowball's speeches; packing the meetings with his own unwitting supporters is Napoleon's calculated strategy here. His unleashing of the nine dogs later in the chapter is Napoleon's ultimate "debating technique": Violence, not oratory, is how Napoleon settles disagreements.

The windmill itself is a symbol of technological progress. Snowball wants it to be built because he thinks it will bring to the farm a degree of self-sufficiency — which accords with the principles of Animalism. Napoleon, however, cares nothing for the windmill (and even urinates on Snowball's plans for it) because he is only concerned with establishing his totalitarian rule. At the debate on the windmill, Snowball argues that after it is built, the animals will only need to work three days a week, while Napoleon argues that "if they wasted time on the windmill they would all starve to death."

Thus, Snowball is a leader who looks forward and considers the future of his nation, while Napoleon thinks only of the present, since his vision of the future is one in which he is in full control over animals who have no time for leisure activities. (This is again emphasized when Snowball argues for spreading news of the rebellion so that eventually all animals will rise against oppression, while Napoleon wants to create a stockpile of weapons that he can then turn, if needed, on his own citizens.) In short, Snowball's vision of life with the windmill is like Moses' Sugarcandy Mountain: An immensely desirable yet fantastic place.

Note that Benjamin does not endorse either pig, and their slogans have no effect on him. Like the reader, he is doubtful of Snowball's scheme and wary of Napoleon's manoeuvres. All Benjamin believes is what he knows for sure, the sum total of which is that, "Windmill or no windmill, life will go on as it always had gone on — that is, badly." This cynical remark is perhaps the most important statement in the entire novel, for despite all of the ideologies, plans, battles, schemes, debates, betrayals, sound, and fury of the animals, the end result is that they return full circle to the exact same life they tried to avoid. As he does several times throughout the novel, Orwell speaks directly to the reader through Benjamin.

Napoleon's newfound power is based wholly on the threat of violence, as demonstrated in his "winning" the debate with Snowball by driving him off the farm. His decision to end all debates reflects his insatiable need for power: Debates, when conducted in the spirit of inquiry and discovery of viewpoints, are crucial to a government that wants its citizens to take part in their own rule. Napoleon, however, views debates as "unnecessary" because he will permit no questioning of his command and wants to silence any dissention. Like Big Brother, the personification of the all-powerful government in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Napoleon begins to become an unapproachable, godlike figure. Note that when the four porkers object to the way in which Napoleon seizes power, the dogs begin to growl, and the sheep bleat their "Four legs good" slogan over and over. This combination of relentless propaganda and threats of violence comprise Napoleon's philosophy of leadership — the same philosophy behind the government in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Napoleon's disinterment of Major's skull is his way of allying himself with the beloved father of Animalism — another piece of admittedly brilliant propaganda.

Squealer displays even more of his skill at doubletalk in this chapter. As he did previously with the milk and apples, Squealer paints Napoleon's crimes in a light that makes Napoleon more like a martyr than a dictator. Calling Napoleon's takeover a "sacrifice" and stating that leadership is "not a pleasure," the officious pig manages to — as was said earlier about him — "turn black into white." Even more invidious is Squealer's ability to rewrite history: he tells the animals that Snowball's part in the Battle of the Cowshed was "much exaggerated" and (once Napoleon decides to proceed with the building of the windmill) that the idea for it was Napoleon's all along. Again, as in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell attacks the ways in which those who rise to power revise the past in order to keep their grip on the present and future. These "tactics," as Squealer calls them, allow Napoleon to always present himself in the most favourable light — and, if an animal still objects, the three dogs accompanying Squealer serve as ample deterrent. Faced with Squealer's "skipping" words and the mouths of the dogs, an animal has hardly a choice but to submit to the new regime.


publican a saloonkeeper; innkeeper.

harrows frames with spikes or sharp-edged disks, drawn by a horse or tractor and used for breaking up and levelling ploughed ground, covering seeds, rooting up weeds, etc.

binders machines that both reap and bind grain.

Chapter Six


During the following year, the animals work harder than ever before. Building the windmill is a laborious business, and Boxer proves himself a model of physical strength and dedication. Napoleon announces that Animal Farm will begin trading with neighbouring farms and hires Mr. Whymper, a solicitor, to act as his agent. Other humans meet in pubs and discuss their theories that the windmill will collapse and that Animal Farm will go bankrupt. Jones gives up his attempts at retaking his farm and moves to another part of the county. The pigs move into the farmhouse and begin sleeping in beds, which Squealer excuses on the grounds that the pigs need their rest after the daily strain of running the farm.

That November, a storm topples the half-finished windmill. Napoleon tells the animals that Snowball is responsible for its ruin and offers a reward to any animal who kills Snowball or brings him back alive. Napoleon then declares that they will begin rebuilding the windmill that very morning.


With the passing of a year, all of the animals (save Benjamin) have wholly swallowed Napoleon's propaganda: Despite their working like "slaves," the animals believe that "everything they did was for the benefit of themselves" and "not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings." When Napoleon orders that animals will need to work on Sundays, he calls the work "strictly voluntary" yet adds that any animal who does not volunteer will have his rations reduced. Thus, Napoleon is able to foster a sense of unity (where animals "volunteer") using the threat of hunger. This transformation of obvious dictatorial practices (forced labour) into seemingly benevolent social programs (volunteering) is another of Napoleon's methods for keeping the animals working and docile.

The effect of Napoleon's propaganda is also seen in Boxer's unflagging devotion to the windmill. Even when warned by Clover about exerting himself, Boxer can only think, "I will work harder" and "Napoleon is always right." The fact that he can only think in slogans reflects his inability to engage in any real thought at all. Slogans such as these are powerful weapons for leaders like Napoleon, who want to keep their followers devoted, docile, and dumb.

One of the most effective ways that Napoleon strengthens his rule is his use of the politics of sacrifice. Indeed, "sacrifice" is an often-repeated word in the novel, and Napoleon uses it to excuse what he knows others will see as his blatant disregard for the Seven Commandments of Animalism. For example, when ordering that Animal Farm will engage in trade with human beings and that the hens must sell their eggs, he states that the hens "should welcome this sacrifice as their own special contribution towards the building of the windmill." After facing some objections from the animals about trading with humans, Napoleon tells them that they will not have to come into contact with any human beings, since, "He intended to take the whole burden upon his own shoulders." Like the apples and milk (which the pigs' pretended not to like in the first place), Napoleon masterfully recasts himself as an animal like Boxer — when, of course, the reader sees that the pig and the horse are complete opposites in their selfishness and selflessness. Of course, if any animals ever hint at seeing through Napoleon's false humility, they will be greeted with the same combination of bleating and growls that faced Snowball in Chapter 5.

Squealer continues his work of mollifying the animals who object to Napoleon's plans. As he figuratively rewrites history when explaining that there never was a resolution against using money or trading and that the animals must have dreamed it, he literally rewrites history when he changes the Fourth Commandment from "No animal shall sleep in a bed" to "No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets." When Clover learns of the two added words, she is naturally suspicious but has been so brainwashed by Napoleon's regime that she concludes that she was mistaken. Squealer's explanation of why the pigs sleep in beds hinges on semantics rather than common sense: "A bed merely means a place to sleep in" and "A pile of straw is a bed, properly regarded" are examples of his manipulation of language. His most powerful word, of course, is "Jones," for whenever he asks, "Surely, none of you wishes to see Jones back?" all the animals' questions are dispelled.

The destruction of the windmill marks the failure of Snowball's vision of the future. It also allows Orwell to again demonstrate Napoleon's incredible ability to seize an opportunity for his own purposes. Afraid of seeming indecisive and a failure while all the animals stare at the toppled windmill, Napoleon invokes the name of Snowball as Squealer does with Jones: "Do you know," he asks, "the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!" For the remainder of the novel, Snowball will be used as a scapegoat for all of Napoleon's failings; his commands to begin rebuilding the windmill and shouting of slogans occur because he does not want to give the animals any time in which to consider the plausibility of his story about Snowball. Although he shouts, "Long live Animal Farm," he means, "Long live Napoleon!"

  1   2   3

The database is protected by copyright © 2016
send message

    Main page