Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Animal Farm book cover
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What does man represent in Animal Farm?

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Adam Worcester eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Man represents repression in Animal Farm, a corrupt overseer who must be overthrown. This is reflected in slogans such as “four legs good, two legs bad,” Napoleon’s warnings that Farmer Jones is coming back, and prohibitions on wearing clothes, sleeping in beds, and doing anything human or appearing human in any way.

Over the course of the novel, ironically, Napoleon and the pigs become more and more similar to the humans they ostensibly detest. They eat some of the same foods, sleep in the same beds, even start to walk on two legs. But because they are pigs, not “man,” they hoodwink, bully, and brainwash the other animals into believing their leadership is different and better. The novel famously spoofs the Russian Revolution and suggests that the animals purged their old leaders only to gain worse leadership under a fancy guise.

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Johan Dickens eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Orwell's dystopian satire comments on Russia's political climate following the Russian Revolution. Ultimately, Orwell makes the point that the Russians, in trying to break free of Czar Nicholas II's stringent leadership, ended up with the equally oppressive Communist government.

The animals of Animal Farm think they have liberated themselves when they depose Farmer Jones and his friends, who symbolize Czar Nicholas II and the pre-Revolutionary Russian nobility.

Free of the humans, the animals take drastic measures to separate themselves from the predecessing leadership. To this end, they adopt several laws reminding themselves of the goodness of animals and the badness of the humans.

For example,

Four legs good, two legs bad.

Likewise,

All animals are equal.

With Old Major (who represents Vladimir Lenin) taking the lead, the animals also stipulate, among other things, that it is wrong to resemble humans by wearing clothes.

Upon the passing of Old Major, distinctions begin to arise between the purportedly autonomous animals. The pigs take more and more control over the affairs of the farm. Animals like Boxer, now driven by a newfound patriotism, become members of a rapidly re-congealing working class.

The laws undergo subtle changes too, as some animals become “more equal than others.” The pigs begin walking about on two legs and are described, in the final scene, as wearing clothes. They have become just like the humans they sought to overthrow.

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