ANIMAL FARMBY GEORGE ORWELLREVISION GUIDEGCSE ENGLISH LITERATUREUnit 1: Understanding Prose50% of GCSE marks. Exam 1 hr 45 mins.THIS BOOKLET:SECTION A: LITERARY HERITAGE.ANIMAL FARM25%SECTION B: DIFFERENT CULTURES.OF MICE AND MEN25%.Name.Date of Exam.
INTRODUCTIONAnimal Farm is George Orwell's satire on equality, where all barnyard animals livefree 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; theywant an idealistic state of justice and progress. However, a power-hungry pig,Napoleon, becomes a totalitarian dictator who leads the Animal Farm intooppression. "All Animals Are Equal” has added to it: “But Some Are More Equal ThanOthers."Three very important aspects of Animal Farm: Animal Farm is an allegory, which is a story in which concrete and specificcharacters and situations stand for other characters and situations so as tomake a point about them. The main action of Animal Farm stands for theRussian Revolution of 1917 and the early years of the Soviet Union.Animalism is really communism. Manor Farm is allegorical of Russia, and thefarmer Mr Jones is the Russian Czar. Old Major stands for either Karl Marx orVladimir Lenin, and the pig named Snowball represents the intellectualrevolutionary Leon Trotsky. Napoleon stands for Stalin, while the dogs arehis secret police. The horse Boxer stands in for the proletariat, or workingclass. The setting of Animal Farm is a dystopia, which is an imagined world that isfar worse than our own, as opposed to a utopia, which is an ideal place orstate. Other dystopian novels include Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, RayBradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and Orwell's own 1984. The most famous line from the book is "All animals are equal, but some aremore equal than others." This line is emblematic of the changes that GeorgeOrwell believed followed the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia. Ratherthan eliminating the capitalist class system it was intended to overthrow, therevolution merely replaced it with another hierarchy. The line is also typicalof Orwell's belief that those in power usually manipulate language to theirown benefit
CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND ANALYSISChapter OneSummaryAfter Mr Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, falls asleep in a drunken stupor, all of hisanimals meet in the big barn at the request of Old Major, a 12-year-old pig. Majordelivers a rousing political speech about the evils inflicted upon them by their humankeepers and their need to rebel against the tyranny of Man. After elaborating on thevarious ways that Man has exploited and harmed the animals, Major mentions astrange dream of his in which he saw a vision of the earth without humans. He thenteaches the animals a song — "Beasts of England" — which they sing repeatedlyuntil they awaken Jones, who fires his gun from his bedroom window, thinking thereis a fox in the yard. Frightened by the shot, the animals disperse and go to sleep.AnalysisSeveral of the novel's main characters are introduced in this chapter; Orwell paintstheir dominant characteristics with broad strokes. Jones, for example, is presentedas a drunken, careless ruler, whose drinking belies the upscale impression he hopesto 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 animportant theme of Major's speech. His unsteady gait (suggested by the "dancinglantern" he carries) and snoring wife mark him immediately as the epitome of allthat Major says about mankind's self-absorption and gluttony. Indeed, the firstchapter presents Jones as more of an "animal" than the animals themselves, whoreacts to any disruption of his comfort with the threat of violence, as indicated by hisgunfire when he is awakened from his drunken dreams.The animals assembling in the barn are likewise characterized by Orwell in quickfashion: Major is old and wise, Clover is motherly and sympathetic, Boxer is strongyet dimwitted, Benjamin is pessimistic and cynical, and Mollie is vain and childish. Allof these characteristics become more pronounced as the novel proceeds.However, Major's speech is the most important part of the chapter, and through itOrwell displays his great understanding of political rhetoric and how it can be usedto move crowds in whichever direction the speaker wishes. By addressing hisaudience as "comrades" and prefacing his remarks with the statement that he willnot be with the others "many months longer," Major ingratiates himself to hislisteners as one who has reached a degree of wisdom in his long life of twelve yearsand who views the other animals as equals — not a misguided rabble that needsadvice and correction from a superior intellect. This notion that "All Animals Are
Equal" becomes one of the tenets of Animalism, the philosophy upon which therebellion will supposedly be based.Major's speech seems to initially echo the thoughts of Thomas Hobbes, theseventeenth-century English philosopher who wrote (in his work Leviathan) that menin an unchecked state of nature will live lives that are "poor, nasty, brutish, andshort." Unlike Hobbes, however, who felt that a strong, authoritative governmentwas required to keep everyone's innate self-interest from destroying society, Majorargues that the earth could be a paradise if the tyranny of Man was overthrown; hepresents his fellow animals as victims of oppression and incapable of anywrongdoing. The flaw in Major's thinking, therefore, is the assumption that onlyhumans are capable of evil — an assumption that will be overturned as the novelprogresses. Although he tells his listeners, "Remove Man from the scene, and theroot cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever," this will not prove to bethe case.As previously mentioned, Major possesses great rhetorical skill. His barrage ofrhetorical 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 themfrom owning even their own bodies. Major uses slogans as well ("All men areenemies. All animals are comrades.") because he knows that they are easily graspedby listeners as simpleminded as Boxer. The speech is a masterful example ofpersuasion, and his argument that a rebellion must take place is reminiscent of theone made by Patrick Henry to the House of Burgesses in Virginia, where he arguedthat 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 willeventually betray the ideals set forth by Major. He warns, for example, that theanimals must never come to resemble their human oppressors — but by the end ofthe 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 LaCucaracha," the animals find it rousing and moving. The use of a song to stir thecitizenry 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 daybe won. Images of food and plenty also contribute to the song's appeal. The singingof 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 atusing words to get others to do their bidding.Glossarytushes tusks.eighteen hands high a "hand" is a four-inch unit of measurement used to describethe 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 asdog's meat.Clementine and La Cucaracha two popular folk songs.mangel-wurzels a variety of large beet, used as food for cattleChapter TwoSummaryAfter the death of old Major, the animals spend their days secretly planning therebellion, 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 namethey 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'sconcern with ribbons and Moses' tales of a place called Sugarcandy Mountain, thepigs are successful in conveying the principles of Animalism to the others.The rebellion occurs when Jones again falls into a drunken sleep and neglects tofeed the animals, who break into the store-shed in search of a meal. When Jonesand his men arrive, they begin whipping the animals but soon find themselves beingattacked and chased off the farm. The triumphant animals then destroy all traces ofJones, 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 signreading "Manor Farm" to "Animal Farm" and paints the Seven Commandments ofAnimalism on the wall of the barn. The cows then give five buckets of milk, whichNapoleon steals.AnalysisThe death of old Major marks the moment when the animals must begin to put histheory into practice. For the remainder of the novel, Orwell depicts the everwidening gulf between the vision expounded by old Major and the animals' attemptto 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 forgetting his own way") and, of course, his incredible lust for power, which becomesmore pronounced with each chapter. Squealer, as his name suggests, becomes themouthpiece of the pigs. His habit of "skipping from side to side" while arguing "somedifficult point" dramatizes, in a physical way, what the smooth-talking pig will laterdo 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, heeventually serves as Napoleon's Minister of Propaganda.Like all patriots and revolutionaries, Snowball is earnest and determined to win asmany converts to his cause as he can. Two animals, however, momentarily flusterhim. Mollie's concern over sugar and ribbons is offensive to Snowball because he (asa 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 theanimals with tales of Sugarcandy Mountain.What Snowball (and the rest of the animals) fail to realize is that SugarcandyMountain — a paradise — is as unattainable a place as a farm wholly devoted to theprinciples of Animalism. As the biblical Moses led his people out of bondage and intothe Promised Land, Moses the raven only offers a story about an obviously fictitiousplace. The fact that the animals are so willing to believe him reveals their wish for autopia that (in the sky or on the farm) will never be found. Thus, Moses is thenovel's "religious figure," but in a strictly ironic sense, since Orwell never implies thatMoses' 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 conqueringarmy retaking its own land and freeing it from the yoke of oppression. All thesymbols of Jones' reign — nose-rings, dog-chains, knives — are tossed into acelebratory bonfire. More important is that the animals attempt to create their ownsense 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 humansonce lived, but, like Sugarcandy Mountain, this world where all animals study theiroppressors instead of becoming them is a fantasy. Similarly, the renaming of ManorFarm to Animal Farm suggests the animals' triumph over their enemy. By renamingthe 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, arean attempt to completely codify the animals' behaviour to comply with a system of
morality. Like the Ten Commandments, the Seven Commandments are direct andstraightforward, leaving no room for interpretation or qualification. The fact thatthey are painted in "great white letters" on the side of the barn suggests theanimals' desire to make these laws permanent — as the permanence of the TenCommandments is suggested by their being engraved on stone tablets. Of course,like the Ten Commandments, the Seven Commandments are bound to be brokenand bound to be toyed with by those looking for a loophole to excuse theirwrongdoing.The chapter's final episode involving the buc