Reading Journals term 2 Animal farm. – A brief overview of plot and characters. As the title. Suggests animal farm is the story of the lives of animals who live on a farm. There are animals ranging from pigs, dogs, horses, cows, chickens, and sheep. Each animal has their own function on the farm, for example, the pigs are the intellectuals of the group and the horses manage the hard labor exercises. One night on the farm a very old, and wise pig old major, the leader of the farm, spends one night telling the animals that enough is enough, that the lives of animals are terrible, that humans are to blame and that they need to take a stand.
In the next few nights old major passes away and the new rebellion begins to form. The next leader of the farm falls upon two smaller pigs, snowball and napoleon, who are the idealists of the farm. They keep trying to move the rebellion forward, to take over the farm and vanquish their dictator Mr.
Jones. After some time the rebellion is a success and the animals now have full rein over the farm. And for a while everyone lives in harmony and is happy but then the cracks begin to show. From the beginning, all the animals on the farm had hated and renounced Jones and all of mankind. But when the pigs take over control of the farm slowly but surely they fall folly to the same temptations and problems that faced man and made them so selfish and self-centred.
One of the core ideas of animal farm was that all animals are equal, but that does not last long. The pigs like being above the other animals. Originally the mantra of animal farm was all animals are equal but this changed to all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. There are disagreements, fights and many things that turn animal farm from peace to war. Animal farm breaks down from harmonious living where all animals are equal to a savage dictatorship where everyone lives in fear. There are multiple fatalities, manipulations and brain washing. The pigs brain wash the sheep into continuously baa-ing two legs good four legs better ( which is a further example of the pigs turning into man, the very enemy they set out to defeat), instead of their original four legs good, two legs bad. When animal farm is originally set up there were seven commandments that all animals had to abide by. – 1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. – 2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. – 3. No animal shall wear clothes. – 4. No animal shall sleep in a bed. – 5. No animal shall drink alcohol. – 6. No animal shall kill any other animal. – 7. All animals are equal. After some time, the pigs end up breaking all 7 of these commandments, they end up walking on two legs themselves and fraternising with humans. They end up treating many of their own unfairly and with disrespect. The pigs wear clothes. The start sleeping in beds. They start drinking alcohol. they start killing other animals and they hold themselves in much higher regard than others. After they start doing these things and going back on their word, because, as George Orwell implies, the inhabitants of the farm are not very smart for the most part, they start adapting the seven commandments to fit what they want. They change no animal should sleep in a bed, to, no animal should sleep in a bed with sheets. They change, no animal should drink alcohol to, no animal should drink alcohol, to excess. They changed no animal should kill any other animal, to no animal should kill any other animal, without cause. And they changed all animals are equal, to all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. All the lies and deceit is directly correlated to the lies and empty promises that of Stalin and Trotsky, the leaders of the communist party. Ultimately, although the sentiment of old major and the pigs was pure in the beginning, they slowly but surely fell folly to the temptations that make man, their original enemy, what they are. There are many characters on the farm, all very different in personality, for example, Benjamin the donkey is cold and passive and does not react much to anything. The pigs are smart, quick thinking and very sneaky, Snowball and Napoleon are the pigs highest up in the chain of command but their assistant, Squealer talks to the animals of the farm being sure to convince them (when they got suspicious), that what Snowball and Napoleon were doing, was in the best interests of everyone. The horses are more muscle workers more than brain workers, and the sheep are stupid and easily brain washed. Each animal with their different personalities represents something/someone very important and plays an intergral role in the story. – The historical connections and relations between Animal Farm and the Russian revolution. During the time the Animal Farm by George Orwell was written, the Russian government was experiencing a great deal of turmoil for multiple reasons. Orwell decided to write a book with a thinly vailed link, commentating on the story and the flaws of the communist party of the soviet union and how it came about. But instead of writing a book with real government figures or even humans, he wrote on about farm animals. At the beginning of the story when Old Major, Snowball and Napoleon are trying to convince everyone to join the rebellion they use arguments very similar to those that were used by Vladimir Lenin in 1917. Lenin’s 3 main points to convince people that his way was the way to go were peace, bread and land. Which basically meant no more war, solving food shortages and more land for everyone especially the peasants. These were similar to the points the pigs were pleading to the animals of the farm the said that there would be no more dictatorship of jones hurting them, coming down on them, telling them what to do and they would be free to do whatever they like. Peace. They said everyone would get more food, double rations. Bread. And lastly they said that the land of the farm would be theirs shared and not Jones’s anymore. Land. Characters in the book representing the real life people. Old Major = Karl Marx. Karm Marx is a famous philosopher and political theorist. He is the inventor of communism just like how Old Major is the father of animalism. (They also both die before the rebellion/revolution happens and do not get to see their ideas but into action). (Animal farm skips over the concept of Lenin and kind of combines him with the character of old major. Napoleon = Joseph Stalin. Stalin is the second leader of the Soviet Union. Snowball = Snowball represents Leon Trotsky who was the other leader of the revolution alongside Napoleon/Stalin. When Stalin/Napoleon rose to power and became more popular than himself he became one of Stalin’s enemy’s and because of this was eventually exiled/banished. Snowball had been expelled from the farm by napoleons dogs just like Trotsky had been in real life. Mr. Jones = Mr. Jones represents the last tsar of Russia (Nicholas II) who was known as a poor and very cruel leader. Mrs. Jones = the tsars wife. Squealer = this pig represents the Russian media which pushed and spread Stalin’s version of the truth and his propaganda to the people. Boxer = The working class. Boxer represents the working class. This is importantly shown because Whenever the pigs would make a mistake they could always count on the fact boxer the hard working but very unintelligent horse could fix it. Boxers motto was I will work harder. All through the story he was being tricked by napoleon. He was easy to brainwash because of his low intelligence but the huge capacity that he did his work in was majorly taken advantage of by the pigs. This is of course all representative of how the government used the working class but when it came down to it did not care for them at all. The dogs = the police. Used as napoleons personal security.