By george orwell revision guide gcse english literature

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Chapter Seven


As the human world watches Animal Farm and waits for news of its failure, the animals struggle against starvation. Napoleon uses Mr. Whymper to spread news of Animal Farm's sufficiency to the human world. After learning that they must surrender their eggs, the hens stage a demonstration that only ends when they can no longer live without the rations that Napoleon had denied them. Nine hens die as a result of the protest.

The animals are led to believe that Snowball is visiting the farm at night and spitefully subverting their labour. He becomes a constant (and imagined) threat to the animals' security, and Squealer eventually tells the animals that Snowball has sold himself to Frederick and that he was in league with Jones from the very beginning.

One day in spring, Napoleon calls a meeting of all the animals, during which he forces confessions from all those who had questioned him (such as the four pigs in Chapters 5 and 6 and the three hens who lead the protest) and then has them murdered by the dogs. Numerous animals also confess to crimes that they claim were instigated by Snowball. Eventually, the singing of "Beasts of England" is outlawed and a new song by Minimus, Napoleon's pig-poet, is instituted, although the animals do not find the song as meaningful as their previous anthem.


Faced with the realities of farming — and his own lack of planning for the winter — Napoleon is forced to deal with a hungry populace and the potentially damaging leaks of such news to the outside world. To surmount these problems, Napoleon metaphorically assumes the role of director and mounts a theatrical production. In terms of this metaphor, Mr. Whymper is the audience whom Napoleon must engage and fool into believing in an illusion, the sheep are actors reciting lines about the rations having been increased, and the empty grain bins filled with sand are the props (or "special effects"). Whymper is fooled into thinking that Animal Farm is running smoothly, and Napoleon again demonstrates his judicious use of deception. (Ironically, this deceptive theatricality is exactly what Squealer later accuses Snowball of having done with Jones at the Battle of the Cowshed.)

More deception occurs in the pernicious lies spread about Snowball. Napoleon uses him as a scapegoat for any of the farm's misfortunes, as Hitler did with European Jews as he rose to power. Both leaders understand the public's desire to cast blame on an outside source for all their troubles. Squealer's claims that the pigs have found "documents" linking Snowball to Jones are an appeal to the animals' need for proof — although the nonexistent documents are never revealed to them on the grounds that the animals are unable to read them. Like the grain-bins filled with sand, Snowball's "documents" are another ruse used by Napoleon to manipulate the thoughts of those who could end his rule. The animals refuse to believe that the thin walls of the windmill contributed to its collapse, revealing the extent to which they subscribe to the Snowball-baiting ideology.

Those who actually do threaten Napoleon's rule are dealt with in a swift and brutal fashion. Napoleon calls a meeting of all the animals for the purpose of publicly executing dissidents in order to make the others understand what will happen to them should they refuse one of his orders. When the four pigs who protested against Napoleon's decision to end the Sunday meetings are called before him, they confess to have been secretly in touch with Snowball, in the hopes of receiving some clemency from Napoleon. This is the same technique used by the hens, who, likewise, are slaughtered. The number of other animals who confess to Snowball-inspired crimes, however, suggests the degree to which paranoia has gripped the animals, who now feel the need to confess things as slight as stealing six ears of corn or urinating in the drinking water. The scene of these confessions echoes the Salem witch trials, where seemingly rational people suddenly confessed to having comported with Satan as a way of relieving their psychological torments. Afraid that their crimes will be discovered, the animals confess them because they are unable to stand the strain of their guilt.

The terrible atmosphere of fear and death that now characterizes Animal Farm is discussed by Boxer and Clover at the end of the chapter. Boxer, naturally, concludes that he must work harder to atone for "some fault in ourselves"; like the confessing animals, he wants to purge himself of non-existent evils. Clover, however, does gain a small amount of insight as she looks at the farm from the knoll and considers that the terrors she has seen were not in her mind when old Major spoke of his dream. However, since she lacked "the words to express" these ideas, her possibly revolutionary thoughts are never brought out. With Snowball gone, none of the animals are encouraged to read — for the same reasons that slaves throughout history were similarly deprived.

Napoleon's outlawing "Beasts of England" is his next step in assuming total control. Fearful that the song might stir up the same rebellious feelings felt by the animals the night Major taught it to them, Napoleon replaces it with a decidedly blander song that focuses on the responsibility of the animals to protect the farm, rather than to overthrow its leaders:

Animal Farm, Animal Farm,

Never through me shalt thou come to harm!

Of course, there is no debate about this decision, since the sheep who accompany Squealer effectively end all talk of it with their incessant bleating. Nothing at Animal Farm will ever be the same since the blood of animals has been shed by their own kind.


clamps piles of straw or peat under which potatoes are grown.

chaff the husks of wheat or other grain separated in threshing or winnowing.

Chapter Eight


The following year brings more work on the windmill and less food for the workers, despite Squealer's lists of figures supposedly proving that food production has increased dramatically under Napoleon's rule. As Napoleon grows more powerful, he is seen in public less often. The general opinion of him is expressed in a poem by Minimus that lists his merits and virtues. More executions occur while Napoleon schemes to sell a pile of timber to Frederick — who is alternately rumored to be a sadistic torturer of animals and the victim of unfounded gossip.

After the completion of the new windmill in August, Napoleon sells the pile of timber to Frederick, who tries to pay with a check. Napoleon, however, demands cash, which he receives. Whymper then learns that Frederick's banknotes are forgeries, and Napoleon pronounces the death sentence on the traitorous human.

The next morning, Frederick and 14 men arrive at Animal Farm and attempt to take it by force. Although the humans are initially successful, after they blow up the windmill, the animals are completely enraged and drive the men from the farm. Squealer explains to the bleeding animals that, despite what they may think, they were actually victorious in what will hereafter be called "The Battle of the Windmill."

Some days later, the pigs discover a case of whisky in Jones' cellar. After drinking too much of it, Napoleon fears he is dying and decrees that the drinking of alcohol is punishable by death. Two days later, however, Napoleon feels better and orders the small paddock (which was to have been used as a retirement-home for old animals) to be ploughed and planted with barley. The chapter ends with Muriel rereading the Seven Commandments and noticing, for the first time, that the Fifth Commandment now reads, "No animal shall drink alcohol to excess."


The number of executions occurring at the farm naturally raises some concerns among the animals, who recall the Sixth Commandment of Animalism: "No animal shall kill any other animal." However, as he has done many times already, Napoleon revises the past to suit his present aims and alters the painted Commandment to read, "No animal shall kill any other animal without cause." The addition of two words gives Napoleon free rein to kill whomever he wishes (since he determines all "causes"), and these two words echo the other additions to the commandments: "with sheets" to the Fourth and "to excess" to the Fifth. In all three cases, a minor grammatical revision permits major revision of a law that legitimizes and excuses Napoleon's tyranny.

As the work on the windmill continues, the animals do begin to starve, as Napoleon originally said they would in his debates with Snowball. Ever the happy sycophant, however, Squealer readily provides lists of figures to prove to the animals that they are not starving. Benjamin Disraeli, the former Prime Minister of England, once remarked, "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics" — a remark that Squealer's actions here prove true. Like many people, the animals are dazzled by numbers as indicative of scientific sampling and concrete information, despite the fact that "they would have sooner had less figures and more food." Official sounding "evidence" thus convinces the animals that their own rumbling stomachs must be in the wrong.

Now that he is in total and undisputed control of Animal Farm, Napoleon becomes a paranoid egomaniac, and Orwell stresses this new phase of Napoleon's character in several ways. First, he virtually vanishes from public; when he is seen, he is first heralded by a black cockerel. Second, he lives in separate rooms from the other pigs and only eats from Jones' Crown Derby dinner service. Third, he orders the gun to be fired on his birthday and is referred to with flattering epithets, such as "Protector of the Sheep-fold." Fourth, he orders Minimus' poem about himself to be inscribed on the wall of the big barn, surmounted by a painting of his profile. Fifth, he has a pig named Pinkeye taste all of his food to be sure it is not poisoned. Sixth, he names the completed windmill Napoleon Mill and, after selling the timber, has the animals slowly walk past him as he lies on a bed of straw next to his piles of money. Again, Orwell displays a politician's image as a powerful means of controlling his subjects.

None of these unabashed displays of his own importance, however, deter the animals from worshipping him. The poem written by Minimus is notable for the ways in which it resembles a prayer, likening Napoleon to "the sun in the sky" and flattering him with lines like, "Thou are the giver of / All that thy creatures love." (Note the formal poetic diction found in words like "Thou," "Ere," and "thee" that seemingly elevates the dignity of the poem's subject.) As a whole, however, the poem portrays Napoleon as an omniscient force ("Thou watches over all, / Comrade Napoleon") that begins brainwashing his subjects from their first living moments:

Had I a sucking pig,

Ere he had grown as big
Even as a pint bottle or a rolling-pin,
He should have learned to be
Faithful and true to thee,
Yes, his first squeak should be
"Comrade Napoleon!"

Unlike "Beasts of England," which called for an uprising against tyranny and an increased sense of unity among all animals, Minimus' poem portrays Napoleon as a greater and better animal than all others, deserving their full devotion. On the surface, such a song of praise might seem like innocent flattery — but the reader understands that the poem is another weapon in Napoleon's propaganda arsenal.

Napoleon's relationship with Frederick and Pilkington also reveal his disregard for old Major's principles; indeed, Orwell remarks that relations between Napoleon and Pilkington become "almost friendly." When the animals are shocked to learn that Napoleon "had really been in secret agreement with Frederick" to sell him the timber, the reader (as with Minimus' poem) senses the truth and understands that there never was a "secret agreement," but that Napoleon had been sounding each man to see who would offer him a better price. Again Napoleon is able to manipulate the animals' perceptions in order to make himself appear in complete control. The pigeons that Napoleon releases with their varying slogans ("Death to Frederick" and "Death to Pilkington") resemble government-controlled media, spreading the official word on a topic to the world and completely contradicting all previous statements when necessary.

Another way in which Napoleon manipulates public opinion is his naming the windmill "Napoleon Mill." Building the windmill had been an effort of all the animals, but Napoleon names it after himself to again insinuate that Animal Farm has become what it is because of his actions. Ironically, this is true in both the positive and negative sense: Napoleon's leadership has freed the animals from human control — but it has also begun to enslave them to another form of tyranny. As Snowball is deemed responsible for everything that goes wrong on the farm, Napoleon is credited with all improvements. The animals praising him for the taste of the water and other things with which Napoleon obviously had nothing to do reveals the depth to which he has pervaded their minds — and terrified them into complete dependence and obedience.

The destruction of the windmill marks Animal Farm's final, irrevocable turn for the worse. As the windmill earlier symbolized the hopes of Snowball and a future of leisure, its explosion at the hands of Frederick symbolizes the absolute impossibility of Snowball's dreams. The Battle of the Windmill recalls, of course, the Battle of the Cowshed, but this battle is more chaotic, more bloody, and less effective than the former: "A cow, three sheep, and two geese were killed, and nearly everyone was wounded."

Like the statistics that "proved" that the animals could not be hungry, Squealer's logic in proving that the battle was a victory is an incredible display of political doubletalk at its most obvious and ludicrous: Boxer, bleeding and wounded, cannot conceive how Squealer can call the battle a victory, until the pig explains, "The enemy was in occupation of this very ground that we stand upon. And now — thanks to the leadership of comrade Napoleon — we have won every inch of it back again!" Boxer's deadpan reply to this — "Then we have won back what we had before" — contains a wisdom that even he cannot appreciate, for he is attempting to follow Squealer's logic while simultaneously (and unknowingly) pointing out the laughable nature of Squealer's claim. Here, as elsewhere, the satire of Animal Farm grows exponentially sharper and more bitter with each chapter.

The episode involving the alcohol is notable for the way in which it further characterizes the pigs as the gluttonous animals they are thought to be in the popular imagination, as well as how it offers another example of Napoleon's cold efficiency: His decision to use that paddock as a place to harvest barley instead of the old-age home it was originally earmarked to be clearly indicates that Napoleon values profits (and homemade spirits) over revering the aged.

Chapter Nine


After celebrating their so-called victory against Frederick, the animals begin building a new windmill. Their efforts are again led by Boxer who, despite his split hoof, insists on working harder and getting the windmill started before he retires.

Food supplies continue to diminish, but Squealer explains that they actually have more food and better lives than they have ever known. The four sows litter 31 piglets; Napoleon, the father of all of them, orders a schoolroom to be built for their education. Meanwhile, more and more of the animals' rations are reduced while the pigs continue to grow fatter. Animal Farm is eventually proclaimed a Republic, and Napoleon is elected President.

Once his hoof heals, Boxer works as hard as he can at building the windmill — until the day he collapses because of a lung ailment. After he is helped back to his stall, Squealer informs them that Napoleon has sent for the veterinarian at Willingdon to treat him. When the van arrives to take Boxer to the hospital, however, Benjamin reads its side and learns that Boxer is actually being taken to a knacker, or glue-boiler. Clover screams to Boxer to escape, but the old horse is too weak to kick his way out of the van, which drives away. Boxer is never seen again. To placate the animals, Squealer tells them that Boxer was not taken to a knacker but that the veterinarian had bought the knacker's truck and had not yet repainted the words on its side. The animals are relieved when they hear this. The chapter ends with a grocer's van delivering a crate of whisky to the pigs, who drink it all and do not arise until after noon the following day.


Boxer's death in this chapter marks him as the most pathetic of Orwell's creations. Completely brainwashed by Napoleon, he lives (and dies) for the good of the farm — a farm whose leader sells him to a knacker the moment he becomes unfit for work. His naiveté in looking forward to his retirement and pension fulfills the promise of the white line down his face, which Orwell tells the reader in Chapter 1 gives him a "somewhat stupid appearance." Even when stricken and unable to move, Boxer can only consider what his ailment will mean to the windmill, and his pipe dream of retiring with Benjamin and learning "the remaining twenty-two letters of the alphabet" is as far-flung as Snowball's utopia and Moses' Sugarcandy Mountain.

The scene in which Boxer is taken to his death is notable for its depiction of a powerless and innocent figure caught in the gears of unforgiving tyranny. (Note that the van's driver wears a bowler hat — a symbol throughout the novel of cruel humanity.) Although Boxer tries to kick his way out of the van, his previously incredible strength has been — through days of mindless hard work in the service of his tormentors — reduced to nothing. Only in his last moments does Boxer begin to understand what is happening to him, but the knowledge comes too late for anything to change.

This chapter also continues to display Squealer's manipulation of language for the pigs' political ends. In his famous essay, "Politics and the English Language" (1946), Orwell discusses the many ways that our language "becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish," but also argues that "the slovenliness of our language makes it easier to have foolish thoughts." In other words, any corruption of the language can (and will) have a corrupting influence on the ways in which we think about the very things that language struggles to describe. This process is illustrated in Squealer's announcements to the animals about their shortages of food: "For the time being," he explains, "it had been found necessary to make a readjustment of rations." His use of "readjustment" instead of "reduction" is a subtle attempt to quell the animals' complaints about their stomachs — "reduction" is a word implying less of something, but "readjustment" implies a shifting of what is already there. (Thus one hears politicians speak of "the need to increase funding of government programs" instead of "tax hikes" or the invasion of another country as a "police action" instead of a "war.") In "Politics and the English Language," Orwell contends that such euphemisms are used because they prevent listeners from conjuring mental pictures of what is being described, which in turn lessens the amount of horror listeners can feel when considering the topic.

This manipulation of language is again found when Animal Farm is proclaimed a Republic, with Napoleon its "elected" President. The word "Republic" connotes a land of self-government whose citizens participate in the political process, as the word "President" connotes one who is of the citizenry but who has been appointed by them to preside over — not control — their government. Of course, these words are outrageous jokes to the reader, but not to the animals, who again and again swallow the pigs' twisted language to make themselves feel better: As Orwell slyly remarks, "Doubtless it had been worse in the old days. They were glad to believe so."

Similarly, the animals are "glad to believe" Squealer's obvious lies about Boxer's final moments in which he supposedly praised both Animals Farm and Napoleon. This is Squealer's most outrageous and blatant piece of propaganda, and a reader may well wonder why none of the animals raise the slightest suspicion about it. The reason is that they are afraid to do so — afraid of Napoleon and his dogs, of course, but also afraid of probing too deeply into the story and thus upsetting their own consciences. Believing Squealer is easier politically and morally. They can excuse their lack of action by willingly believing Squealer's lies about the owner of the van. As Orwell ironically explains:

The animals were enormously relieved to hear this. And when Squealer went on to give further graphic details of Boxer's death-bed, the admirable care he had received, and the expensive medicines for which Napoleon had paid without a thought to the cost, their last doubts disappeared and the sorrow that they felt for their comrade's death was tempered by the thought that at least he had died happy.

Words like "admirable," "expensive," and "without a thought to the cost" all give the animals license to excuse their own inaction. As Orwell wrote elsewhere, "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle" — a struggle that the animals doubtless are able to overcome.

The return of Moses is, like the destruction of the first windmill, used to the pigs' advantage. A reader may wonder why the pigs allow Moses to remain on the farm (and actually encourage him to do so by giving him a gill of beer a day). The reason lies in the effect Moses has on the animals. Again recalling Marx's famous metaphor, Moses' tales of Sugarcandy Mountain figuratively drug the animals and keep them docile: If life now is awful, at least (so Moses' tales imply) it will not always be such. Therefore the animals continue working, labouring under the hope that, one day, Moses' stories will come true.

Napoleon's fathering of the 31 piglets suggests how saturated with his image and presence the farm has become. In a biological sense, Napoleon is now creating the very population he means to control. His decision to build a schoolhouse for the pigs is reminiscent of such fascist organizations as the Hitler Youth, and his numerous decrees favoring the pigs (such as the one requiring all animals to step out of their way when approached by pigs) recalls Hitler's thoughts about Aryan superiority.

Also notable in this chapter is the great amount of ceremony that Napoleon institutes throughout the farm: The increased amount of songs, speeches, and demonstrations keep the animals' brains busy enough not to think about their own wretchedness — and Napoleon packs the meetings with the sheep in case any animals momentarily see past all the pomp and circumstance. The wreath Napoleon orders to be made for Boxer's grave is a similar display for Napoleon's own ends, as is the elegy for Boxer that he ends with the horse's two maxims in order to threaten the other animals. The fact that the pigs get drunk on the night of the supposed solemn day of Boxer's memorial banquet betrays their complete lack of sympathy for the devoted but ignorant horse. Their drunkenness also makes them more like Jones, their former oppressor.


gill a unit of liquid measure, equal to 1/4 pint or 4 fluid ounces.

Chapter Ten


Years pass, and Animal Farm undergoes its final changes. Muriel, Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher are all dead, and Jones dies in an inebriates' home. Clover is now 14 years old (two years past the retiring age) but has not retired. (No animal ever has.) There are more animals on the farm, and the farm's boundaries have increased, thanks to the purchase of two of Pilkington's fields. The second windmill has been completed and is used for milling corn. All the animals continue their lives of hard work and little food — except, of course, for the pigs.

One evening, Clover sees a shocking sight: Squealer walking on his hind legs. Other pigs follow, walking the same way, and Napoleon also emerges from the farmhouse carrying a whip in his trotter. The sheep begin to bleat a new version of their previous slogan: "Four legs good, two legs better!" Clover also notices that the wall on which the Seven Commandments were written has been repainted: Now, the wall simply reads, "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS." Eventually, all the pigs begin carrying whips and wearing Jones' clothes.

In the novel's final scene, a deputation of neighbouring farmers is given a tour of the farm, after which they meet in the dining-room of the farmhouse with Napoleon and the other pigs. Mr. Pilkington makes a toast to Animal Farm and its efficiency. Napoleon then offers a speech in which he outlines his new policies: The word "comrade" will be suppressed, there will be no more Sunday meetings, the skull of old Major has been buried, and the farm flag will be changed to a simple field of green. His greatest change in policy, however, is his announcement that Animal Farm will again be called Manor Farm. Soon after Napoleon's speech, the men and pigs begin playing cards, but a loud quarrel erupts when both Napoleon and Pilkington each try to play the ace of spades. As Clover and the other animals watch the arguments through the dining-room window, they are unable to discriminate between the humans and the pigs.


This final chapter depicts the complete transformation (not only in name) from Animal Farm to Manor Farm. There will never be a "retirement home" for old animals (as evidenced by Clover), and the pigs come to resemble their human oppressors to the degree that "it was impossible to say which was which."

The completion of the second windmill marks not the rebirth of Snowball's utopian vision, but a further linking of the animals and humans: Used not for a dynamo but instead for milling corn (and thus making money), the windmill's symbolic meaning has (like everything else) been reversed and corrupted. Animal Farm is now inexorably tied to its human neighbours in terms of commerce and atmosphere.

Orwell has years pass between Chapters 9 and 10 to stress the ways in which the animals' lack of any sense of history has rendered them incapable of judging their present situation: The animals cannot complain about their awful lives, since "they had nothing to go upon except Squealer's lists of figures, which invariably demonstrated that everything was getting better and better." As Winston Smith, the protagonist of Orwell's Nineteen-Eight-Four understands, the government "could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event it never happened." This same phenomena occurs now on Animal Farm, where the animals cannot recall there ever having been a way of life different from their present one and, therefore, no way of life to which they can compare their own. Although "Beasts of England" is hummed in secret by some would-be rebels, "no one dared to sing it aloud." The pigs have won their ideological battle, as the Party wins its war with Winston's mind at the end of Nineteen-Eight-Four. Only Benjamin — a means by which Orwell again voices his own opinion of the matter — is able to conclude that "hunger, hardship, and disappointment" are the "unalterable law of life."

While Clover is shocked at the sight of Squealer walking on two legs, the reader is not, since this moment is the logical result of all the pigs' previous machinations. Napoleon's carrying a whip in his trotter — formerly a symbol of human torture — and dressing in Jones' clothes only cements in readers minds what they have long suspected. The sheep's new slogan, as before, destroys any chance for thought or debate on the animals' part, and the new Commandment painted on the wall perfectly (and ironically) expresses Napoleon's philosophy. Of course, the phrase "more equal" is paradoxical, but this illustrates the paradoxical notion of animals oppressing their own kind in the name of liberty and unity. When the deputation of neighboring humans arrives, the animals are not sure whom they should fear: The pigs or the men. Orwell implies here that there is no real difference, as he does with the pigs buying a wireless, a telephone, and newspapers, and with Napoleon smoking a pipe, despite old Major's admonition to avoid all habits of men.

Pilkington's address to Napoleon is snivelling in tone and reveals his desire to remain on good terms with the intimidating leader of Animal Farm. Excusing all cruelty and apologizing for being "nervous" about the effects of the rebellion, Pilkington offers a stream of empty words said only to keep the wheels of commerce well-greased. Note that he praises Napoleon for making the animals do more work for less food; flattery from such a man can only suggest that the object of such praise is as corrupt as he who flatters. His final witticism — "If you have your lower animals to contend with … we have our lower classes!" — again stresses the political interchangeability between the pigs and the men.

The changes of which Napoleon speaks in his address are the final ones needed to make the farm a complete dictatorship. The abolition of the word "comrade" will create less unity among the animals, the burial of old Major's skull will figuratively "bury" any notions of the dead pig's ideals, and the removal of the horn and hoof from the flag will ensure that the animals over which it waves never consider the rewards of struggle and rebellion. Finally, the changing of the farm's name back to Manor Farm implies that everything has come full circle while also implying that the farm is not, in any sense, the animals'. Instead, it is the property of those (as Hamlet quips in Shakespeare's play) "to the manor born": the pigs.

The novel's final scene in which Napoleon and Pilkington argue about two aces of spades brilliantly represents the entire book: After years of oppression, struggle, rebellion, and reform, the pigs have become as corrupt and cruel as their masters. Smoking, drinking, whipping, killing, and even cheating are now qualities shared by both animal and man. Despite Pilkington's professed admiration for Napoleon (and vice versa), neither trusts the other because neither can: Each is motivated purely by self-interest and not the altruistic yet ineffectual principles once expounded by old Major.


wireless set a radio.

John Bull, Tit-Bits and The Daily Mirror British periodicals.
Old Major

A wise and persuasive pig, old Major inspires the rebellion with his rhetorical skill and ability to get the other animals to share his indignation. When he announces that he wishes to share the contents of his strange dream with his companions, all the animals comply, demonstrating the great respect they have for such an important (that is, "major") figure. His speech about the tyranny of man is notable for its methodical enumeration of man's wrongs against the animals. Listing all of man's crimes, old Major rouses the other animals into planning the rebellion. His leading them in singing "Beasts of England" is another demonstration of his rhetorical skills, for after he teaches the animals the song about a world untainted by human hands, the animals sing it five times in succession.

The flaw in old Major's thinking is that he places total blame on man for all the animals' ills. According to him, once they "Remove Man from the scene," then "the root cause of hunger and overwork" will be abolished forever. Clearly, old Major believes that Man is capable only of doing harm and that animals are capable only of doing good. Such one-dimensional thinking that ignores the desire for power inherent in all living things can only result in its being disproved. Also ironic is old Major's admonition to the animals: "Remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him." This warning is ignored by Napoleon and the other pigs, who, by the novel's end, completely resemble their human masters.


Snowball is the animal most clearly attuned to old Major's thinking, and he devotes himself to bettering the animals in intellectual, moral, and physical ways. He brings literacy to the farm so that the animals can better grasp the principles of Animalism by reading the Seven Commandments he paints on the barn wall. He also reduces the Commandments to a single precept ("Four legs good, two legs bad") so that even the least intelligent animals can understand the farm's new philosophy. The "thinker" of the rebellion, Snowball shows a great understanding of strategy during the Battle of the Cowshed, and while his various committees may fail, the fact that he attempts to form them reveals the degree to which he wants to better the animals' lives. His plan for the windmill is similarly noble, since its construction would give the animals more leisure time. His expulsion


While Jones' tyranny can be somewhat excused due to the fact that he is a dull-witted drunkard, Napoleon's can only be ascribed to his blatant lust for power. The very first description of Napoleon presents him as a "fierce-looking" boar "with a reputation for getting his own way." Throughout the novel, Napoleon's method of "getting his own way" involves a combination of propaganda and terror that none of the animals can resist. Note that as soon as the revolution is won, Napoleon's first action is to steal the cows' milk for the pigs. Clearly, the words of old Major inspired Napoleon not to fight against tyranny, but to seize the opportunity to establish himself as a dictator. The many crimes he commits against his own comrades range from seizing nine puppies to "educate" them as his band of killer guard dogs to forcing confessions from innocent animals and then having them killed before all the animals' eyes.

Napoleon's greatest crime, however, is his complete transformation into Jones — although Napoleon is a much more harsh and stern master than the reader is led to believe Jones ever was. By the end of the novel, Napoleon is sleeping in Jones' bed, eating from Jones' plate, drinking alcohol, wearing a derby hat, walking on two legs, trading with humans, and sharing a toast with Mr. Pilkington. His final act of propaganda — changing the Seventh Commandment to "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS" — reflects his unchallenged belief that he belongs in complete control of the farm. His restoration of the name Manor Farm shows just how much Napoleon has wholly disregarded the words of old Major.


Every tyrant has his sycophants (close followers), and Napoleon has one in Squealer, a clever pig who (as the animals say) "could turn black into white." Throughout the novel, he serves as Napoleon's mouthpiece and Minister of Propaganda. Every time an act of Napoleon's is questioned by the other animals — regardless of how selfish or severe it may seem — Squealer is able to convince the animals that Napoleon is only acting in their best interests and that Napoleon himself has made great sacrifices for Animal Farm. For example, after Squealer is questioned about Napoleon's stealing the milk and wind fallen apples, he explains that Napoleon and his fellow pigs must take the milk and apples because they "contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig." He further explains that many pigs "actually dislike milk and apples" and tells the questioning animals, "It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." His physical "skipping from side to side" during such explanations parallels his "skipping" words, which are never direct and always skirt the obvious truth of the matter at hand. As the novel proceeds, he excuses Napoleon's tyranny and sullies Snowball's reputation, just as Napoleon desires. The most outrageous demonstration of his "skipping" is when he convinces the animals that Boxer was taken to a veterinary hospital instead of the knacker's.


Horses are universally prized for their strength, and Boxer is no exception: Standing almost six-feet tall, Boxer is a devoted citizen of the farm whose incredible strength is a great asset to the rebellion and the farm. As soon as he learns about Animalism, Boxer throws himself into the rebellion's cause. At the Battle of the Cowshed, Boxer proves to be a valuable soldier, knocking a stable-boy unconscious with his mighty hoof. (Note that Boxer, however, is not bloodthirsty and feels great remorse when he thinks he has killed the boy.) His rising early to work on the farm and his personal maxim — "I will work harder" — reveal his devotion to the animals' cause. He also proves himself to be the most valuable member of the windmill-building team.

Boxer's great strength, however, is matched by his equally stunning innocence and naiveté. He is not an intelligent animal (recall his inability to learn any of the alphabet past the letter D) and therefore can only think in simple slogans, the second of which ("Napoleon is always right") reveals his childlike dependence on an all-knowing leader. Even when he collapses while rebuilding the windmill, his first thoughts are not of himself but of the work: "It is my lung … It does not matter. I think you will be able to finish the windmill without me." His hopes of retiring with Benjamin after his collapse display the extent of his innocence, since the reader knows that Napoleon has no intention of providing for an old, infirm horse. Even when he is being led to his death at the knacker's, Boxer needs to be told of his terrible fate by Benjamin and Clover. He becomes wise to Napoleon's ways too late, and his death is another example of Napoleon's tyranny.
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