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"All animals are equal but some are more equal than others". Can this final commandment...

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parama9000 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:07 PM via web

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"All animals are equal but some are more equal than others". Can this final commandment from Animal Farm,  be a contradiction, even a paradox, and yet also be interpreted logically and rationally. Justify your answer.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:48 PM (Answer #1)

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Equality is an age old problem globally. It has caused wars and conflict throughout the ages and untold suffering as a result. It most certainly is a contradiction to , in one breath , say that "all animals are equal" and then continue "...but some are more equal than others," inferring an imbalance. 

George Orwell intended to invite discussion, debate and even argument as he was disillusioned by historically corrupt systems of government. It did not seem to matter what the original intention was, power corrupts and that is it!

To interpret this logically - and the reason why leaders have been able to usurp their power - take the circumstances in Animal Farm. The farm must be managed and as the pigs are "the brains" behind the principles of Animalism, it seems right that they should lead and guide. This is a rational argument. The fact that the pigs take advantage of this, especially through smooth-talker Squealer who could turn "black into white" when he convinces the animals that "Napoleon is always right" as Boxer would say, is where the question of value and worth comes into play.

The animals have even been convinced that the milk and apples to which they were so looking forward, should be given to the pigs. Even trusted Snowball believes that this is justified due to their need to manage the farm. To equate this with people, celebrities and sports stars are paid thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions because they are deemed more "important" or special or something! CEOs of companies, who rely on high quality staff to run their businesses sometimes pay themselves bonuses that make us shudder because ultimately they take responsibility. So this argument works on a grand scale, apparently. 

The term "equal" then needs to be reviewed. Equality and fairness is what causes consternation as people assess their worth and when they feel taken advantage of, conflict results. Hence, in Animal Farm, the animals , at first , allow the pigs some luxuries and overlook slight changes to the commandments - although some truly are ignorant of the changes; after all, they are "free" and that is ALL that counts.

Compromise is then key to the successful management of this system of equality that exists but treads a fine line between fairness and discrimination. This system does exist worldwide - we don't need a "fairy tale" to recognize it.  

It is no accident then that , by the end of Animal Farm, the animals are so bewildered "four legs, good two legs better" that they are unable to distinguish man from pig.     

 

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