Theme – Animal Farm Theme Analysis The theme of Animal Farm is not difficult to understand. Orwell intended to criticize the communist regime he saw sweeping through Russia and spreading to Europe and even the United States. Though he agreed with many Marxist principles, Orwell was unable to accept the communist interpretation of socialism because he saw many similarities between the communist governments and the previous czarist regimes in old Russia. Communism, he thought, was inherently hypocritical.In his self-proclaimed “fairy-story,” Orwell uses his allegorical farm to symbolize the communist system. Though the original intention of overthrowing Mr.
Jones (who represents the Czars), is not inherently evil in itself, Napoleon’s subsequent adoption of nearly all of Mr. Jones’ principles and harsh mistreatment of the animals proves to the reader that indeed communism is not equality, but just another form of inequality. The pigs and dogs take most of the power for themselves, thinking that they are the best administrators of government. Eventually the power corrupts them, and they turn on their fellow animals, eliminating competitors through propaganda and bloodshed. This is of course a reference to Stalin, who murdered many of his own people in order to maintain his dictatorship of Russia. Chapter 1 In Orwell’s first chapter, the reader is introduced to all of his wonderful animals – with two important exceptions: Snowball and Napoleon (two characters who will become the focus later).
Obviously most of the chapter is intended to spark pity and a sense of sympathy for the poor, suffering farm animals, but the old Major’s words are very telling. The wise old pig addresses the central conflict of the book, and of Orwell’s intended meaning– tyranny. The first (and seemingly only) dictatorship the animals must overcome is the rule of Mr. Jones and the other humans. Chapter 2 Orwell’s second chapter is drenched with metaphors – most of which will not come to light until later in the novel.
The first is old Major’s death. This represents the end to the older regime, the initial revolution. Now someone else will have to step into authority. Secondly Orwell strangely describes a pig named Squealer. The name sounds fairly pig-like but his actions don’t.
Supposedly Squealer has a special ability to persuade others. Orwell boasts, ..he could turn black into white. Obviously a pig like this could be used by the right people (animals). Orwell uses chapter 2 to really make Mr. Jones into a bad guy, although he admits that he was at one time a good master. Mr. Jones’ main problem is that he drinks too much and neglects the farm. Even his men are idle and dishonest.
Soon the animals are fed up with Jones (pardon the pun) after not being fed for over a day, so they organize and successfully carry out the long- awaited revolt. The animals rename Manor Farm Animal Farm yet agree not to live in the house. Yet some of the elite pigs have already adopted some of Man’s ways; Snowball and Napoleon have suddenly taught themselves to read and write, and soon a list of 7 Commandments is written on the tarred wall. Unfortunately only a few of the animals can actually read the rules. This will come back to haunt them later.
Orwell again closes with a eerie foreshadowing. After Snowball and Napoleon order the animals to work in the hay field, the milk which many of the lower animals asked to drink mysteriously disappears. Napoleon, however, dismisses the milk plea by proclaiming, The harvest is more important. Chapter 3 Chapter 3 is uneventful for the most part although it does have a few more important metaphors. For one thing, the pigs are starting to emerge as the elite class of animals although all animals are supposed to be equal.
Orwell narrates, The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. Of course the rational is classic and easy to see through. Orwell continues, With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership. Snowball and Napoleon start to fight and argue over everything. Both pigs enjoy the apples and milk only given to them.
Of course this is just in the farm’s best interest. Really pigs don’t like the taste of milk and apples, but force it down in order to stay healthy and help supervise (haha). Chapter 4 Orwell’s fourth chapter is a look into the outside world. This is really more or less a reality check after so much narrative about the utopian lifestyle of Animal Farm. The passage does clear up a few questions any inquisitive reader would have about the outside world. I mean, wouldn’t you think that the other neighboring farmers might think something’s up if one day they see a bunch of pigs supervising horses plow a field? Anyway, Orwell explains, It was lucky that the owners of the two farms which adjoined Animal Farm were on permanently bad terms. Anyone considering the allegorical significance of Foxwood and Pinchfield might guess that they are really just deep metaphors for the nations bordering Russia. Anyway, these farmers just shrug off the animal rule as a gimmick and don’t think much of it until they realized that the animals are actually being more productive than Jones had been.
They also get a little nervous when they realize that the Animal Farm pigeons have gone to neighboring farms, teaching other animals the Beasts of England song and encouraging them to revolt. So the farmers next strategy is to criticize the farm, saying that the animals practiced cannibalism, tortured one another with red-hot horseshoes, and had their females in common. This symbolizes the outcry of America and other Western nations during the beginning stages of the cold war. Ridicule was really the only tactic they had left after being scared to death of the Soviet powers after World War II. The real action in the chapter is when Jones and his men try to recapture the farm. Napoleon and his pig allies had long expected this to happen, so they plan a very extensive defense strategy.
When the Jones crew attacks, they were gored, kicked, bitten, and trampled on. So many of the men die, thus concluding the Battle of the Cowshed. Chapter 5 Orwell’s fifth chapter is an action-packed tale of two animals who leave the farm. First Mollie, who never was too fond of the whole idea of revolution since it meant she wouldn’t have any more sugar lumps, is seen talking to a neighbor man and letting him stroke her nose. When confronted by Clover, she denies it, then runs away forever.
None of the other animals ever mentioned Mollie again. Chapter 6 Orwell mostly uses chapter 6 as a series of foreshadows. The first involves, of course, Napoleon. This time he’s beginning to trade with the neighboring farmers, Foxwood and Pinchfield. The necessity comes from materials only humans can make. But the picture-perfect world the animals imagined had no conflicts like this.
I mean, who could have imagined that Boxer might need new horseshoes? Well, ok maybe the animals were being naive. Anyway, Napoleon decides that he will conduct trade with the outside world. But some of the animals think that maybe this was once forbidden. Soon the animals have more reason to be uneasy. They notice that the pigs have recently begun to sleep in beds, which, of course, is one of the forbidden associations with humans.
Muriel reads the commandments to the confused Clover from the barn wall and notices that one of them has been altered. Now it reads, No animals shall sleep in a bed with sheets. Toward the end of the reading, the windmill, which was Snowball’s idea stolen by Napoleon, myster …