Some critics believe that at the end of Animal Farm, Orwell suggests that the pigs and human political leaders are interchangeable. Discuss your thoughts.
The ending (as the pigs become human), to my reading, suggests that the difference between the animals and humans was never a difference of kind but instead a difference of degree.
The animals are animals only to the extent that they exhibit solidarity with one another, act with political and personal integrity, and do actual work.
Humans, in Animal Farm, are representative of the corruption that characterizes those in power who are removed from service, from labor, and from the interests of the "masses".
I think that the ending reflects one of Orwell's fundamental ideas about revolution and governance. Being someone who believed in the promises and possibilities of the Russian Revolution and then became disillusioned with what happened as a result, Orwell was able to grasp the tragic condition of the gap between fighting for independence and keeping it. Through this, the ending becomes more identifiable. Few, if any, would doubt that the revolution of the animals was justified in that Jones was not being a good leader and was not responsive to the animals' needs. Jones himself sealed his own fate with drinking to a point where the animals' claims about him were being proven true. In this light, a change was needed and the revolution was justified. Yet, it is the consolidation of power on the part of the pigs, it became evident that power is seductive, alluring to those who have it and drives them to want to keep it at all costs. The declaration of freedom and the business of government become two different realities that Napoleon and the Pigs, outside of Snowball of course, understand very well.
The ending of the book reflects how Animal Farm has changed and how it has not changed. All of the original commandments of Animalism have been changed to prevent further perversion, the pigs and dogs run the show, and the animals on the farm are now under the control of another animal, as opposed to another human. When Napoleon's toast ends with the abolition of "Comrade" and the renaming of the farm to the name the Jones gave it, it becomes clear that power has come full circle. The "new boss" is the same as the "old boss." This is why the ending becomes so significant in that the pigs and the humans both cheat at cards and are both fighting with one another. There is no fundamental difference between animal and human, as power is the ultimate common denominator between them. I don't see the ending as much about interchangeability as much as it is about how the consolidation of power will always create a fundamental rift between those individuals that have it and wish to keep it and those who are on the outside in lacking it.