Discuss how each of the animals' personalities contributes to the pigs' control over them in Animal Farm?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There seems to be particular elements in the other animals that contribute to their ability to be controlled by the pigs.  Orwell is making the point that any of these behaviors, not regulated to an extent, can become a pretense manipulated by those in the position of power in order to secure their own power.  For example, Boxer never questions anything.  If "Comrade Napoleon" says it, Boxer accepts it as unquestionable fact.  His willingness to "work harder" without any doubt or skepticism makes him work until his very end, manipulated by Napoleon to die by the horse slaughterer.  Boxer's friend, Benjamin, is the opposite extreme.  Embittered by his own cynicism, Benjamin fails to do anything, and his inaction is what prevents some type of cohesive action against Napoleon to help save his friend.  Mollie's own self interest precludes her from taking action, as her concerns are her ribbons and her sugar.  This benefits the pigs' control because Mollie would never voice dissent if her needs are met.  The sheep and their willingness to follow "the herd" makes them perfect for the pigs' control.  Even Moses the raven is controllable by the pigs because of his emphasis on religion, not for social change, but for social control.  In this condition, all of the animals possess some characteristic that Orwell has taken to an extreme in showing how individual qualities, without limitation, can be manipulated by those in the position of power.

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