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In the following excerpt from the end of Animal Farm, explain what happened to the...

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user6001317 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 4, 2013 at 12:34 AM via web

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In the following excerpt from the end of Animal Farm, explain what happened to the faces of the pigs:  "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

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

Posted June 8, 2013 at 1:26 PM (Answer #1)

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This is one of the most complex images that Orwell employs in a book that is layered with intricacy.  As the narrative has progressed and especially so in the second half of the work, the leadership of the pigs has become increasingly like the humans.  There is no longer Old Major's understanding of Animalism, the pigs exploit the other animals just as badly as the humans did, and the revolution is no longer remembered by anyone as all of the old animals, except for Clover and Benjamin, have died out.  The farm has been renamed to its original name, "Manor Farm," the commandments have been reduced to the paradoxical "Some are more equal than others," and the pigs walk on hind legs as they carry whips to control the other animals.  In the end, the pigs have become the new humans.  In the final scene, as the pigs and humans are playing cards, sounds explode as someone is cheating.  The rest of the animals rush to see what is happening and as they peer inside the small cabin where the game and conflict is taking place, the animals can no longer see the difference between human and pig.

From Orwell's point of view, animal and human have become one in the same. The closing lines to the book help to illuminate this.  They no longer seem to be any different theoretically and the faces of each are interchangeable.  Quite literally, the animals cannot tell the difference.  The changing in face is more symbolic than anything else in so far as the distinctive features of the pig that made them animal- like have become replaced by the human face, suggesting that pig and human are now closer than ever because of how each abuses their own power.  The faces of the pigs have blended with that of the humans.  It is not to be that their faces have undergone some type of face/ mind change.  It is more symbolic that their faces, animal countenances, now look more human than anything else because, for all practical purposes, the pigs are the new humans.

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