Explain the significance of Napoleon's closing toast in Animal Farm.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea of "the toast" comes in the last chapter of Orwell's work. Having consolidated all of the power on the farm, ensuring complete control over the animals, and negotiating agreements with the humans in the neighboring farms, Napoleon and the Pigs host their human guests with a celebratory dinner at the farm.  The other animals watch, partly in confusion, partly with disillusion.  At the end of the dinner, Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood stood up and offered a toast to what Animal Farm means to him:

They [the humans] had been nervous about the effect upon their own nimals, or evern theur human employees.  But all such doubts were now dispelled.  Today he and his friends had visited Animal Farm and inspected every inch of it with their own eyes, and what did they find?  Not only the most up- to-date methods, but a discipline and an orderliness which should be an example fto all farmers everywhere.

Pilkington ends his homage to Animal Farm with a toast that hails its "prosperity."

His dream realized, Napoleon offers his toast which praises the ongoing relationship of control and exploitation shared by his farm and the neighboring human farms.  The only difference or "criticism" he had with Pilkington's speech is that Napoleon uses his toast to rename the farm.  The name "Animal Farm" was adopted when the animals ran Mr. Jones and the other humans off of the farm.  Now, with the pigs' control unrivaled, Napoleon offers his closing to his toast:

'Gentlemen,' concluded Napoleon. "I will give you the same toast as before, but in a different form.  Fill your glasses to the brim.  Gentlemen, here is my toast:  To the prosperity of The Manor Farm.'

The irony here is that the name "The Manor Farm" was exactly the same name that Mr. Jones had used for the farm prior to the animals' overtaking it.  With the celebration that followed, the animals watching from outside realize after Napoleon's toast that they could not tell the difference between animal and human in the room.  They all looked the same, as they all had the look of power.  In the end, Napoloeon's "same toast as before, but in a different form" is symbolic because it reflects how little has changed for the animals.  Jones' exploitation has been replaced by Napoleon.  The animals being overworked by the humans are now being overworked by the Pigs.  In the end, the name of the farm has gone back to what it was.  In the words of The Who, "Meet the new boss/ Same as the old boss."  The ending toast helps to bring out this idea that political control comes in all different forms and those who are in  the position of power have only one primary objective which is to maintain it.