What is the significance of the barn in Animal Farm?

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The barn symbolically represents the collective consciousness of the working-class animals and their original vision of an egalitarian society. The barn is where old Major gives his passionate speech and establishes the principles of Animalism. The barn is also where Snowball teaches the animals the tenets of Animalism and is also used as a meeting place. In addition to holding Sunday meetings in the barn, the Seven Commandments are written on the wall and the animals take cover in the barn during the Battle of the Windmill.

Once Napoleon usurps power, the pigs begin to distance themselves from the barn and reside in the farmhouse. Squealer also begins to alter the Seven Commandments on the barn's wall and the animals continue to sleep in the barn during Napoleon's tyrannical reign. The barn is significant because it contains the history and collective consciousness of the working class animals, who originally planned on establishing an egalitarian society following Mr. Jones’s expulsion. The concept of Animal Farm originated in the barn and the structure itself serves as a shelter for the working class animals throughout the novella. Squealer's ability to alter the Seven Commandments written on the barn's wall symbolically represents how oppressive regimes revise and alter a nation's identity by manipulating its history. By the end of the novella, the Seven Commandments on the barn have been completely changed to one contradicting principle and the barn is all that remains of the animals' dream of forming an egalitarian society.

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The barn is significant because it is the central meeting place of the animals. They gather here early in the book to hear Old Major tell them about the revolution that will one day allow the animals to take over the farm and run it for their own mutual benefit, rather than for the profit of humans.

Later, when he takes over, Napoleon meets with the animals in the barn. It is in the barn that the hens rebel against his decree that their eggs be sold. They lay the eggs on the high barn rafters so that the eggs will fall off and break. Napoleon commands that the hens be starved and threatens death to any animal who feeds them.

In general, the barn is where the animals learn of their collective fortune, good or bad, and it is on the side of the barn that the commandments of Animalism are painted and then gradually altered.

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In Animal Farm, the barn acts as an important symbol for two reasons.

First of all, the barn represents the animals' vision of utopia. It is the scene of Major's speech in Chapter One, for example, in which he talks of the inhumanity of man and the need for revolution. It is also the place in which he teaches the animals the song "The Beasts of England." Similarly, it is also the scene of Mr Jones' cruelty, when he fires shots at the barn to silence the animals during this meeting.

The Seven Commandments are also inscribed on the end wall of the barn. Again, these commandments represent the utopian ideals of the animals. They envisage a society in which animals are not dominated by man and thus emphasise equality and liberty.

Secondly, the barn is symbolic of the loyalty and dedication of the working animals on Animal Farm. As the leadership of the pigs intensifies, for example, they move further away the barn and it is left to those who perform the majority of the work. This occurs in Chapter Six and is justified by Squealer as being necessary for all the "brainwork" they have to do during the day. Over time, the pigs completely remove themselves from the barn, a move that is symbolic of their social distinction, and which spells disaster for the other animals.

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