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In Animal Farm, following the massacre of "guilty" animals at the hands of Napoleon and...

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acb1995 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:46 PM via web

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In Animal Farm, following the massacre of "guilty" animals at the hands of Napoleon and the other pigs, Clover reflects sadly on what she thought life should have been like on Manor Farm: "If she herself had had any picture of the future, it had been of a society of animals set free from hunger and the whip, all equal, each working according to his capacity, the strong protecting the weak, as she had protected the lost brood of ducklings with her foreleg on the night of Major's speech." Is Clover overly idealistic in feeling this way? 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:25 PM (Answer #1)

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Political ideologies aside, the animals wanted to control their own destinies and cease to be exploited by Mr. Jones. Such an idealistic vision is possible as long as those in control do not exploit the workers as their predecessors had. 

At the beginning of the revolution, from Major's speech to the animals' first triumph, the revolution is idealistic but relatively successful. At this point in the novel (Chapter 7), Napoleon has betrayed the original spirit of the rebellion. So, it is overly idealistic for Clover, or any animal, to still believe that the revolution will succeed and naive to think that the living qualities of the animals will improve. However, the animals are at the mercy of Napoleon's (and Squealer's) propaganda. Blaming Snowball for their downfalls, Napoleon shifts the focus of blame away from himself. However, Clover does suspect that the massacre is not what the animals had in mind when they devised the revolution: 

If she could have spoken her thoughts, it would have been to say that this was not what they had aimed at when they had set themselves years ago to work for the overthrow of the human race. These scenes of terror and slaughter were not what they had looked forward to on that night when old Major first stirred them to rebellion. 

Despite her realization, she decides to continue working hard and accept Napoleon as leader. At this point, Clover is not overly idealistic about the revolution. She would voice her opinion but she lacks the ability to fully express it; so she reluctantly continues to support Napoleon. 

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