What is the signifigance of the color of the flag and the symbols on it in Animal Farm?

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omconnelly eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The flag that is flown in Animal Farm is first introduced in chapter three. This inaugural flying represents the life the animals dreamed about while toiling under the abusive human rule. The flag is raised prior to the first meeting of the animals. At these meetings "resolutions were put forward and debated." Ironically, "it was always the pigs who put forward the resolutions." This seemingly minor detail is important because it foreshadows what will happen to the animals' utopia.

This flag is significant and symbolic in a number of ways. The flag represents the Animal Farm: a land ruled by animals for animals. The flag is made of "an old green tablecloth of Mrs. Jones's and had painted on it a hoof and a horn in white" (Chapter 3).  The composition of the flag is symbolic as well. The narrator describes the flag in detail in chapter three: 

The flag was green, Snowball explained, to represent the green fields of England, while the hoof and horn signified the future Republic of the Animals which would arise when the human race had been finally overthrown. 

At the end of the novella, the animals' dream of a utopian society is destroyed. The pigs have taken over rule of the farm and abandoned the ideals of Animalism. The animals no longer hoist the flag or hold general assemblies. Under the pigs' rule the animals are worked harder and treated worse than they were while under human rule. The flag that once symbolized revolution and change is now forgotten. In the final chapter, the animals on the farm watch the pigs and humans have a meal in the farmhouse and realize

with a start that, as they look around the room of the farmhouse, they can no longer distinguish which of the cardplayers are pigs and which are human beings (Chapter 10).