Animal Farm: The Deception Unveiled

Chapter VIII Summary: The Animals Unaware

In the aftermath of the executions, the animals discover a change in the commandment prohibiting animal-on-animal violence. It now reads, “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” The animals attribute this change to their faulty memories. Despite their hardships, they toil diligently to rebuild the windmill. Squealer, armed with statistics, convinces them that conditions have improved under Napoleon’s rule.

Napoleon has crowned himself “Leader” and gained numerous complimentary titles. Minimus, the poet, praises Napoleon in verse, which is displayed on the barn wall. There is surplus timber on the farm from Mr. Jones’ time, and Napoleon negotiates its sale with Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington. Depending on the outcome, the animals are taught to hate one or the other. Eventually, Mr. Frederick purchases the timber, much to the animals’ dismay.

The animals complete the windmill, but Napoleon discovers that the money Mr. Frederick gave him is counterfeit. Consequently, Mr. Frederick and his armed men attack Animal Farm, destroying the windmill. The animals bravely fend off the attackers, but casualties occur, and Boxer sustains a severe injury. A flag-raising ceremony lifts the animals’ spirits.

The pigs stumble upon a crate of whiskey, resulting in revelry and discord. Rumors circulate that Comrade Napoleon may be dying, but he recovers. Squealer is found at the barn, where he fell from a ladder by the Seven Commandments. The animals, unaware of Squealer’s actions, question their memory when they realize the altered commandment regarding alcohol consumption.

Analysis: The Rise of Deception

Napoleon and Squealer’s steady manipulation of the truth renders the animals blind to their leaders’ deceit. In this chapter, Orwell draws parallels with Karl Marx’s concept of a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” where democratic freedoms take a backseat to suppressing the bourgeoisie. The Stalinist government in Soviet Russia justified their actions by distorting Marxist principles. Likewise, Animal Farm’s working-class animals remain submissive despite witnessing the pigs’ treachery.

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Minimus’s poem exemplifies the animals’ uncritical attitude towards their oppressive regime. Although exaggerated and saccharine, the animals accept it as their voice. Orwell employs irony and satire to expose the absurdity of patriotic rhetoric. The poem, with its combination of elevated and vulgar language, emphasizes the triviality of life under Napoleon’s rule. It reveals the emptiness of the patriotic sentiment, failing to delve into the essence it glorifies.

Orwell cleverly parodies Stalin’s diplomatic maneuvering with Germany and the Allies at the beginning of World War II through Napoleon’s dealings with Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick. The betrayal and anger felt by the Russians towards Germany during and after the war are vividly portrayed through the animals’ response to the destruction of the windmill.

The pigs use the heroism of the lower class to bolster patriotism, mirroring the victorious governments’ tactics post-World War II. Orwell subtly suggests that such ceremonies, seemingly celebrating individuals, actually transfer their sacrifices to the state.

Animal Farm foreshadows Orwell’s final novel, 1984, exploring the manipulation of attitudes, history, and language by those in power. Just as Squealer distorts statistics to present an illusion of prosperity, the Ministry of Plenty in 1984 fabricates reports about production increases while reducing rations. Similarly, Animal Farm’s alliances with Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington, despite contradictory claims of loyalty, reach absurdity in 1984, where the masses blindly accept a sudden change in their enemy.

To delve deeper into the political and historical context of Animal Farm, visit 5 WS.

Note: The original article has been adapted and augmented to provide a fresh perspective while retaining the core message.

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