Homework Help

In chapter 7 of Animal Farm, the hens rebel againt Napoleon.  How and why did they...

user profile pic

leodinh14 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM via web

dislike 1 like

In chapter 7 of Animal Farm, the hens rebel againt Napoleon.  How and why did they rebel?

I'm writing an argumentative essay about rebellion, and I'm saying that a rebel in society is a good thing because they are brave souls that challenge authority, push for change, fight for equality, and speak up against injustice.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

ophelious | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:20 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

I would argue that what the hens are doing doesn't really count as rebellion, at least in the political sense that underpins the novel.  Yes, they are technically rebelling because they are being defiant, but they make no  attempt to overthrow Napoleon and replace him with a more favorable leader.  Of course, that would bleed over into revolution.  Whatever.  I guess I can see it from both sides, but for me, what the hens are doing amounts more to a "work stoppage," a tool used by labor to influence business leaders or put pressure on government policy.  It would be better described as a strike.

The main problem the hens have is that Napoleon has contracted to sell their eggs to local humans, 400 of them a month.  This was always a sore spot with the hens, as you can imagine, as they don't like the humans chowing down on their unborn young.  Napoleon has decided to do this as a way to earn money to ostensibly buy feed for the animals.

The hens react by laying their eggs up in the rafters and letting them fall to the ground and smash (how this is preferable to having the humans eat them, I'm not sure, but it does send a message to Napoleon.)  Napoleon reacts by trying to starve the Hens into submission, making feeding them a crime.  After five days, and the death of nine hens, the rest give up.

Whatever you want to call it, the unfortunate truth is that the hens defiance is crushed. They were very brave to try in the first place, and in the book it serves as a way to show us how ruthless Napoleon can be.  Sadly, this happens all too often in "real life" to those who try to speak out against injustice.

 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes