Animal Farm By George Orwell Summary and Analysis Chapter 3

Summary

Despite the initial difficulties inherent in using farming tools designed for humans, the animals cooperate to finish the harvest — and do so in less time than it had taken Jones and his men to do the same. Boxer distinguishes himself as a strong, tireless worker, admired by all the animals. The pigs become the supervisors and directors of the animal workers. On Sundays, the animals meet in the big barn to listen to Snowball and Napoleon debate a number of topics on which they seem never to agree. Snowball forms a number of Animal Committees, all of which fail. However, he does prove successful at bringing a degree of literacy to the animals, who learn to read according to their varied intelligences. To help the animals understand the general precepts of Animalism, Snowball reduces the Seven Commandments to a single slogan: "Four legs good, two legs bad." Napoleon, meanwhile, focuses his energy on educating the youth and takes the infant pups of Jessie and Bluebell away from their mothers, presumably for educational purposes.

The animals learn that the cows' milk and windfallen apples are mixed every day into the pigs' mash. When the animals object, Squealer explains that the pigs need the milk and apples to sustain themselves as they work for the benefit of all the other animals.

Analysis

While the successful harvest seems to signal the overall triumph of the rebellion, Orwell hints in numerous ways that the very ideals that the rebels used as their rallying cry are being betrayed by the pigs. The fact that they do not do any physical work but instead stand behind the horses shouting commands suggests their new positions as masters — and as creatures very much like the humans they presumably wanted to overthrow.

When Squealer explains to the animals why the pigs have been getting all the milk and apples, he reveals his rhetorical skill and ability to "skip from side to side" to convince the animals that the pigs' greed is actually a great sacrifice: Appealing to science (which presumably has proven that apples and milk are "absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig") and lying about pigs disliking the very food they are hoarding, Squealer manages a great public-relations stunt by portraying the pigs as near-martyrs who only think of others and never themselves. "It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples," Squealer explains, and his dazzling pseudo-logic persuades the murmuring animals that the pigs are, in fact, selfless.

Squealer's rhetorical question, "Surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones back?" is the first of many times when Squealer will invoke the name of Jones to convince the animals that — despite any discontentment they may feel — their present lives are greatly preferable to the ones they led under their old master. Orwell's tone when describing the animals' reaction to Squealer ("The importance of keeping the pigs in good health was all too obvious") is markedly ironic and again signals to the reader that the pigs are slowly changing into a new form of their old oppressors.

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