Thursday, January 11, 2007

Animal Farm: Pigs, Protest and Persuasion


If you would like to have an opportunity to ask questions or to post ideas that come to you as you read Animal Farm, please post those ideas here. Be sure to give page numbers with your text if you would like us to consider a specific passage in the text.

Keep in mind the issues that have come up about rebellion, equality, power, and the anger and hope aspects of protest. Are humans doomed to repeat the failures of the past?

Be sure to post using your first name!

36 Comments:

Anonymous Lizzie G. said...

I think that in Animal Farm the animals ( at least the pigs) cannot get the word Human out of their head. They use many things that a human society uses daily. For exapmle they spend hard labor and time on a windmill, something that MAN kind invented. But while all the anmials are working soo hard Napoleon is inside of the farmhouse (which was supposed to be not allowed) being lazy. The pigs dont have to do or participate in half the things the things the other animals do. Like squealer miss the whole entire battle of the windmill and noosy knows why, but the animals dont ask or question anything. I think this is be ause Squealer has used so much emotonial persuation toward them they are just afraid. Also they are afraid because Napoleon might kill them or send one of his vicious dogs after them.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sophy Schulman: It seems that the pigs (especially Squealer) are persuading the animals to turn a blind eye against how the pigs are abusing the commandment--twisting them to fit their needs, etc.
The pigs are doing this to prevent rebellion against them from the other animals if they decided to because of their mistreatment. The clever pigs are ensuring that no one will get in the way of them having supreme power over all the other animals

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waters C.
at the very end of the book Animal Farm, it says that you could barely tell who was the pigs or the humans. However much the pigs try to deny their past, it is still the basis of the future. When the rebellion first begins the pigs say No More Human things. By the end of the book they are drinking liquor, wearing clothes, and participating in other human activities.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous robert r said...

i think that the animal on the far are to stupid exept the pigs. i mean some of the things the pigs told the other animals are totaly unbelievable. when boxer was taken o the knacers the animal believed what squealer said, that the cart that took boxer was bought from the knacers and a sergeion was using it. that is totaly unbelievable.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Kristina said...

The pigs are using emotional persuasion to get the other animals not to turn against them. They are putting fear into the animals both by having the dogs there to scare them and by telling them that Jones would come back if they did not obey, which the other animals are believing.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pigs of Animal Farm appear to have the feeling of being superior to the animal, however the fact that they do posess a superior means that the pigs can rule like men. An even more man-like system used by the pigs is the ruling caste of pigs, instead of man. The pigs rule resemble that of the absolutest monorchies of 1800's. The foundation of this systen in Europe were the army, the aristivracy, and the church. The army is the dogs that impose Napoleon's will, and instill fear in the animals. The aristocracy is replaced by the pigs, a ruling class that exploits everyone else. The church here is Animalism and the seven comandments. However, the church would back the King, Tzar, Kaizer, ect., but here Napoleon manipulates the religon/doctrine at his pleasure in order to justify what he does. This would not be possible in the 1800's since a monarch could not do that without alienating every European and warrant his assination. Napoleon can do this because the animals memory can be easily manipulated. The alst parrel does not involve the three foundations, but a fourth unmentioned one, the serfs, who are of course the rest of the other animals.
I disagree however that the pigs are all that clever. It should be noted that during the Battle of the Windmill Napoleon insulted Plinktington but then called for his help, treating Plinkington like one of the animals, and forgeting that Plinkington and a seperate agenda. If Napoleon was truly clever he would remember that.

-Jeremy B.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The book was extreamly predictable. Once the dogs came into the story as the vicious creatures, once Snowball was driven off, everything was gonna go hay wire. They barely won the war of the windmill, and their rations and living conditions went down once Snowball was gone. Then with Napoleon deciding to be agianst this person and for that person then changing his mind and decides to be agianst both of them, then changes his mind to try to become friends with them. They weren't going to get anything done. The pigs new that the animals weren't that bright, and that they could take advantage of all of them and begin to change the rules here and there when ever they wanted to with the animals just thinking that they had forgoten the last two words. The pigs were tyrants and the animals weren't smart enough to notice that Napoleon was a lying, worthless, good for nothing speck of dirt, so they went along with everthing. Boxer, he was one of the worst. His motto was I will work harder. And If Napoleon says it, it must be right. That's like saying, what ever Mrs. Doyle says is right. Therefore, if she tells us that we should jump off a cliff, then we really should. Since it was representing the Russian Revolution, I don't think it did a very good job. After the pigs confessed. There was a line waiting of other animals, as if they wanted to get eaten. I don't think the people in Europe were that clueless to what was going on and they figured after a while, that if they confessed their sins, that they would get killed.

-Stephanie F.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Ana R. said...

I hate the pigs in Animal Farm. They are liars, tyrants, and lazy animals. They basically turn into the humans. I do not know how the other animals did not protest. I must conclude that they are stupid. How could they beleive everything the pigs said. Some of the animals are smart, like Benjamin and Clover. How the animals believed the pigs I have no idea. But the pigs are awful! How could they do that do their "comrades"? I really think the book has a bad ending, and I feel really bad for all the non-pig (and dog) animals.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Matthew J. said...

I think that the animals aren't gullable or stupid. The reason why the are believing the pigs for instance on page 125, squeler convinces the animals that Boxer didn't go to the knackers. The reason why the animals are so trusting of the pigs is because the pigs were rooted from the very begining as leaders. This is because of old Major the PIG, every body listened to him so naturally they think that the pigs know best.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Giorgi P. said...

Animalism is a lot like Communism, except it doesn't really follow the Communist Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto says that a developing society goes through three stages: Feudalism(the king owning all the land and distributing it to nobles, who have serfs to farm it), Capitalism(anyone being able to own land, but a huge gap between the richer and poorer classes) and Communism(everyone owning everything). Animal Farm went from Feudalism to Communism without going through Capitalism, so Animalism isn't exactly like Communism.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Peggy Doyle said...

The comments are quite thoughtful. A couple of things you might want to consider: as Matthew mentioned, the pigs seem to root the revolution, so to what extent does memory (either real or somehow embellished) play a role in the other animlas allowing the pigs to manipulate what happens on the farm? Also, as Stephanie mentioned, what keeps people, or animals, from questioning leaders? Since many animals can't read, are they doomed to just follow the pigs suggestions/commands, even if they seem totally arbitrary? None of you would jump out the window if I suggested it, so why do the animals follow the pigs so blindly?

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Sam Nekrosius said...

I'm curious as to whether the rest of the class agrees with Waters' notion that the pigs are destined to become cruel leaders (whether because of their exposure to Mr. Jones in the past or what they read in human books).

I have always found this to be a difficult book to read, especially because of a few key moments in chapters nine and ten. That moment when Boxer is driven off in the knacker's van is simply heartbreaking--but in some ways, the image of pigs walking on their hind legs with whips in their trotters is even harder to bear. How does the power of these moments allow Orwell to state a larger message through the cruelty of the pigs? Is Waters right that the pigs--and their allegorical counterparts--had to become what they become by the end of the book? Why? Or why not?

To be honest, I wrestle with that question myself, so I'm interested in what you all might have to say.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Max Lehman said...

I thought that George Orwell hid an allegory to the Russian revolution and the tsars, it was pretty cool and a genius idea. I also thought that Napoleons' name was an allusion to the French General, Napoleon.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Chloe P said...

Chloe P -
I think that the way the pigs treat the other animals is incredibly manipulative. The pigs (mainly Squealer) have taken to using the other animals, especially the sheep, to go along with their lies. When Napolean changes the 7 Commandments and sends Boxer off to the knacker, no one disagrees. But twords the end, the smarter animals, like Clover and Benjamin, start to realize that the pigs are usign their authority to become more human-like. In the beginning of the story, when Snowball was dreaming of a society where the animals ruled, they rid the farm of everythign that reminded them of Jones, and now the pigs all bringing all of that back. They wear their clothes, drink alchohal, sleep in beds, and walk on two legs. The other animals finally realize in the end that they have lost their pride in Animal Farm, because it has silently become Manor Farm again.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jessica H.
I think the animals in Animal Farm started the rebelion with god intensions. But it was obvious that the animals could not lead themselves, they had to have some one lead them. This role was taken on by snowball. I think that Napolean was jelouse of the power that snowball was going to have and that was the reason for getting rid of him. At first the animals looked up to he pigs but later on they only followed them out of fear. It was easy for the pigs to rule over the other animals because whatever rule they broke coud be leared up. Everytime they broke a commandment Squealer would easily persuade everyone that it was not wrong. The pigs eventually took over and basically turned into humans. The only reason the others didn't rebel was because they were against HUMANS, not PIGS.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so I've just got a question. So, did snowball really work for the humans, or not? Because I thought he didn't, but then somone told me he did, so now I'm just confused.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment above about Snowball was from me.
~Jessica C

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at the speech given by Old Major at the beginning of the book and then look at the speech given by Napoleon at the very end of the book, it is interesting to see the difference in what was supposed to be the same idea. The very thing that Napoleon and the other pigs feared the most earlier in the book is exactly what they became. It is very hard not to become what you fear once you have the power to do so. As soon as Napoleon had the power to control the farm and instill fear in the other animals, he knew that that's what he had to do to maintain control. Communism relies strongly on the good of the people. No one can cheat, steal, or become corrupted by power. I think that partly it is not the other animals' stupidity that is why they do not challenge Napoleon or Squeeler. I think that they know somewhat that they are being deceived and simply turn a blind eye to it. They really want to believe that the the farm is doing great and that the rations are rising. They are happy now because all the work they do is for themselves, or at least for the animals. Now that Jones has been overthrown, they are not working and producing food for humans. They feel that they can be happy with their excessive work because it goes to the good of the farm.
-Isaac Stanley-Becker

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aasha H: I think that the pigs are very persuasive, and very good at knowing the fears of the animals. The pigs use fear to get control. They use the animals fear of the dogs and fear of Mr. Jones. They also persuade the animals to think things to stay in charge after old Major died. By the end of the story I think it is crazy that the pigs made up the 7 commandments to not be like the humans and to follow the example of old Major, but have changed the commandments one by one. They have been changing themselves to humans, and giving themselves human benefits when they changed the commandments.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marty said
I thing that Napoleon is just like Joseph stalin, hard to read his mind. Was he a genious or was he just afraid of the other animals (mostly boxer.) After Boxer died things changed and the pigs really tok over. Was Napoleon just afaraid of Boxer or was he just too smart. Maybe Napoleon knew Boxer was too powerful from the begging and was planning on sending him to him the knacker when he got old. After that he would take over completly and he could do what ever he wanted. I think it was a plan from the begining. Who knows?

5:15 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Charlie J.
1/20/06
Per 3-4 Doyle

One of the main points in Animal Farm is the fact of the pigs becoming like humans. Since the beginning the pigs have controlled the animals, being the most intelligent, and also having started the idea of the Rebellion in the first place (Old Major). You find out the pigs are higher ranked than others because they don't do a lot of the work on the farm. Also, once they move into the farmhouse their corruption is known more. They start becoming tyrannic when they change the commandments.
A second point is about Napolean. Eventually he takes over power from Snowball, but he does it forcefully. Snowball's and Napolean's way of keeping in control are quite different: Snowball uses logical persuasion to convince people his ideas are right. Napolean, though, uses emotional persuasion to instill fear to force the animals to accept his ideas. In other words, Napolean is a dictator who uses force to control the farm.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gaya c.
8-9 periods
1/21/07

even though the pigs were evil tyrants with twisted minds, I would give them some credit. The way that they stuck to the 7 commandments but also changed them so they would never be under suspicion. and they knew that the only animal that knew what was going on was benjamen and he didn't really care. all the other animals were to gullible and the pigs knew it. all they had to do was make up an exuse and if the animals didn't believe it, they had a back-up persuation method-fear. the dogs were so fearce, no one would stand up to them. I'm not saying that what the pigs did was right-actually what they did was horrible and the book had the worst ending-it was very clever.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Jayce said...

Animal Farm is great analogy to the Russian Revolution. There are many similarities. Napoleon is Stalin, gaining power until he gets rid of his only rival and continually discredits him. Snowball is Trotsky, truly feeling for the revolution, until he is forced out by his rival. Old Major is Karl Marx, the father of the revolution, a true visionary.

11:18 AM  
Blogger michael said...

Contrary to what Lizzie says I think that they use human devices because they see that they are of great deal of help for everyday situations. The windmill obviously was a great idea when it comes to generating electricity, and even though the windmill was ultimately used for milling corn it was built for such a purpose as to power the farm. As for the farm house it was obviously used because it was of great comfort and warmth weather or not it was wrong of the pigs to use is not relevant, also I find that although they were being lazy they were still using their intellect to exploit the work of the others. Although the pigs do not participate this is only do to the soul reason that find it easy to extort the willingness of others and will gladly of unquestioned reasoning. The animals are afraid to speak up but not because of squealer but because firstly Napoleons willingness to kill those against his regime and because they believe that the pigs are do what the can for the best of the animals.

-Michael

5:03 PM  
Anonymous aneesh k said...

Its kind of weird that the animals don't realize that they are making man-made inventions like the windmill for their own purposes when they really are the ones who are supposed to be defying man-made inventions. This is very contradictory. I think the pigs are leading the other animals so much that the animals in Animal Farm are following the pigs without questions and not stopping to think about whats going on.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that whoever put that blog up that has my name is lying and it wasn't me. I actually like the book and think that Napoleon is a power crazed self-indulgent leader
-the real Philip Lockwood-Bean
and I am in Ms. Jacobs humanities class

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Frankie G. said...

I think in animal farm it is partially the donkeys falt that napoleon and the pigs gained power over the other animals. He imediatly saw what was happening and worked it out along with Boxer but neither of them took a lead to get the pigs to step back. All the other animals were to stubid and gullible that they would believe anything the pigs or Napoleon told them. By the time the dogs were trained it was to late and they had grasped power over Manor Farm. I didn't quite understand the last part of the book exept that the pigs turned into new tyrants and that it is protesting agenst overthrowing the tyrants because worse ones will just come.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous caroline k. said...

I think that the animals could have questioned authority...but that could have been very risky. It is obvious that any animal that seeked to speak with the pigs on the basis of their collapsing communist society, would have been made an example of. The pigs could have easily set the dogs on whomever suspected propaganda or conspiracy. This is just as it was in Russia during the rule of Stalin. Everyone was afraid to question Stalin's authority and indulgence because of the secret police and devoute followers. Therefore, the animals would have had difficulty questioning Napoleon unless they staged another rebellion which would start the cycle all over again and in time, create another mess of failed communism.
-caroline k.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

The book Animal Farm was really good. I liked how the book relates to the Russian Revolution. I like how Snowball running to Foxwood was the equivalent of Leon Trotsky fleeing to Mexico

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dorval C.
I like how in Animal Farm The pigs use persuasion to take control of the animals, the farm, and everything they worked for. I thought how they used the dogs was brilliant and there was no way any of the animals would speak out against Napoleon or they would definately die. I also thought that how Napolean used different excuses to lower the animals rations and raise the pigs until the animal had even less food than they had before without knowing it because they thought they were free.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that all the animals are persaded by pigs in an awful way. None of the animals thought for them selves. I think that the animal Farm could have worked out a lot better if the animals had free thought. Other then boxer the aniamls just listened to Napolean and the rest of the pigs. Profe of this would obviously be how the pigs got to have apples and milk. Also while the animals are working like slaves the pigs are just in the barn thinking about more ways for them to get the benifit out of an other stupid idea.

~Dean Balabanov

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that even though animal farm is an amazing book, it's very easy to lose track of the actual meaning of the book and just hate the pigs. A lot of peoples strongest emotion after reading the book is "I hate the Pig's" or "Napoleon is crazy and mean".I think the true meaning of the book is that great ideals can be changed and corrupted. Also, in a way, the animals other than pigs and dogs are partly to blame for Napoleons takeover , because a dominant society cannot be set up without people supporting it. Boxer is a prime of example of this with his "I will work harder" and "Napoleon is always right"-
Joshua Koenig

6:09 PM  
Anonymous jessica b. said...

in animal farm the animals want to be in a perfect utopia they want absolutly no humanity in there perfect society, but they all seem able to except that except the pigs. they can not get away from what they've grown up with. the ideas that they were raised with, the pigs ideas show that they are truly still in a state that they are completly (or almost completly) human. the idea that i brought up about if you can see power and you know you can get it, you will, you will reach out and grab it. and in every case i've ever heard of the person who gets that power abuses it in any way possible, may it be minor or major and in the case of Napoleon and Snowball they abused it in a way that made them human they abused it to the fullest extent.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Jolisha said...

In animal farm they want a perfect world but is that possible if they all have dfferent needs. Is it possible to live in the perfect world i dont think it is because of emotion if you look at animal farm you can see that they started from the beginning and if they had wanted s perfect world there wouldn't have been a better way to get it

2:29 PM  
Blogger Scimitar said...

Hannah G

I'd just like to note a rather interesting parallel: The pigs asking if the others want Jones back is very similar to people today trying to win debates by comparing the opposing side to Hitler or the Nazis. If the accused points out the tenuosity of the connenction, their accuser then claims they are defending Hitler. For the animals, there's no answer to the question, and it's a crucial tool for the pigs' silencing of others' doubts.

PS: I 'pologize for the name - it's just what I go by online.

11:30 AM  

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