top of page

Animal Farm - Full Text Analysis

By George Orwell

Plot Overview

Animal Farm is a political allegory that tells the story of a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer in order to create a society in which the animals can be free and equal. Led by the pigs, particularly Snowball and Napoleon, the animals overthrow Mr. Jones and rename the property Animal Farm. Initially, the farm functions well under the principles of Animalism, which is based on the idea that all animals are equal and should work for the common good of the group. However, as time passes, the pigs begin to consolidate their power and assert their dominance over the other animals.

Snowball and Napoleon have a power struggle and Napoleon emerges as the leader of the farm. He makes a series of changes to the principles of Animalism, including a revision of the Seven Commandments, the governing laws of Animal Farm. The pigs become more and more human-like in their behavior, including drinking alcohol and wearing clothes, and the other animals begin to feel alienated from them.

Napoleon establishes a secret police force of attack dogs and begins to eliminate anyone who opposes his rule. The pigs rewrite history and alter the Seven Commandments to suit their needs. They also engage in trade with the neighboring farms, which is against the principles of Animalism.

Eventually, the pigs become indistinguishable from the humans they originally rebelled against. They begin to walk upright and carry whips, just like the humans. The other animals realize that they have been betrayed and oppressed, but it is too late to change anything.

The novel ends with the pigs hosting a dinner with humans, signifying the total corruption of the Animalist principles and the complete transformation of the pigs into the oppressors they had originally fought against. The other animals watch in horror as they realize that they can no longer tell the difference between the pigs and the humans. The final line of the novel, "The creatures outside 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," emphasizes the novel's central theme of the corrupting influence of power and the danger of blindly following a charismatic leader.

Plot Overview

Context and Purpose

Animal Farm, written by George Orwell in 1945, is a political allegory that critiques the Russian Revolution and Stalinist Russia. The novel takes place on an English farm run by pigs who overthrow their human owner and establish a society based on the principles of animalism.

The context of the novel is important for understanding its purpose and message. Orwell was a democratic socialist who was critical of the Soviet Union and the rise of Stalinism. Animal Farm was written during World War II, a time when the Soviet Union was seen as an ally against Nazi Germany, but Orwell was critical of the Soviet Union's authoritarianism and propaganda. The novel was published in 1945, after the war had ended, and was seen as a warning against the dangers of totalitarianism and the betrayal of revolutionary ideals.

The novel's themes are closely tied to its context. The concept of animalism, which represents the ideals of the Russian Revolution, is portrayed as a noble idea, but one that is easily corrupted by power-hungry leaders. The pigs, who represent the Communist Party and its leaders, become increasingly authoritarian and betray the principles of animalism in order to maintain their power. The novel critiques Stalinism by portraying the pigs' propaganda tactics and their use of violence and intimidation to control the other animals. The character of Napoleon, who represents Stalin, is portrayed as a ruthless and corrupt dictator who uses fear and violence to maintain his power.

Orwell's own political views are also reflected in the novel's themes. The novel critiques the dangers of blind allegiance to political leaders and ideologies, and the importance of independent thinking and critical analysis. The character of Benjamin, the donkey, represents the cynicism and skepticism that Orwell felt was necessary to resist totalitarianism. The novel also highlights the importance of education and literacy, as the pigs are able to maintain their power through their control of information and propaganda.

Overall, Animal Farm is a political allegory that critiques the Russian Revolution and Stalinist Russia, while also conveying Orwell's broader message about the dangers of totalitarianism and the importance of independent thinking and critical analysis. The novel's context is crucial for understanding its purpose and themes, as it was written as a warning against the betrayal of revolutionary ideals and the dangers of authoritarianism.

Context and Purpose

Critical Author Information

George Animal Farm is a satirical novel by George Orwell, published in 1945. Orwell was born on June 25, 1903, in Motihari, Bengal, British India (now Bihar, India). He was the son of a British colonial civil servant and spent his early childhood in India. When he was eight, his family moved to England, where he attended school. Orwell went on to study at Eton College, but he left before graduating to work as an assistant in a bookshop.

Orwell was heavily influenced by his experiences as a colonial policeman in Burma and his observations of the rise of fascism and totalitarianism in Europe. He fought in the Spanish Civil War against Franco’s forces and later joined the Home Guard during World War II. His experiences during the war, particularly in Spain, led him to become a committed socialist and anti-imperialist.

Animal Farm reflects Orwell's disillusionment with the Russian Revolution and his criticism of Stalinist Russia. The novel is a critique of the Soviet Union and its totalitarian regime, particularly Stalinism. Orwell believed that the Soviet Union had become a corrupt dictatorship, and he wrote Animal Farm as a warning against the dangers of totalitarianism and the abuse of power.

Orwell's writing style is known for its clarity and directness, and his work often addresses political and social issues. In addition to Animal Farm, Orwell is also well-known for his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949. Orwell died on January 21, 1950, at the age of 46, from complications of tuberculosis. His legacy as a writer and political commentator has endured and influenced generations of readers and thinkers.was an English writer and journalist who is best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. He was a democratic socialist and a vocal critic of totalitarianism, particularly Soviet communism. Orwell's writing often dealt with themes of social injustice, political corruption, and the abuse of power.

Author Information
Characters

CharacterS

Napoleon: 

Napoleon is the antagonist of "Animal Farm" and represents the corrupt and oppressive ruling class. He is a large and powerful pig who takes control of the farm after the rebellion against the humans. Napoleon is manipulative, cunning, and ruthless, and uses his intelligence and charisma to maintain his power and control over the other animals. He represents the dangers of authoritarianism and the corrupting influence of power.


Snowball: 

Snowball is one of the leaders of the rebellion against the humans, and represents the idealistic and visionary side of the revolution. He is an intelligent and eloquent pig who advocates for the welfare of all animals and seeks to establish a more egalitarian society. Snowball is eventually forced out of the farm by Napoleon and his supporters, and becomes a symbol of the betrayal of the revolutionary ideals.


Boxer: 

Boxer is a strong and loyal horse who becomes one of the most important workers on the farm. He is renowned for his physical strength and his unwavering loyalty to the cause of the animals. Boxer is a simple and hardworking character, who repeats the slogan "I will work harder" as a symbol of his dedication. Despite his loyalty, Boxer is ultimately betrayed by the pigs and is sent to the knacker's yard when he is no longer useful. Boxer represents the exploited working class and the tragic consequences of blind loyalty.


Squealer: 

Squealer is a small and cunning pig who serves as Napoleon's mouthpiece and propaganda minister. He is skilled at using language and rhetoric to manipulate the other animals and justify Napoleon's actions. Squealer represents the power of propaganda and the way in which language can be used to shape perceptions and control people.


Old Major: 

Old Major is a wise and respected pig who inspires the animals to rise up against their human oppressors. He is the originator of the idea of animalism, the philosophy that becomes the basis of the revolution. Although he dies before the rebellion is successful, Old Major represents the idealism and revolutionary spirit that motivates the animals to fight for their rights.


Mollie: 

Mollie is a vain and shallow mare who is more concerned with her appearance and comfort than with the revolution. She eventually abandons the farm to live a comfortable life with humans, and becomes a symbol of the class of people who are more interested in their own personal gain than in the welfare of society as a whole.

Most Important Themes and Concepts

Corruption of Power

One of the most prominent themes in "Animal Farm" is the corrupting influence of power, as the pigs gradually become more and more tyrannical in their rule over the other animals.

This theme is conveyed through the gradual transformation of characters such as Napoleon, who becomes increasingly authoritarian and oppressive as the novel progresses. This is demonstrated through his manipulation of language and propaganda, as well as his brutal treatment of dissenters. This is shown through Squealer's justification of Napoleon's actions: "Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure...It is a deep and heavy responsibility."

Another quote from Old Major emphasizes the idea that power can corrupt even the most well-intentioned individuals: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." This use of satire highlights the absurdity of the pigs' justification for their actions, and emphasizes the idea that power inevitably leads to corruption.

Finally, the novel's portrayal of the pigs' alliance with the humans at the end of the novel emphasizes the idea that power corrupts absolutely: "The creatures outside 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." This use of allegory emphasizes the idea that the pigs have become indistinguishable from their human oppressors, and that the corrupting influence of power has destroyed their ideals.

The Importance of Education and Knowledge

Another important theme in "Animal Farm" is the importance of education and knowledge in resisting tyranny and oppression.

This theme is conveyed through the character of Snowball, who advocates for education and intellectual pursuits as a means of improving the lives of the animals. This is demonstrated through his emphasis on the importance of literacy and critical thinking: "The reading and writing classes, however, were a great success...the majority of them were able to read and write their own names."

Another quote from Old Major emphasizes the idea that education is essential to breaking the cycle of oppression: "Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short...Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labor would be our own." This use of rhetoric emphasizes the power of knowledge and education as a means of achieving freedom and equality.

Finally, the novel's portrayal of the sheep as easily manipulated and ignorant emphasizes the importance of education in resisting propaganda and misinformation: "Four legs good, two legs bad." This use of repetition emphasizes the idea that ignorance and lack of education make individuals vulnerable to manipulation and control.

The Danger of Blind Allegiance

The theme of blind allegiance is also central to "Animal Farm," as the animals are manipulated into blindly following the pigs' rule without questioning their actions.

This theme is conveyed through the pigs' use of propaganda and manipulation to maintain control over the other animals. This is demonstrated through Squealer's justification of the pigs' actions: "You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us."

Another quote from Boxer emphasizes the danger of blindly following authority: "Napoleon is always right." This use of repetition emphasizes the idea that blind allegiance can lead individuals to ignore their own instincts and accept authority without question.

Finally, the novel's portrayal of the animals' eventual acceptance of the pigs' rule emphasizes the danger of complacency and acceptance of authority: "The creatures outside 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." This use of allegory emphasizes the idea that blind allegiance can ultimately lead to the erosion of freedom and individuality, as the animals become indistinguishable from their oppressors.

Most Important Quotes,
Literary Techniques and Analysis

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (Chapter 10)

This quote uses the literary technique of paradox to illustrate the absurdity and hypocrisy of the pigs' rule. The quote is significant because it highlights the novel's central theme of the corruption of power and the erosion of equality and democracy.

"The creatures outside 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." (Chapter 10)

This quote uses the literary technique of symbolism to represent the final transformation of the pigs into the very humans they had once rebelled against. The quote is significant because it highlights the novel's theme of the insidious nature of power and the ease with which it can corrupt even those who start out with good intentions.

"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals." (Chapter 1)

This quote uses the literary technique of irony to highlight the absurdity of the human-animal power dynamic. The quote is significant because it underscores the novel's theme of the unjust nature of power and the need for equality and fairness in a just society.

"The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership." (Chapter 3)

This quote uses the literary technique of foreshadowing to hint at the pigs' eventual corruption and abuse of power. The quote is significant because it highlights the novel's theme of the corrupting influence of power and the need for checks and balances to prevent abuses of authority.

"The creatures outside 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." (Chapter 10)

the final transformation of the pigs into the very humans they had once rebelled against. The quote is significant because it highlights the novel's theme of the insidious nature of power and the ease with which it can corrupt even those who start out with good intentions. The pigs' gradual transformation into human-like figures underscores the novel's critique of the Soviet Union and Stalinism, which saw the leaders of the Communist Party become just as corrupt and oppressive as the czars they had overthrown. The quote is also a commentary on the tendency of those in power to become disconnected from the people they are supposed to serve, and to prioritize their own interests over the common good. Overall, the quote serves as a powerful indictment of totalitarianism and a call for vigilance against the abuse of power in all its forms.

"The creatures outside 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." (Chapter 10)

This quote uses the literary technique of symbolism to represent the final transformation of the pigs into the very humans they had once rebelled against. The quote is significant because it highlights the novel's theme of the insidious nature of power and the ease with which it can corrupt even those who start out with good intentions. The pigs' gradual transformation into human-like figures underscores the novel's critique of the Soviet Union and Stalinism, which saw the leaders of the Communist Party become just as corrupt and oppressive as the czars they had overthrown.

Themes and Concepts
Quotes and Techniques

Practice EssaY Questions

Discuss the theme of power and corruption in the novel, and how it is portrayed through the characters and their actions.


Analyze the role of propaganda in the novel, and how it is used to control and manipulate the animals.


How does the novel explore the concept of equality, and how does the idea of equality change throughout the course of the story?


Discuss the theme of loyalty in the novel, and how it is tested and challenged by the different characters and their allegiances.


How does the novel depict the relationship between language and power, and what commentary does it offer on the role of language in shaping political discourse?


Analyze the role of education and literacy in the novel, and how it contributes to the development of the characters and the themes of the story.


Discuss the theme of revolution in the novel, and how it is portrayed as both a positive and negative force.


How does the novel explore the concept of utopia, and how does the idea of a perfect society change throughout the course of the story?

Practice Essay Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What is the plot of "Animal Farm"?

"Animal Farm" is a novel about a group of farm animals who overthrow their human owner and create a society based on the principles of equality and democracy. However, the pigs who lead the revolution become corrupted by power and the animals soon find themselves living under a new form of tyranny. The novel is an allegory for the events leading up to the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism.


Who are the main characters in "Animal Farm"?

The main characters in the novel are the animals on the farm, including Old Major, Napoleon, Snowball, and Boxer.


What is the symbolism of the pigs in the novel?

The pigs represent the Bolsheviks and the leaders of the Russian Revolution. At first, they are seen as the champions of the animals' revolution, but they soon become corrupt and turn on their fellow animals, creating a new form of tyranny on the farm.


What is the significance of the commandments in the novel?

The commandments are a set of rules that the animals create in order to govern themselves after they overthrow their human owner. The commandments are based on the principles of equality and democracy, but are gradually altered by the pigs to suit their own interests.


What are some themes in "Animal Farm"?

Some themes in the novel include the corrupting influence of power, the dangers of totalitarianism, the importance of language and propaganda, and the need for a vigilant and informed citizenry.


What is the historical context of "Animal Farm"?

The novel was published in 1945, shortly after the end of World War II and during the early years of the Cold War. The novel reflects Orwell's disillusionment with the Soviet Union and his belief that the ideals of the Russian Revolution had been corrupted by Stalinism.


What is the significance of the ending of the novel?

The ending of the novel, where the pigs are shown to be indistinguishable from their former human oppressors, is a powerful commentary on the dangers of revolution and the potential for those who overthrow tyranny to become tyrants themselves.


What is the role of the character Boxer in the novel?

Boxer is a loyal and hardworking horse who represents the working class and the proletariat. He is a symbol of the strength and dedication of the working class, but is ultimately betrayed by the pigs and sent to his death.

FAQs

Did you know some of our English content is ranked #1 on Google?

Is Your Child Neurodiverse?

Or Are You homeschooling?

Pay As You Go Tutoring With BTA

Qualified BTA tutor who has undergone BTA's thorough training program
Same tutor each week ✓
Same location each week ✓

No lock in contracts ✓
Lessons in any of our academies, your home or online
Same time and day each week (as best as possible) ✓
Access to the BTA library
Set up auto-pay via credit card or debit card and enjoy fuss-free payments ✓
Set up auto-pay via direct debit – No processing fee
Access to customer portal to track invoices and payment history
Secure payments via Pinch ✓

Years 3-10
$75/hr 

inc GST

Years 11/12
$90/hr

inc GST

100% Satisfaction Guarantee 

 

 If you're not 100% happy with your lesson, we will not charge you

Want to Check Out Our Academies?

Click on each office to find out more information about them.
You can also click here to find out about all our locations.

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Forestville Tutoring Office - Desk Space

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville (Private Room)

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville (Private Room)

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Private Office (Mac Set Up)

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville - Macrame by Becs Knots

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville - Macrame by Becs Knots

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville with hand-crafted macrame by the talented Becs Knots

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville - Library of Textbooks & Resources

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville - Library of Textbooks & Resources

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Textbooks/Resources for use and borrowing

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Desk Set up

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Desk Set up

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Desk Set Up

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Logo + Library of Resources

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Logo + Library of Resources

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Middle Desk Set-up

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville: Middle Desk Set-up

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville 2

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville 2

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville

BTA Tutoring Office - Forestville