In Animal Farm by George Orwell, was the animal revolution successful?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

To the extent that the animal's revolt ousts the humans from the farm, it is a success, but as far as achieving any of the aims of the revolution, the animal's revolt is an utter failure.

At the beginning, listening to Old Major before the revolt, and in the early...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

To the extent that the animal's revolt ousts the humans from the farm, it is a success, but as far as achieving any of the aims of the revolution, the animal's revolt is an utter failure.

At the beginning, listening to Old Major before the revolt, and in the early days after the rebellion, the animals are full of hope they can build an equal society with prosperity for all. They start out with the idea that all the animals will be equal. They dream of pleasant retirements and of using the power from the windmill they will build to have heated stalls and running water. At first, they all (or almost all) work together in solidarity to make the farm a success.

But the pigs quickly take power, and under the corrupt leadership of Napoleon, they commandeer almost all the goods the farm produces for themselves. At the end of the book, visiting human farmers are impressed with how much work the pigs get out of the other animals at such little expense. The pigs even change the essential commandment that all animals are equal to read that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others, a statement which doesn't make sense. The pigs also end up walking on two legs, wearing clothes, and carrying whips, in all ways identical to human beings.

Orwell was commenting on what happened in the Soviet Union, in which the promises of communism were betrayed by Stalin, and also warning people to be careful not to be deceived by words and propaganda.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The animals' rebellion is successful, but their revolution is not. At the beginning of the novella, Old Major stirs the animals' emotions by delivering a passionate speech, and he encourages them to rise up against their oppressive human masters. Shortly after Old Major passes away, the pigs develop a school of thought known as Animalism, which promotes solidarity among all animals and warns against human interaction. After the animals successfully drive Mr. Jones and his men from the property, they establish Animal Farm and the pigs immediately take charge. Initially, the revolution seems successful, and the animals enjoy their largest harvest ever recorded. Snowball creates various committees, the animals collaborate to make political decisions, and the pigs even teach the other animals how to read.

Unfortunately, Napoleon ends up usurping power and conditions on the farm rapidly decline. Napoleon ends up ruling the farm as a tyrant by reducing food rations, increasing the animals' workload, preventing other animals from making political decisions, and enjoying privileges while other animals suffer. Under Napoleon's reign, hens are starved to death, and other animals are publicly executed. Each one of the Seven Commandments is broken, and conditions on the farm become worse than they were under Mr. Jones's reign. By the end of the novella, Napoleon becomes more of a tyrant than Mr. Jones ever was, and the animals suffer from worse conditions than before the rebellion, which is why one can argue that the revolution was not a success.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Animal Farm by George Orwell, the animal revolution was successful to the extent that the animals took over the farm from Mr. Jones and his wife, but in the long run, the animals (except for the pig leaders) were just as bad off, if not worse, than they had been before. In the beginning, the animals' lives improved greatly, and everyone was willing and happy to work for the good of the farm. Over time, as the pigs, particularly Napoleon, gained power, things changed. Napoleon became very human like, forcing the other animals to work long hours for little reward. He trained the dogs to attack anyone he considered to be a threat to his power. He began living in the house, breaking all of the commandments the animals had set forth for themselves. With power often comes corruption, and this is what happened to Napoleon. The other animals suffered because of it. So, yes, they won the revolution, but in the end it did them little good.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team