What three different types of external conflict (man vs man, man vs nature, and man vs society) occur in the book Animal Farm?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Animal Farm is renowned for both external and internal conflict. In discussing the external conflict involving Man versus Nature, the animals suffer during the harsh winters. In chapter VI, with the windmill half finished the "raging south-west winds" change everything and the windmill is destroyed. Napoleon forces the animals to work through the winter storms, sleet and frost to rebuild the windmill. This conflict intensifies the animals' struggle and it also masks the real problems with authority—Napoleon—which will ultimately destroy their dreams. 

The conflict between Snowball and Napoleon is one of Man versus Man because it is mostly a power struggle. Both pigs have different ideals and use the Rebellion for different purposes. Snowball fights for the principles of Animalism whereas Napoleon uses those same principles to further his own cause. Instead of the two animals standing together to improve conditions for all the animals, their power struggle causes confusion and the ultimate expulsion of Snowball.   

The main conflict of the story is the struggle of Man against Society and this is represented initially by the clash between the humans and the animals. In this conflict, the humans represent an overbearing and merciless institution with the animals portrayed as the abused victims of this unjust structure. Later, Napoleon becomes the oppressor as he fails to uphold the principles of Animalism as they were intended and gradually changes them to suit himself. Snowball's plans involve improvements for all the animals; unlike Napoleon who uses his influence and ultimately becomes the representation of evil as he is the aggressor and punishes the animals for any hint of disloyalty. By the end, the main conflict is resolved as the humans and the pigs are barely distinguishable from each other and the other animals are reduced to "creatures (who) looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

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Animal Farm

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