Le Léviathan

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Thomas Hobbes

Chapter Four

Chapter four makes several interesting observations about Socialism, Communism, and dictatorships, all within the context of the relationships of the animals on the farm. The first observation is that all three socio-political systems have a way of spreading and inspiring change in other areas. This was certainly a fear among people when Communist and Socialist countries were coming into power—a fear that the new way of life would be appealing to people outside of the regimes, and chapter four captures that fear. Moreover, the novel does not treat those concerns as if they are illusory or the result of fear-mongering. On the contrary, the animals have not been content to limit their Rebellion to Animal Farm and have sent out pigeons to other farms to tell those animals about the Rebellion. They demonstrate a real intent to bring revolution to other animals, so that the uneasiness of the surrounding humans is not paranoia; they may also face rebellions at their farms.

However, when Mr. Jones initially tries to gain sympathy from the other farmers, he is treated as if his concerns are paranoia. In fact, the other farmers acknowledge that there has been a rebellion at Animal Farm, but seem to place the blame for the rebellion on Mr. Jones because he was not taking proper care of his farm. Some of this blame is deserved, but ignores the fact that even a carefully tended farm uses the animals’ labor for the benefit of men. Moreover, the farmer’s initial complacency gets challenged when conditions on their own farms begin to change. As concerns about a growing risk of rebellion mount, the humans plan an attack on Animal Farm. Fortunately, Snowball, who has been studying military history, has been expecting just such an attack by the humans. When an armed contingent of humans approaches Animal Farm, the animals are prepared for the onslaught. Snowball has devised a two-pronged plan to outwit the humans. The first stage of the plan allows the humans to feel they have been victorious over the animals, and the second stage of the plan is meant to result in total victory for the animals. This battle becomes known as the Battle of the Cowshed. The animals emerge victorious, but they experience some casualties and some injuries, both of which serve as reminders that their state of relative freedom is tenuous. This leads to some of the animals experiencing a greater commitment to their leaders, which drives action in later chapters. Moreover, the Battle of the Cowshed cements some of the more nationalistic aspects of Animal Farm. For example, it leads to the establishment of the first military heroes; Snowball and Boxer are both honored for their exploits in the battle. However, Snowball’s excellent military planning allows for the animals to view him either as a hero or a coward, a fact that Napoleon will exploit later in the novel.

Chapter Five

In chapter five, Orwell really begins to unravel the differences between Communism and Socialism and explores how the animals are reacting to the increasing restrictions in Animal Farm. The animals have been able to band together to keep the humans from retaking Animal Farm, but focus on the external enemy has allowed Napoleon to manipulate things behind the scenes, making conditions less than optimal for the animals on the farm. However, before he even demonstrates some of Napoleon’s overt manipulations at the Animal Farm, Orwell demonstrates that not all of the animals are happy under Socialism. This is an important concept to consider, since the notion of a Socialist society is that it will be a utopia where everyone is happy. However, the goal of equal treatment for all means that some who are in privileged positions are going to experience a decline in their standard of living, so that they may not support a conversion to Socialism.

One of the most significant aspects of chapter five is Mollie’s decision to leave animal farm. Mollie had been favored by mankind prior to the Rebellion. She received better treatment than the other animals, and she was very fond of the outer symbols of this treatment, including sugar cubes as treats and ribbons to wear in her hair. She gets neither ribbons nor sugar cubes under the new leadership at Animal Farm. Moreover, because none of the other animals received the same type of treatment, they simply cannot understand why Mollie feels as if her conditions have declined since the Rebellion. Instead of listening to her concerns, they view her with suspicion and mistrust. Furthermore, the other animals believe that Mollie is not contributing as much as they are to the farm, a concern that may or may not have merit. Because she is seen talking to a human, they believe that Mollie may be acting as a traitor. Once again, these fears are not irrational. Mollie leaves the farm, reportedly to go to work for a human so that she can once again get sugar cubes. While this could be an opportunity for the animals to discuss what could be done to make the Animal Farm appealing to animals from privileged positions, they do not; instead, they cease to speak of Mollie.

In chapter five, it becomes clear that the pigs are the leaders of Animal Farm. It is not that they have forcibly taken leadership from the other animals; on the contrary, all of the animals seem all too ready to acquiesce to the pigs’ judgment and suggestions. The cooperative leadership of Snowball and Napoleon appears to be one of the reasons that the animals have put their faith in the pigs. However, chapter five is when the reader truly begins to understand the growing disconnect between the two leaders. Snowball continues to study history and attempts to devise plans to improve overall conditions for the animals on the farm, at the same time acknowledging that these future plans will require additional sacrifice from the animals in the present. Snowball’s persuasive personality enables him to convince the other animals of the merits of his plans, even if they are going to require additional work from the animals.

The problem is that Napoleon is secretly working against Snowball. Napoleon appeals to the fact that the other animals are not as capable of planning for the future as Snowball is, and uses their concerns about Snowball’s plans to help create the impression that Snowball is somehow engaged in some sort of exploitation. By speaking with the animals in small groups, Napoleon is able to nurture the idea that Snowball is somehow acting inappropriately toward the animals, and that the plans he says will benefit the group as a whole are actually designed solely for Snowball’s benefit. The two pigs’ quarrel comes to a head over a plan that Snowball has devised for the animals to build a windmill. According to Snowball, this windmill will provide electricity to the farm, which will enable the animals to finish their work more quickly and easily than they could without the windmill. Napoleon emphasizes the fact that the windmill would require an extensive amount of work from the animals, and he has them questioning whether the eventual payoff would make the initial investment worthwhile. By the time Snowball can introduce his windmill plan to the animals en masse, Napoleon has already managed to turn most of the animals against the idea. However, Snowball has always been known as a persuasive speaker, and when he presents the idea to the animals, he manages to convince them that the windmill would have long-term benefits. There is not a single event in the Bolshevik Revolution that captures this dispute over the windmill. Trotsky, the inspiration for Snowball, was known to be very enthusiastic about a number of development ideas, and Snowball’s enthusiasm for the windmill certainly reflects that sense of wonder and enthusiasm. However, while there is no single specific underlying incident, the growing dispute over the windmill is symbolic of the fact that Stalin was working against Trotsky, largely unbeknownst to Trotsky. Trotsky was continuing to try to work as an ally, initially unaware that he had an enemy.

Of course, the real forward movement in chapter five occurs after Snowball presents the idea for the windmill and is able to convince many of the animals to support the idea. That is when the reader is introduced to the real Napoleon. Rather than trying to convince the animals of the rightness of his position, Napoleon uses swift and unexpected violence against Snowball. It is then that the reader sees where the puppies have gone, but now they are no longer puppies. Instead, they are vicious and savage attack dogs, which Napoleon uses to attempt to kill Snowball. It is then that one sees Napoleon’s true personality; he has no interest in achieving the animals’ consensus on issues or in fostering free speech and political debate. On the contrary, Napoleon’s only concern is ensuring that the animals enact Napoleon’s agenda. Moreover, the animals are wholly unprepared for this attack. Nothing in Napoleon’s history has demonstrated a willingness to do violence to other animals. While they may have been aware of a growing divide between Napoleon and Snowball’s vision for the farm, they were not prepared for Napoleon to begin using violence. This is an important commentary on dictatorships. From the outside, critics of the people living under dictators may wonder how they acquiesced to that leadership, as if the dictators generally came to power initially by acting as despots. That is not the reality of most dictatorships. Instead, dictators use charisma, political maneuvering, and propaganda to make them appear to be good leaders, while keeping their actual agendas hidden from the people. Oftentimes, their brutality does come as a real surprise to the people. Moreover, this surprise actually serves a function; like the animals who watched the attack on Snowball without intervening to help him, people respond with inaction when something unpredictable occurs.

While Napoleon does not manage to kill Snowball, who escapes through a hedge, he is successful at driving him off of Animal Farm. Napoleon then takes his role as a dictator and almost immediately erases any pretense of democracy. For example, Napoleon announces that a group of pigs will now make all of the decisions for the farm, so that the animals no longer have a say in the political decisions of the farm. Napoleon also ends political discussion in the group. Like all dictators who crack down on dissension, Napoleon wishes to limit opportunities for the animals to discuss their unhappiness with him. He begins by ending the Sunday meetings, which had served as a time for political discussion and nation building since the beginning of the Animal Farm.

It is critical to understand the role that fear now plays on the farm. With one swift act of brutality, Napoleon has managed to control an entire farm full of animals. This is significant because while his attack dogs may be vicious and capable of killing, they are certainly outnumbered by the other animals on the farm, which are collectively capable of overthrowing Napoleon’s government. However, they are so stunned by the violence initially that they do not react, which helps cement the idea that they are powerless to challenge Napoleon. Added to this atmosphere of fear is the fact that Squealer is continuing to spread propaganda for Napoleon. He tells the animals how the farm will work under Napoleon, and gives reasons to justify why they are deviating from the initial Seven Commandments. He also begins to tell the animals that Snowball was a traitor and gives evidence to support his point of view. Not all of the animals necessarily believe that Snowball was a traitor, but they no longer have a leader to look to for inspiration and guidance to show them how to end Napoleon’s leadership. Moreover, Napoleon’s transformation into a human-like leader of the farm was so seemingly sudden that the animals seem not to process it. For example, the dogs work mindlessly to heed Napoleon’s instructions, having been raised in isolation from the other animals, which is how humans have used dogs to help control their animals for centuries, but none of the animals seem to pick up on this irony.

Chapter Six

Chapter six reveals how the animals feel about the changes to Animal Farm. Moreover, these changes are seen as personal reflections of the animals’ personal living conditions because, with the abolishment of the meetings, the animals are no longer meeting to discuss the overall conditions of the farm. This isolation serves Napoleon’s purposes, because the animals may believe that any negative changes in living conditions are limited to them personally and that, when taken as a whole, there has been an improvement in conditions on the farm. In fact, the animals remain committed to the idea of Animal Farm, despite the decline in living conditions, which does suggest that their failure to communicate with one another has left them ignorant of the overall conditions on the farm.

Perhaps the most dramatic change in life on the farm has been the increase in working hours for the animals. This is an important component because any type of class-based revolution is theoretically based on improvements to the working class. In fact, the Bolshevik Revolution was ostensibly intended to give the members of the working class a better lifestyle by giving them greater rewards for their labor and putting an end to slave-like working conditions. Therefore, for the animals to be working harder after the Rebellion than they did before the Rebellion should serve as a major warning sign that the Rebellion has not been successful. Immediately following his attack on Snowball, Napoleon increases the workweek to 60 hours. This increase dramatically reduces the time that the animals have for leisure and reduces their opportunities to communicate with one another. However, Napoleon is not content with a 60-hour workweek; he institutes “voluntary” overtime on Sunday, but the work is not actually voluntary. Those animals who fail to volunteer for Sunday work will have their food rations halved. This is an interesting device, and one that is seen in many dictatorships. The dictator creates a scenario that leaves the illusion of free will and choice among the people. Napoleon cannot be said to be forcing the animals to work on Sundays, since he has made it clear that Sunday work is voluntary. He also cannot be accused of starving the animals, since any animal who wants to keep his food allotment levels where they are need only to volunteer for work on Sunday. Moreover, this change in circumstances can easily be blamed on harsh conditions that may have threatened the productivity on the farm, so that harder workers would naturally be rewarded with greater rations. However, the effect is the same as a mandatory increase in work, since the animals were receiving subsistence rations prior to his Sunday volunteer work scheme.

The most troubling development in chapter six is when Napoleon announces that he will trade with people, which has been considered taboo since Old Major’s speech. This is an example of the revisionist history employed by both Napoleon and Squealer. Many of the animals are growing more and more discontent with the apparent discrepancies between events as they remember them and events as they are portrayed by Napoleon and Squealer. However, when they question these old events, their concerns are not addressed. Instead, Squealer sets up a false choice for the animals; accepting conditions as they exist under Napoleon or going back to a farm controlled by Mr. Jones. For the animals, Napoleon, who is at least an animal, remains a better option than Mr. Jones, so they keep much of their dissent to themselves. Moreover, Squealer does provide rationales to address the animals’ concerns about the apparent decline of Animal Farm. For example, Squealer explains to the animals that Napoleon’s decision is necessary because they need additional tools and supplies to build the windmill, and that they cannot get these without trading with humans. The trade with humans becomes a necessary evil to accomplish the goals of Animal Farm. In addition, Squealer provides the animals with a convenient scapegoat. When the animals question Napoleon’s actions, Squealer suggests that Snowball, the traitor, has somehow managed to turn them against Napoleon.

Another important development in chapter six occurs when the pigs begin to take on greater human characteristics by moving into the farmhouse and sleeping in beds. This is clearly analogous to those who were in power during the Bolshevik Revolution beginning to live in luxury while the proletariat continued to struggle in poverty. Moreover, it was specifically prohibited in the original Seven Commandments, which prohibited animals from ever sleeping in beds. However, when the animals question this, they are treated to another lesson in revisionist history. To address their concerns, Squealer has Muriel read the commandment in question. However, the commandment has been changed. Initially, the commandment had stated, “No animal shall sleep in a bed,” but when Squealer asks Muriel to read it to the animals, the commandment has been changed to say, “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.” Most of the animals are aware that there has been a change to the commandment, but the high illiteracy rate among the animals combined with their low overall education level keeps them sufficiently timid that they do not necessarily feel comfortable questioning Muriel’s reading of the commandment.

Chapter six shows the animals making some progress on the goals of the farm, though by this time, the reader is aware that any goals that are seemingly for the benefit of the farm are actually solely for Napoleon’s benefit. The animals are able to bring in the harvest, and they make significant progress on the windmill, but it is destroyed by a bad storm. The storm provides Orwell with the opportunity to show how committed Napoleon is trying to encourage the animals to think negatively about Snowball. While Snowball clearly did not have the power to create a storm, Napoleon blamed the damage sustained by the windmill during the storm on Snowball. Though not all of the animals accepted this explanation, it was another way to help establish the idea that Napoleon’s leadership was better than Mr. Jones’ leadership and better than Snowball’s leadership would have been. Moreover, the storm provides an opportunity for Napoleon to transform Snowball from a scapegoat to an enemy of the state; he sentences Snowball to death as a result of the destruction of the windmill.

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