Overall, is life is better or worse for the animals in Animal Farm since the revolution?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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With George Orwell's having written Animal Farm following his dillusionment with Communism, it is, indeed, apparent that the lives of the animals have not been improved, especially after Napoleon becomes dictatorial. In the end, they suffer. 

  • At first when everyone works together to get the hay in, their efforts are profitable.  However, after a time the animals realize that the pigs enjoy the cow's milk in their mash, and the "windfalls" such as the ripening apples are not shared, but brought to the harness room for the pigs (Ch. 3).
  • Then, in Chapter 4, the animals must engage in battle with the humans [the Battle of the Cowshed], and some of the sheep are killed.
  • Snowball is expelled from the farm when Napolen has his dogs chase him. After this act, Squealer begins his propaganda, telling the animals that they must work harder and be very loyal and obedient, beginning his campaign of fear and propaganda,

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?"

  • Craftily, Squealer tells the animals that Napoleon wanted the windmill, but he pretended to oppose it as a manoeuvre to rid the farm of Snowball. Unsure of the truth of this statement, the other animals do not protest because the three dogs of Napoleon growl at them in a threatening manner.
  • Chapter 6 opens with "All that year the animals worked like slaves." In order to build the windmill, they work sixty hours a week; the work is strictly controlled. Boxer exerts himself so much that he later become debilitated.  Later, all the work of the animals is for nought as the windmill is destroyed by raging winds in the winter.
  • The food begins to run out.  When the hens learn that they must surrender all their eggs to be sold for grain in order to sustain the farm, they are outraged and roost in the rafters and lay their eggs so that they will smash onto the floor. Some of them die.
  • When a mild uprising occurs, it is squelched by Napoleon, who forces some of the animals to confess, then they are all killed.

When it was all over, the remaining animals, except for the pigs and dogs, crept away in a body.  They were shaken and miserable.

  • By Chapter 8, the animals live in terror from having witnessed the execution of their fellow beasts.  Then, they are subjected to another battle against men; four animals die and almost all the others are wounded. Again, the windmill on which they have worked for two years is destroyed.
  • By Chapter 9, Napoleon has begun drinking and sleeping in the house. Boxer's split hoof takes a long time, but he works every day.  Whereas the retirement age has been set at certain ages for different animals, no animal has yet been allowed to retire and draw a pension.

Meanwhile life was hard.  The winter was as cold as the last one had been, and food was even shorter. 

  • Even though the farm has a fairly successful year, it remains short of money. The barley is reserved for the pigs only while the other animals feel that their lives are "hungry and laborious."
  • Having labored so on the new windmill, Boxer's lung collapses and he cannot get up; pretending sympathy Comrade Napoleon pretends that he calls a veterinarian, but in reality he sends Boxer off to the slaughterer.
  • In Chapter 10, years have passed, but "no animal had actually retired."  The young animals born on Animal Farm are brainwashed by the propaganda and are "very stupid."

 

 

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