My teacher always asks these questions in class and I'm kind of confused. In what specific ways are the animals of Animal Farm complicit in their domination by Napoleon and the other pigs?  

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 3, the animals are revelling in the Rebellion. Their first clue that the pigs might be imposing their authority is when they find out the pigs have been hoarding milk and apples. Squealer uses fear to suppress their suspicions.

We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depends on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back!

The animals don't want Jones back so they agree with Squealer's reasoning. They are scared into obeying. On the other hand, they are (I wouldn't say complicity) somewhat at fault in that they don't question Squealer's assertion that milk and apples are good for mental health and leadership.

In Chapter 5, Squealer uses this fear tactic again. Squealer clearly tells them that he will rewrite the history of the Battle of the Cowshed to make Snowball look bad.

"Bravery is not enough," said Squealer. "Loyalty and obedience are more important. And as to the Battle of the Cowshed, I believe the time will come when we shall find that Snowball's part in it was much exaggerated. Discipline, comrades, iron discipline! That is the watchword for today. One false step, and our enemies would be upon us. Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?"

In the next Chapter, Six, the first line is, "All that year the animals worked like slaves." Clearly, by this point, the animals have failed to challenge Napoleon and the pig authorities because they were still under the illusion that they were working for their own benefit.

As the novel goes on, the Commandments are changed. The pigs essentially change this historical record (as well as the record of the Battle of the Cowshed) in order to suit their increasing greed and to change the direction of the Rebellion. This is nothing more than using propaganda to enforce a policy. Animals, such as the hens, who refuse to abide by the changing policies are executed or punished. Now, the animals have to fear outside enemies and their own authorities.

By the time the executions occur, the pigs have become more powerful and, even more significantly, more influential than Jones had ever been. If anything, the animals should have stood up for Snowball. And most importantly, they should have insisted on continuing the meetings with all leaders in attendance so each animal could have his/her voice heard. Their other failure, in this same respect, was allowing Napoleon and the pigs to elevate themselves above the masses.

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Animal Farm

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