In chapter 10, how has the farm changed over the years? What is the single Commandment? What does the word "equal" mean in this context?

Expert Answers

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

Chapter 10 of the novel begins with the statement that "years passed." From this, we know that the farm has been living under the new regime for long enough that many of the original group of animals have since died, and Boxer has been mostly forgotten. As such, many of those now on the farm cannot remember the way things were before the Rebellion, and accept everything they are told by the pigs.

The single commandment written on the wall is:

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

This, obviously, is a contradiction in terms—one person cannot be "more equal" than someone else. The second part of the commandment gives the lie to the first part, and betrays the fact that what the pigs have been chanting is, in fact, what they are really saying—"four legs good, two legs better." All animals are not equal if some are considered better than others (in this case, the pigs).

The way the farm is now run is a far cry from the utopia the animals had once envisaged. Although the older animals still hope that there will be equality, they have been proven wrong—the pigs have begun walking on their hind legs, carrying whips, and behaving exactly as the humans once did. They even begin to talk with other local humans. Evidently, the animals who once sought "equality" for all have now set themselves up as overlords in the manner of the humans they once set out to overthrow.

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

The final commandment is that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. From this, we surmise that the animals are not equal and that the pigs are held above all others. This marks a return to a style of leadership that treats the majority of animals unfairly.

 

At this point in the novel, we see the farm is just as bad as it was during the reign of Mr. Jones, if not worse. While the revolution initially brought hope for a better life, the animals’ hopes are never realized, and their quality of life has declined.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team