How does Animalism in the novel create corruption throughout the farm?

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

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I don't think that Animalism creates the corruption and the conditions for corruption on the farm.  I think that the leadership of the pigs, Napoleon and Squealer in particular, recognize the ability to corrupt or twist Animalism towards their own failure.  Orwell is able to argue that it is people in the position of power that end up creating the conditions where corruption is so evident and not the theoretical underpinnings that help to justify power ascension.  The ideas behind Animalism were not elements that directly emboldened corruption.  Rather, these ideas spoke out against corruption in terms of treating all animals equally, abstaining from alcohol, and ensuring that animals are treated as ends in of themselves and not means to ends.  Yet, the power that was seized by Napoleon and Squealer was one in which they were able to manipulate Animalism to benefit themselves and their own rule.  The ability to add elements to the Seven Commandments would prove this.  When "no animal shall drink alcohol.. to excess" or "All animals are to be treated equally, but some are more equal than others," it represents how Animalism can be corrupted.  Animalism itself does not create corruption, but rather those in the position of power over it do and to this point Orwell speaks loudly to the idea that individuals who acquire power can do much to corrupt it.


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