Animal Farm By George Orwell Summary and Analysis Chapter 9

This manipulation of language is again found when Animal Farm is proclaimed a Republic, with Napoleon its "elected" President. The word "Republic" connotes a land of self-government whose citizens participate in the political process, as the word "President" connotes one who is of the citizenry but who has been appointed by them to preside over — not control — their government. Of course, these words are outrageous jokes to the reader, but not to the animals, who again and again swallow the pigs' twisted language to make themselves feel better: As Orwell slyly remarks, "Doubtless it had been worse in the old days. They were glad to believe so."

Similarly, the animals are "glad to believe" Squealer's obvious lies about Boxer's final moments in which he supposedly praised both Animals Farm and Napoleon. This is Squealer's most outrageous and blatant piece of propaganda, and a reader may well wonder why none of the animals raise the slightest suspicion about it. The reason is that they are afraid to do so — afraid of Napoleon and his dogs, of course, but also afraid of probing too deeply into the story and thus upsetting their own consciences. Believing Squealer is easier politically and morally. They can excuse their lack of action by willingly believing Squealer's lies about the owner of the van. As Orwell ironically explains:

The animals were enormously relieved to hear this. And when Squealer went on to give further graphic details of Boxer's death-bed, the admirable care he had received, and the expensive medicines for which Napoleon had paid without a thought to the cost, their last doubts disappeared and the sorrow that they felt for their comrade's death was tempered by the thought that at least he had died happy.

Words like "admirable," "expensive," and "without a thought to the cost" all give the animals license to excuse their own inaction. As Orwell wrote elsewhere, "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle" — a struggle that the animals doubtless are able to overcome.

The return of Moses is, like the destruction of the first windmill, used to the pigs' advantage. A reader may wonder why the pigs allow Moses to remain on the farm (and actually encourage him to do so by giving him a gill of beer a day). The reason lies in the effect Moses has on the animals. Again recalling Marx's famous metaphor, Moses' tales of Sugarcandy Mountain figuratively drug the animals and keep them docile: If life now is awful, at least (so Moses' tales imply) it will not always be such. Therefore the animals continue working, laboring under the hope that, one day, Moses' stories will come true.

Napoleon's fathering of the 31 piglets suggests how saturated with his image and presence the farm has become. In a biological sense, Napoleon is now creating the very population he means to control. His decision to build a schoolhouse for the pigs is reminiscent of such fascist organizations as the Hitler Youth, and his numerous decrees favoring the pigs (such as the one requiring all animals to step out of their way when approached by pigs) recalls Hitler's thoughts about Aryan superiority.

Also notable in this chapter is the great amount of ceremony that Napoleon institutes throughout the farm: The increased amount of songs, speeches, and demonstrations keep the animals' brains busy enough not to think about their own wretchedness — and Napoleon packs the meetings with the sheep in case any animals momentarily see past all the pomp and circumstance. The wreath Napoleon orders to be made for Boxer's grave is a similar display for Napoleon's own ends, as is the elegy for Boxer that he ends with the horse's two maxims in order to threaten the other animals. The fact that the pigs get drunk on the night of the supposed solemn day of Boxer's memorial banquet betrays their complete lack of sympathy for the devoted but ignorant horse. Their drunkenness also makes them more like Jones, their former oppressor.

Glossary

gill a unit of liquid measure, equal to 1/4 pint or 4 fluid ounces.

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