What human characteristics (other than speech) has Orwell given to the animals?

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lashawnb | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Orwell's characters are an ingenious combination of animal and human characteristics. Orwell uses the animal's natural or stereotypical traits and exaggerates them to represent a specific group or class of society. For example the pigs are intelligent, so they are the intellectual class, which tries to take over. The horses are strong, but not so smart, so they represent the laborers. The sheep, of course, are the blind followers. The dogs are smart and strong, but loyal to a fault, so they are the secret police.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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I assume you mean "given to his animals." If this is the case, two important elements are the human capacity for both religious and political blindness

Religious hypocrisy is found particularly in Moses, the Raven. "Moses preaches "the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died;" in that distant land "it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges." Obviously, when the story is played out, the reality is certainly nothing like what Raven promises.

Political hopes for utopia are also lambasted. The propensity of human beings to blindly follow the crowd is perhaps the most important theme of Orwell's novel. As the notes here at eNotes rightly point out, "(t)he only protection the average citizen has against a similar tyranny developing in his own country is his refusal to blindly follow the crowd (like the sheep), the repudiation of all spurious explanations by propaganda sources (like Squealer), and diligent attention to all government activity, instead of faithfully following those in power (like Boxer)."

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