Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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Compare and contrast the animals' situation at Manor Farm and their situation at Animal Farm. Explain the differences and similarities between the way man controlled the farm from the way animals controlled the farm.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Before the Rebellion, the animals suffered under Mr. Jones's rule, as old Major explains during his moving speech at the beginning of the novella. The animals' lives were laborious, difficult, and unfulfilling. Under Mr. Jones, the animals labored all day and suffered from malnutrition. When the animals became too old to work, they were sent to the knackers or killed. Mr. Jones was a terribly oppressive ruler and chose to indulge in alcohol rather than improve conditions on the farm for his animals.

Despite successfully rebelling and establishing Animal Farm, Napoleon quickly usurps power and the miserable conditions return as he requires the animals to labor all day and dramatically reduces their food rations. Conditions on Animal Farm mirror the terrible state of the former Manor Farm, where Mr. Jones was an oppressive ruler. Napoleon treats the animals worse than Mr. Jones and even holds public executions. He also creates an aristocracy of pigs and adopts many human behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, engaging in trade, standing upright, living in the farmhouse, and wearing Mr. Jones's clothes. In the final chapter of the novella, Mr. Pilkington commends Napoleon for oppressing the other animals and Napoleon changes the name of the farm back to Manor Farm, which makes the transformation complete. After a brawl ensues in the farmhouse, the animals peeking in the window cannot tell the difference between the pigs and humans. Overall, conditions on the farm under Mr. Jones and Napoleon are the same, if not worse, as Napoleon adopts similar oppressive measures as the farm's former owner.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There's really not much difference between the way things were under Farmer Jones and the way they are at the end of the book.  That's pretty much the point of the book and the point of part in Chapter X where Napoleon tells Pilkington and the other people that the name of the farm is being changed back to Manor Farm.

Here's one other way that Orwell shows the similarities: in Chapter I, he has Old Major say this:

You, Boxer, the very day that those great muscles of
yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to the knacker, who will cut
your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds.

Think about what ends up happening to Boxer.  It is exactly this fate.  He gets hurt in the fighting, he works himself until he is weak.  When he gets too weak, Napoleon sells him to the knackers.

A major theme of the book is the idea that things are no better under the pigs than they were under the humans.

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