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I think that the significance of the Commandments is that they are the written embodiment of Animalism. In chapter 1, Old Major articulates Animalism through spoken word and through verbal means. This is enough to wake the animals up, in a manner of speaking, and stir them to the idea of revolution and change. Yet, in chapter 2, change has been accomplished. The written Commandments help to create a sort of Constitution whereby Animalism becomes enshrined as the guiding principle in how life will be lived in a post- human and post- Jones world. It is significant that these commandments are written, a codified version of laws that will govern the behavior of the animals on the farm. It is also significant that these laws are representative of the idea of Animalism. It helps convince the animals that Animalism will be the guiding principle by which the farm will function. To a great extent, Snowball believes in this, an example of how at least part of the governing authority does accept Animalism and the ideals it represents. In having the commandments written for all to see, it is a temporary moment where the animals, and to an extent, the reader believes that Old Major's vision is to be realized not merely in theory but in some sense of practice. The ultimate significance of this is that it is a temporary belief, something that is shown to a small extent with the missing milk at the end of the chapter. This becomes the first moment where the Commandments' representation of Animalism is weakened, a process that will continue throughout the narrative.
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