Summary and Analysis Chapter 10


Orwell has years pass between Chapters 9 and 10 to stress the ways in which the animals' lack of any sense of history has rendered them incapable of judging their present situation: The animals cannot complain about their awful lives, since "they had nothing to go upon except Squealer's lists of figures, which invariably demonstrated that everything was getting better and better." As Winston Smith, the protagonist of Orwell's Nineteen-Eight-Four understands, the government "could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event it never happened." This same phenomena occurs now on Animal Farm, where the animals cannot recall there ever having been a way of life different from their present one and, therefore, no way of life to which they can compare their own. Although "Beasts of England" is hummed in secret by some would-be rebels, "no one dared to sing it aloud." The pigs have won their ideological battle, as the Party wins its war with Winston's mind at the end of Nineteen-Eight-Four. Only Benjamin — a means by which Orwell again voices his own opinion of the matter — is able to conclude that "hunger, hardship, and disappointment" are the "unalterable law of life."

While Clover is shocked at the sight of Squealer walking on two legs, the reader is not, since this moment is the logical result of all the pigs' previous machinations. Napoleon's carrying a whip in his trotter — formerly a symbol of human torture — and dressing in Jones' clothes only cements in readers minds what they have long suspected. The sheep's new slogan, as before, destroys any chance for thought or debate on the animals' part, and the new Commandment painted on the wall perfectly (and ironically) expresses Napoleon's philosophy. Of course, the phrase "more equal" is paradoxical, but this illustrates the paradoxical notion of animals oppressing their own kind in the name of liberty and unity. When the deputation of neighboring humans arrives, the animals are not sure whom they should fear: The pigs or the men. Orwell implies here that there is no real difference, as he does with the pigs buying a wireless, a telephone, and newspapers, and with Napoleon smoking a pipe, despite old Major's admonition to avoid all habits of men.

Pilkington's address to Napoleon is sniveling in tone and reveals his desire to remain on good terms with the intimidating leader of Animal Farm. Excusing all cruelty and apologizing for being "nervous" about the effects of the rebellion, Pilkington offers a stream of empty words said only to keep the wheels of commerce well-greased. Note that he praises Napoleon for making the animals do more work for less food; flattery from such a man can only suggest that the object of such praise is as corrupt as he who flatters. His final witticism — "If you have your lower animals to contend with … we have our lower classes!" — again stresses the political interchangeability between the pigs and the men.

The changes of which Napoleon speaks in his address are the final ones needed to make the farm a complete dictatorship. The abolition of the word "comrade" will create less unity among the animals, the burial of old Major's skull will figuratively "bury" any notions of the dead pig's ideals, and the removal of the horn and hoof from the flag will ensure that the animals over which it waves never consider the rewards of struggle and rebellion. Finally, the changing of the farm's name back to Manor Farm implies that everything has come full circle while also implying that the farm is not, in any sense, the animals'. Instead, it is the property of those (as Hamlet quips in Shakespeare's play) "to the manor born": the pigs.

The novel's final scene in which Napoleon and Pilkington argue about two aces of spades brilliantly represents the entire book: After years of oppression, struggle, rebellion, and reform, the pigs have become as corrupt and cruel as their masters. Smoking, drinking, whipping, killing, and even cheating are now qualities shared by both animal and man. Despite Pilkington's professed admiration for Napoleon (and vice versa), neither trusts the other because neither can: Each is motivated purely by self-interest and not the altruistic yet ineffectual principles once expounded by old Major.


wireless set a radio.

John Bull, Tit-Bits and The Daily Mirror British periodicals.

Back to Top