What Are Napoleon's Ideas About Education

What are Napoleon's ideas on education in Animal Farm?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Napoleon believed that the pigs should be the most educated so that they could keep the other animals subservient.

Napoleon used education for his own purposes, as a way to cement his power.  From the beginning, he and the other pigs used learning to read and write to their advantage.  Although the other animals did learn to read some, the pigs made sure that the education was reserved mostly for them.  As the brain trust of the farm, they could ensure that the other animals remained ignorant.   This would come in handy so that they could do things like change the commandments and tell the animals that they remembered things wrong.

The pigs study in secret, and then reveal that they know how to read and write.  They also tell the animals that because of this secret education they are able to convey what Old Major knows best.  In this way, they are able to control the animals and prevent the farm from belonging to everyone.

They explained that by their studies of the past three months the pigs had succeeded in reducing the principles of Animalism to Seven Commandments… an unalterable law by which all the animals on Animal Farm must live for ever after. (Ch. 2)

Although the pigs do allow some animals to learn to read, they never get very far.  In this way, most of the education and the power remains with the pigs.  Snowball is the pig who is more interested in education and committees, and real communal power, and Napoleon gets rid of him as soon as it is convenient to do so.

The only education that really matters to Napoleon is making sure that the sheep are brainwashed into being his propaganda, speaking so loudly that they drown out any doubters.  He also teaches the puppies to be his security force.  His other goal is to teach the animals that he is always right, and he is in charge, and not to mess with him.  Soon, the animals are all under his control and there is little difference between the farm under the pigs’ rule and the farm under the men.

rachellopez | Student

Napoleon only wanted the pigs to be educated. In order to trick the other animals, Napoleon needed them to be uneducated, that way they would have to rely on what the pigs said. The pigs wanted to be the superior animals so they were taught to read and write. This advantage would help them keep hold of all the power on the farm.