How important is the weather to the struggles of the animals of Animal Farm? "It was a bitter winter." The weather has been important to the animals' occupation of the farm, which has now lasted...
How important is the weather to the struggles of the animals of Animal Farm?
"It was a bitter winter." The weather has been important to the animals' occupation of the farm, which has now lasted a year and a half. Quickly read again Chapters 1-6, noting references to the weather.
In Orwell's Animal Farm, as in many other works of art and literature, seasons play a metaphorical and symbolic role. Spring, which is the time during which the animals commandeer the farm, often serves as a metaphor for change or a reawakening. After the period of slumber that is winter, spring brings about the new plant growth, the return of migrators, and the awakening of hibernators. In terms of Animal Farm, the season of spring symbolizes a change in favor of the animals, for they are able to take control of the farm.
Summer serves as a time of productivity and harvest, and in Animal Farm, the animals reach the peak of their prosperity during the summertime. They are quite successful in their farm operations, and it is during summer that they encounter the least amount of conflict.
While autumn is mostly glossed over in Animal Farm, winter brings about the true hardships of the animals. Often a metaphor for sleep or death, winter offers dangerously freezing temperatures, hibernation, migration, and the temporary loss of greenery. During winter, the animals head closer to their inevitable doom as tensions greatly increase between the leaders.
In terms of other examples of weather portraying the mood of the story, keep your eyes open for a massive storm during the story's climax!
In Animal Farm, Orwell uses the weather to reflect the mood and struggles of the animals. To see this in action, take a look at chapter 3. In this chapter, the animals have successfully taken charge of the farm and are carrying out their first harvest. It is the height of summer and Orwell describes the animals sweating in the heat. The weather seems to reflect the animals' jubilant mood as they bask in their success at completing the harvest early.
By chapter 5, however, the weather changes. It is now the middle of winter, for example, and the weather becomes "bitterly hard." This change in weather matches the changes on the farm because the animals (with the exception of the pigs) are no longer jubilant. Mollie has become very "troublesome," for instance, and there is considerable tension between Snowball and Napoleon, which culminates in Snowball's violent expulsion from the farm.
What we find, then, is that the weather is used by Orwell to match the mood of the characters in the story. This is done deliberately and is similar to a technique called pathetic fallacy. Orwell uses it to reflect the changing mood and tensions on the farm and, more importantly, to highlight to the reader Napoleon's sinister rise to power.
When the animals first took over the farm, it was early spring, and the "harvest was an even bigger success than they had hoped" (Chapter III). The summer was a good one for the animals, whose work went "like clockwork." But when January came, the fields froze and little work could be done (Chapter V). The pigs spent their time planning for the upcoming season, and Snowball had great expectations for modernizing the farm's operation. Plans for a windmill were the most important of Snowball's ideas, but he soon disappeared and the windmill appeared to be put on hold. But once the weather improved, Napoleon announced that Snowball's windmill would be built after all. The animals worked "like slaves" throughout the spring and summer, and in August they began working on Sundays as well, which had been their one day off (Chapter VI). The harvest was smaller than the previous year (probably due, in part, to Snowball's absence). The windmill had nearly been completed when terrible winds hit in November, leaving it "in ruins."