April – May, 2019
Pages 1 – 21
What conditions are needed for revolution to occur? Based on your readings so far, what is the single most significant factor leading the animals to revolution?
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, farm animals revolt against Mr Jones and the other humans on the farm to get the lifestyle they want. After years of mistreatment, the animals finally decide that it is time to rise up against the power that commands them as they are tired of the life they live. The farm owners are living luxuriously and for the animals on the farm life is “miserable, laborious, and short”(2). The animals are forced to “work to the last atom of our[their] strength” and are “given just so much food as will keep the breath in our [their] bodies” (2). In the animals eyes, the “life of an animal is misery and slavery”(2). For the animals this unhappiness is what pushes them towards revolution. They are sick of being taken advantage of by humans. They are sick of being miserable, hungry and having to constantly work. They are sick of living the life they live when they understand that their lives could be better without man. Working hard and having “nearly the whole of the produce of our[their] labour” stolen from them, is not how they enjoy themselves (2). The most significant factor that leads the animals to revolution is the vision of life without humans and therefore life without misery. The animals have a glance and idea of how brilliant life would be without humans and how they could get a more luxurious life through rebellion.
Part 2 – 22-42
When, if ever, is the force of manipulation justified? What are the long term benefits of and detriments of these actions?
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, manipulation runs rampant for both animals and humans. In the beginning, the animals were blatantly manipulated by the Jones farmers, having “nearly the whole of the produce of our [their] labour is stolen from us [them] by human beings”(2). This manipulation resulted in obvious detriments and general unhappiness for all the animals. After the revolution successfully occurs and the animals occupy the whole farm, a leader emerges in the pigs. The pigs become leaders as they are the only animals who “could [can] already read and write perfectly” as well as having a better memory and hands suitable for more delicate work (10). The pigs understand and remember the entire alphabet while some animals like Boxer “could not get beyond the letter D”(10). In the beginning of the revolution, the pigs were insightful leaders who believed themselves to be equal with the rest of the animals but after a while the pigs realized they could be using their abilities for more. It started off as commandeering milk and apples “to preserve our [their] health” and in a few years time ended up changing the 7 commandments and siccing attack dogs to scare others into submission, even killing chickens when they refused to give up their eggs. The pigs realized that they could manipulate other animals by using their advanced brains. By the end of the book the pigs have taken full control over every other animal at Animal Farm. However, the manipulation and power the pigs hold over the other animals has resulted in more happiness than the rule of humans ever did. Even though the animals “were generally hungry, slept on straw, drank from the pool, laboured in the fields” and worked hard to please the pigs, they stayed content because of “their sense of honour and privilege in being members of Animal Farm” (39). In this instance, the manipulation imposed by the pigs has actually benefited the farm and animals greatly. Even with the same work and labour, the animals are happier knowing that their efforts are for themselves rather than profits going straight to humans. The manipulation is justified and beneficial in this situation as the animals are partly unknowing but content with the pigs tyranny.
All Pages (1-42)
In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other options available to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was the revolution inevitable?
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm I believe that the revolution was initially successful but in the end was a unpremeditated, inadequate and unnecessary idea. The original goal of the animals revolution was to change their lives of “misery and slavery” to lives where “the whole of the produce of our [their] labour” is no longer stolen from them (2). When the animals revolt this is exactly what happens and they are ecstatic, jumping around the fields, rolling in dew and shouting to remind themselves that “it was theirs−everything that they could see was theirs” (7). This initial excitement and joy lasts for many weeks but, as could have been foretold, there must be a leader to every group and leadership creates power dynamics which are often unfair to the weaker citizens. As the smartest, the pigs took control and started taking apples to “preserve [their] health” (11). This soon turns into a complete oligarchy where the pigs believe themselves to be far better and more powerful than other animals, even enforcing their belief of superiority with violent attack dogs. It could also have been easily foretold that life completely without humans would be impossible as among other things, the animals are completely unable to forge metal on their own. These two factors lead to pigs and humans becoming prone to cross species interaction and five years later “the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again” and could not tell the difference (42). By this time the animals were back to their miserable lives of slavery but instead of being whipped by humans, they were being lashed by pigs who carried “whips in their trotters” (40). Long term this revolution was not successful as they were right back where they started, now without any literate animals with them. The entire revolution idea was also unnecessary. Instead of turning to violence and expelling Jones, they could have first resorted to far more diplomatic measures such as simply talking or writing out communications to resolve the problems peacefully. However I believe this is unlikely to work with Jones and the animals would be back to square one all over again. In my opinion the animals will be unhappy with whatever leader they have, due to their stupidity and lackluster memory. No matter who they are led by, the animals are going to be manipulated as many “animals on the farm could get further than the letter A”. For anyone who leads the animals, manipulation is simply too easy. The animals are never going to permanently receive their desired change unless they can become a dominant species capable of identifying and stopping manipulation before it gets out of control.