What are the mood and theme of chapter 8 of Animal Farm?

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One of the major themes of chapter eight of Animal Farm is the rapidly developing corruption and degradation of the animals during the idealistic revolution. The abuses of power on the part of the pigs have become violent and pervasive. In the previous chapter, the pigs use the dogs to...

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One of the major themes of chapter eight of Animal Farm is the rapidly developing corruption and degradation of the animals during the idealistic revolution. The abuses of power on the part of the pigs have become violent and pervasive. In the previous chapter, the pigs use the dogs to execute many animals they identify as enemies of Animal Farm, and in this chapter, the commandment on the barn wall is changed to read "No animal shall kill another animal without cause." The pigs use propaganda to portray Napoleon as a glorious and heroic leader, and rewrite the history of the windmill and the various human opponents of Animal Farm. The theme of the corruption of Animal Farm is most evident in the relationships between the pigs and the people outside the farm. Napoleon negotiates business transactions with Mr. Pilkington in particular, and these lucrative deals are justified through propaganda. At the same time, the general population of animals, though worked nearly to death, is still excited by the possibility that the windmill might improve their lives. Their idealism is contrasted with the cynicism of the pigs: when Napoleon violates one of the commandments by getting drunk, the pigs claim that he is dying, and celebrate him as a great hero when he recovers from his hangover. So the overall mood created by this chapter is one of cynicism and almost black humor as we watch the pigs manipulate the masses to justify their corruption and greed.

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The theme is that of replacing a corrupt system with an equally oppressive system. The mood is one of forced optimism as the animals are determined to finish the second windmill. When they engage in the war with Frederick (after he has robbed them), he blows up the windmill. So, the mood is also one of despair and uncertainty since Napoleon (via Squealer) still continues to change the laws to suit his wishes. The latest is that ‘no animal shall drink alcohol to excess.’ Napoleon continues to spread lies about Snowball (that he was not a great hero in the battle of the cowshed) and continues his attempts to ally the animals by pitting them against others (Snowball and Frederick). For Napoleon and his retinue, the mood is surely optimistic, despite the setbacks because he and his court have all the power and privilege. For the rest of the animals, the mood is more despondent than it ever was under Jones.

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