Discuss the significance of the foreshadowing in chapter one regarding the animals.

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

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I think that the most compelling element of foreshadowing that connects to the animals in the first chapter of Orwell's work would have to be the manner in which they treat one another.  As outlined by Old Major, Animalism becomes an treatise in which all animals are treated in the most equal of terms.  "All men are enemies. All animals are comrades" becomes an embodiment of this.  The warnings that Old Major offers in terms of how the animals need to treat one another is yet one more element of this.  In both examples, one sees how Orwell uses foreshadowing.  He is able to use the first chapter to provide the ideal of how life on the farm should be.  There is a clear appeal to the idealistic notion of Animalism.  This foreshadowing is deliberate on Orwell's part. He helps to establish a standard of animal conduct and behavior that is almost impossible to maintain.  In its introduction in the first chapter, it becomes clear that the animals aspire to a standard that becomes the set up for their eventual dissolving of bonds.  It makes sense that after Old Major establishes this ideal, he dies.  He is not around to see the full implications of his creation.  In doing this, Orwell is able to foreshadow how the experiment he initiated on the farm is meant for nothing more than absolute betrayal of its ideals.


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