How many contradictions between Napoleon and Animalism can be found in Animal Farm?

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

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I think that it is deliberate that by the end of the novel, Napoleon has contradicted most, if not all of, the tenets of Animalism.  Consider that one of the first actions Napoleon takes as a leader of the farm is to take the pups and begin to rear them as his own private army.  Snowball works to assembling committees to better the farm, while Napoleon works to better himself and his own political standing.  The tenet of "All animals are comrades" is something that Napoleon contradicts in his treatment of Boxer when he has outlasted his usefulness.  Another example of this tenet being contradicted is in Chapter 7 when Napoleon choreographs the forced confessions and then has the dogs savagely kill all those who confessed.  Napoleon's living arrangements and his own profiteering contradicts Old Major's warnings about not living in a house and not to wear clothes.  Napoleon's taking of alcohol is another contradiction.  The fact that Old Major made it a point to say never to trust humans is contradicted with the deals Napoleon brokers with other farm owners and by the final scene, where the other animals cannot tell the difference between the pigs and the humans.  In these ways, one can see contradictions between Napoleon's professed belief in Animalism and his opposing actions.

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