What conditions are needed for a revolution to occur? Based on your reading so far, what is the most significant factor leading the animals to revolution?
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the most significant factor that lead the animals to revolt is how poorly the humans were taking care of the animals. As a result of this, Mayor, a wise old pig whom all animals respect, gives a speech that spurs the animals to revolt. He says that humans are “the only creature that consumes without producing […] [yet] [they are] the lord of all animals,” revealing to the other animals that humans are the problem and the animals need to step up (2). He gives examples such as, “gallons of milk […] [going] down the throat of [their] enemies” and “young porkers [who] will scream [their] lives out at the block within a year” (2-3). Major also calls attention to the fact that not only are their enemies consuming what the animals rightfully produced, but they also give less reward and appreciation to those very animals. The animals ” are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies,” which means the humans don’t feed them to fulfill their stomachs after doing work. Eventually after a profound and convincing speech, he is met with a “tremendous uproar” (3). This speech also highlight certain conditions in order for a revolution to occur. After the speech, nearly everyone realizes they have been treated like slaves and decides to side with Major. Besides numbers siding with the idea of revolution, another condition is that a lack of fairness has to be dealt to the minority, which in this case are the animals. In conclusion, the inequality between the humans and the animals and Major’s speech, which pushed this idea, is the most significant factor as to why the animals revolted.
To what extent does power and privilege or lack thereof affect the beliefs and actions of individuals in a revolution?
Throughout Animal Farm, certain characters gain power and privilege while others did not. The amount of power and privilege that individuals have determine their actions, morals, how they perceive others, and how others perceive them. Napoleon and the pigs, being the smartest and frankly, most human-like, assume position of the leaders for the revolution. However, gaining the power of being the leaders eventually corrupts them into being worse than the humans. They use their influence into manipulating the animals into doing whatever they want. For example, when they take the milk for themselves, they say “[the milk is] absolutely necessary to the well−being of a pig”(11). The pigs also threaten the other animals saying, “Jones would come back” if the pigs “[fail] in [their] duty” “[to watch] over [the other animals’] welfare”(11). By exploiting the others like this, they are able to get whatever they want. They can get away with anything simple because they are the best and nobody is going to stop them. The idea gets to their heads. As the story goes on, they get more abusive and even change the rules to personally benefit them. The rules, or Commandments, are constantly changing but the other animals do not realize it, thinking because “it [is] there on the wall, it must have [always been written like that]”(20). It “[does] not seem strange to the other animals” because those Commandments were established by themselves, together with the Major (40). They believe that Mr. Jones was so terrible, that a human-free farm would be for the best. So no matter how bad their concept of Animalism turns out, it would always be better than being ruled under Mr. Jones. Though by the end, the animals face a similar or maybe even worse fate as , they are still “generally hungry” as they were at the beginning (39). So in conclusion, characters such as the pigs gain power and because of that, they corrupt themselves to be similar to the rulers they once were under, essentially getting rid of them and taking their spot.
In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other option to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was the revolution inevitable?
The revolution is successful in that the animals are the ones who came out on top defeating the humans. Although this was one of their intentions, changing their “miserable, labourious, and short lives” is more of a core reason they decide to revolt (2). They do not succeed in this. In the end, the animals are still working just as hard and they are just as hungry just for a different leader. The pigs and humans are nearly indistinguishable by the end, as the animals can not tell “which [is] which” (42). The pigs do not assume absolute power right away which is why they were so successful. Little by little, they change rules and control the other animals’ thoughts by telling them ridiculous or convoluted stories. For example, to justify their reasoning for calling Snowball a traitor, even thought he had done much for the cause of Animalism, the pigs claim that “Snowball was in league with Jones from the very start” to make the other animals convinced that he is an enemy(24). After they weed out little nuisances like Snowball, then they proceed with future plans. If it is in a pig’s nature to think and act in this kind of way, I believe the revolution was inevitable. And because it is in a pig’s nature to be greedy and self-benefiting, the revolution would always be something like this. The result would be the same. The pigs, “being the cleverest” would always assume leader-like positions and would turn themselves from part of the oppressed into the oppressors. The revolution in Animal Farm is successful initially but what made it unsuccessful are the pigs that took control afterwards.