Explain how the idea of "the difficulty in life is the choice" can be seen with different characters in Animal Farm.

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

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Part of the challenge in this essay is going to be writing about a concept that is not necessarily featured in the book.  Orwell does not construct a narrative whereby choice is something present, therefore it becomes difficult to write about something that is not entirely evident.  We can trace how different individuals failed to heed the issue of choice and faced difficulty in life because of it.  This can be seen in the example of Mr. Jones, who failed to act on the choice of treating his animals better or at least failed to act on the choice that required him to pay more attention to the issues of the animals on the farm, and prevent the revolution that ended up costing him power.  I think that different animals on the farm saw the issue of choice impact them in different ways.  Benjamin and Clover both make a conscious choice to not learn how to read fluently and proficiently.  Boxer only learns how to read the first four letters of the alphabet and Clover relies on others to read for her.  Certainly, Boxer's continual desire to work and put off the issue of reading is what causes his ultimate difficulty in not recognizing that the van that has come to take him away is going to take him to the knacker.  Clover's reliance on others' reading ability prevents her from fully grasping how the pigs are manipulating the commandments of Animalism for their own benefit. Additionally, Clover's choice to simply accept that "things are better than with Jones" results in a lack of activism that emboldens the pigs and their oppression of the other animals.  Benjamin might embody the quote the best in that he makes a conscious choice not to care and the difficult this entails is brutal, as he loses his best friend and recognizes that his activism is too little, too late.

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