How does life change for the animals after the Rebellion in Animal Farm?

Expert Answers

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

In the immediate aftermath of the Rebellion, the mood among the animals is exultant. Newly liberated, they are hopeful for the future. In this first phase of Animal Farm, life does seem to have improved dramatically, with the animals no longer under human oppression. They are happier, more productive, and enthused by the knowledge that their work belongs solely to themselves.

However, at the same time, even in this earliest phase, Orwell hints at a more unpleasant picture running beneath the surface. For one thing, he implies that, within this anti-human enthusiasm which follows the Rebellion, there is a dangerous element of fanaticism as well. Thus, in the same passage in which we observe the animals destroying human tools of brutality, they at the same time destroy the ribbons (which have neither a positive nor negative use, and will furthermore upset Mollie), even as Boxer destroys his straw hat (which had a very much positive utility in protecting his head). Additionally, in these early chapters, we also observe the growing dominance and privilege of the pigs. The end of Animal Farm's second chapter, depicting the disappearance of the milk, proves a critical turning point in this respect.

As time goes on, the conditions on the farm will continue to deteriorate, with the utopian dream of Animalism going unfulfilled. The pigs betray these original principles in favor of their own greed and self-interest, and later, Napoleon will create a dictatorship, maintained through the use of brutal oppression.

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

After the rebellion, life changed in degrees. At first, things seemed better. Animalism was established, and there was equality among the animals. More importantly, the animals worked for themselves. Their success in kicking out Jones was their badge of honor. However, everything was false. The pigs, particularly Napoleon and Squealer, really ran the show and made the principles of Animalism serve them. Squealer, with his eloquence, was able to convince the animals that life was indeed better, when, in fact, life was worse. Here is a quote:

Reading out the figures in a shrill, rapid voice, he proved to them in detail that they had more oats, more hay, more turnips than they had had in Jones's day, that they worked shorter hours, that their drinking water was of better quality, that they lived longer, that a larger proportion of their young ones survived infancy, and that they had more straw in their stalls and suffered less from fleas. The animals believed every word of it.

The hypocrisy and evil actions of the pigs can be seen graphically when they sold Boxer to a glue maker. In other words, after Boxer spent his life working for the farm and pigs, they got rid of him by selling his body for a quick profit.

But Benjamin pushed her aside and in the midst of a deadly silence he read: "Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied. Do you not understand what that means? They are taking Boxer to the knacker's!" A cry of horror burst from all the animals.

At the end of the novel, the pigs essentially become men. This shows that little has changed.

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

Immediately following the Rebellion, the animals establish their own egalitarian society, where every animal is represented and enjoys an independent, productive life. The pigs develop a system based on old Major's teachings known as Animalism and educate the other animals on the Seven Commandments, which promote solidarity among all animals. Snowball forms numerous committees, conditions on the farm dramatically improve, and the animals have a successful harvest.

Unfortunately, Napoleon ends up usurping power following the Battle of the Cowshed and chases Snowball off of the farm. With the aid of Squealer and nine ferocious dogs, Napoleon begins to rule the farm like a tyrant as the animals gradually lose their individual rights. As the story progresses, Napoleon creates a caste society, where the pigs are considered upper-class and enjoy special privileges while the other animals toil each day. Squealer spreads false propaganda while Napoleon holds public executions in order to control the animals through fear and manipulation.

Eventually, Napoleon and the pigs break every commandment, and the rest of the animals on the farm begin to suffer from exhaustion and malnutrition. Boxer ends up working himself to death, and the conditions on the farm become worse than they were under Mr. Jones. By the end of the novella, Napoleon essentially replaces Mr. Jones and even changes the name of the farm back to Manor Farm.

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

After the animals overthrow Mr. Jones, their lives change in a number of ways. First of all, as we learn in Chapter Three, Sundays are a day of rest and celebration. The animals do not work, for instance, and have breakfast one hour later. Sundays is also the day of their weekly meeting in which they raise the flag, celebrate the expulsion of Mr. Jones and discuss the coming week's work. Each meeting is then closed with a rendition of their anthem, Beasts of England.

Secondly, another major change for the animals is the opportunity to educate themselves. Thanks to Snowball, they can learn to read or write or join one of his many committees, like the White Wool Movement for the sheep.

Arguably, of all the animals on the farm, life has changed the most for the pigs. From the text, it is clear that the pigs do less work than before and instead spend their time supervising and directing the others. They also enjoy better rations because they have access to milk and apples. This is significant because it marks the beginning of their ascent to power which will have further, and increasingly negative, implications for the other animals on the farm.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team