1. The novel focuses around farm animals who have been given a human voice to express their perspective on life on the farm. All the animals are clearly unhappy under the control of the farm’s current owner, Mr. Jones. Old Major, a commanding boar in the barn, gives a charismatic, inspiration speech that encouraged all the animals to rebel against Mr. Jones so they could take control of the barn and run it the way they want to. The animals manage to complete such task and soon Old Major is seen as a hero that saved them. All this power and appreciation soon goes to Old Major’s head and he becomes more and more like a dictator every day. Old Major passes his ideals of how the barn should run to his little minions: Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer. They then turn to the rest of the animals and teach them Old Major’s philosophy. Once Old Major dies, the barn is left in the hands of the three pigs. It’s obvious that either Snowball or Napoleon will lead the barn and while Snowball is charming and just, Napoleon uses underhand tactics to run him off the barn. Napoleon soon becomes a tyrant, killing anybody that doesn’t believe in his leadership. All the animals believe he is doing this for the good of the farm, or that’s what Napoleon keeps saying. The barn life for the animals keeps decreasing as they are put to work and are fed little. Napoleon takes control of every aspect of the animals lives, become more “human” with every passing day. The end of the book shows the misery of the animals while the “pigs” are dining with their human neighbors, and the animals can no longer tell the difference between the two.
2. The theme of the novel is that power can corrupt if not given to the right person. While power can lead to success and wealth, it can also tear away any humanity one might have had. It was represented by the pigs that had good intentions, but once they had the taste of power, and what they could do with it, it soon poisoned their good will.
3. The tone of the book is somber and oppressive. Every day the lives of the farm animals get worse and worse due to the ideals of Old Major. The novel demonstrates the evil that comes about from power.
4. Symbolism – The entire novel is a symbol for the bloody Russian Revolution. The pigs represent the USSR, Napoleon being Stalin and Snowball representing Lenin. Everything that occurred in the novel, pretty much happened in Russia. Propaganda was used by Squealer whenever he tried to justify Napoleon evil doings. Much like Stalin and his propaganda, his people believed every word he said. To us, it’s common sense that you wouldn’t believe a word they said, but they didn’t know any better.
Personification – All the animals in the novel could speak to one another and to human being. Even though they didn’t want to be like the cruel humans they were given a voice to express their emotions. The pigs eventually “turn into” humans through the eyes of the animals.
Diction – He used strong words for the pigs so that they seemed powerful, while he choice simple, almost foolish vocabulary for the animals that followed the pigs. This just goes to show the relationship that the pigs and other animals had with one another.
Anaphora – Boxer always used the phrase “Napoleon is always right” to show the reader the brainwashing that the pigs had done to the animals. It also represented the control Napoleon had over the animals even though he treated them cruelly.