How is hope portrayed in George Orwell's Animal Farm? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hope is not easy to find in Animal Farm.  The ending message is one that marginalizes hope in the name of political power.  However, one can see hope in a couple of distinct places. The first would be in chapter one.  Old Major represents the force of hope in how he galvanizes the animals to accept the premise of animal exploitation at the hands of humans.  This is hopeful in how it is depicted, suggesting that if animals demonstrate solidarity to one another, great results can be seen.  Another way this is hopeful would be in how the animals sing "Beasts of England" together, almost unifying their consciousness in a shared purpose and goal.  This hope is also seen in how animals like Boxer and Clover accept the tenets of the Revolution and do what they can to support it on a local and subjective level.

There is hope in these elements.  Yet, Orwell makes the case that political power benefits when there is a lack of hope.  Hope is what causes individuals to rise up and take action, ideas that directly challenge authority.  For Orwell, those in the position of power benefit when there is a lack of hope.  With Napoleon's consolidation of power, hope becomes a casualty.  Thus, an element of hope comes at the end of the book when the reader recognizes how important hope actually is to ensuring that individual voice is not marginalized or relegated to the periphery.