compare and contrast the character of snowball and napoleon. How do they affect the novel?
Napoleon is the example of the more dictatorial leader. He is more greedy for power and corrupt. He doesn’t show much interest in the welfare of the animals. He is quiet yet intimidating. He uses his dogs to keep the animals in line and, therefore, leads by fear. He is not interested in any of Snowball’s committees nor any other ideas that are committed to improving the welfare of the animals.
Snowball is not completely free of corruption but does seem to provide a better alternative to Napoleon’s dishonest ways. For the most part, Snowball follows the tenets Old Major initially laid out for Animalism. He attempts to improve the animals’ lives with his idea of the windmill. He also set up committees to help include the lesser animals in the community. Though he seems like the ideal leader for Animal Farm, Orwell’s message that Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely hints that regardless of who the leader of Animal Farm would be, the revolution was doomed to fail from the beginning.
From whose perspective is Animal Farm told? Why would Orwell have chosen such a perspective?
There is no clear perspective, this allows Orwell to paint a clear picture of how normal people suffer under communism.
Of all of the characters in Animal Farm, are there any who seem to represent the point of view of the author? Which of the animals or people do you think come(s) closest to achieving Orwell’s perspective on Animal Farm?
I would say that the animal that comes closest to representing George Orwell’s own point of view is Benjamin, the old donkey.
Benjamin does not have any great hopes for the revolution or, really, for anything else. He believes that, no matter what, things will pretty much stay the same for the animals. If they are not being exploited by Farmer Jones anymore, they will be exploited by Napoleon.
Orwell clearly is saying in the book that the animals are no better off after the revolution. Of all the animals, Benjamin is the one who makes this point more than any other.
Do you think Animal Farm’s message would come across effectively to someone who knows nothing about Soviet history or the conflict between Stalin and Trotsky? What might such a reader make of the story?
Human nature hasn’t really changed all that much since Stalin so this story even works a modern parable. Greed, power, betrayal and brotherhood are still relevant .Clearly humans are personified through the animals and one would not have to look far to find similarities even in present times.
What role does Boxer play on the farm?Why does Napoleon seem to feel threatened by him?
In what ways might one view the betrayal of Boxer as an alternative climax of the novel (if we consider Napoleon’s banishment of Snowball and the pigs’ initial consolidation of power as the true climax)?
Boxer is the farm workhorse. He is large, strong, and exceptionally loyal to the cause. His fault lies in his own child-like innocence, and his propensity to believe anything that anyone says. Despite his naivete, however, if Boxer were to report to other animals exactly how scheming and evil the pigs were, they know that they could easily be destroyed.
This fact is why Boxer is viewed as a threat, despite being an ally, and why his eventual fate comes about. While the betrayal of Boxer is not, as you said, the true climax, one could indeed construe this event in such a way that it legitimizes as an alternative climax. After all, the betrayal of Boxer is nearly equal in importance to the banishment of Snowball, politically speaking.
How does Orwell explore the problem of rhetoric in Animal Farm? Paying particular attention to the character of Squealer, how is language used as an instrument of social control? How do the pigs rewrite history?
George Orwell constructs the rhetoric through squealer the strongest. It is through Squealer that he shows how language reflects power. Without Squealer, Napoleon would not be able to acquire the power that he had. Squealer shows how powerful words can be and it is through language and rhetoric that he is successful in helping keep Napoleon’s power. When Squealer rewrites history, he bends the truth to make it look like the pigs are the heroes and he bends the truth manipulatively so that the animals have no choice but to believe Squealers rhetoric. Orwell’s language portrayed through Squealer is used as an instrument of control and the pigs rewrite history very craftily to gain and keep Napoleon in power.