Un roi sans divertissement


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Jean Giono

Animal Farm has several quotations that capture the essence of the novel.

Quotation One:Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.

This quote is found in chapter one and is spoken by Old Major. It is the foundation for Old Major’s basic argument that animals are good and men are bad. It is also a clearly allegorical statement for how the upper class has exploited the lower class. This concept explains why the animals engage in the Rebellion. Moreover, the quote becomes significant because it is ultimately proven false in the novel; once the pigs are in power, they exhibit the same willingness to exploit the other animals that was previously demonstrated only by the men.

Quotation Two:Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland/Beasts of every land and clime/ Hearken to my joyful tiding/Of the golden future time.

This quote is from the song “Beasts of England,” which Old Major sings to the animals in chapter one. It provides the animals with hope of a better future on Earth. Even as Animal Farm changes, the animals continue to sing “Beasts of England” or otherwise use it as inspiration for how life on the farm could be.

Quotation Three:1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. 2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. 3. No animal shall wear clothes. 4. No animal shall sleep in a bed. 5. No animal shall drink alcohol. 6. No animal shall kill any other animal. 7. All animals are equal.

This quotation is found in chapter two, and lists the Seven Commandments that are the founding principles of Animal Society. These commandments are written on the wall of the barn. However, the quotation is significant because the underlying principles for the farm change dramatically over the course of the novel. By the end of the novel, the pigs have violated every single one of the commandments, and only number seven even partially remains intact.

Quotation Four:Four legs good, two legs bad.

This quote represents a simplification of the principles of Animal Farm. It stands for the notion that men are bad and animals are good. However, it also has deeper significance because it indicates that some of the animals are unable to master the Seven Commandments and, therefore, need to have a condensed version available for their use. This foreshadows the notion that these animals will be especially vulnerable to manipulation as the novel progresses.

Quotation Five: Four legs good, two legs better.

This quotation must be considered in conjunction with the above quotation, and shows the dramatic changes that occur at Animal Farm over the course of the novel. At the novel’s beginning, the animals view all people as enemies. By the novel’s conclusion, the pigs have emulated the humans so thoroughly that they are indistinguishable from them.

Quotation Six:All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

This becomes the single commandment that replaces the original Seven Commandments. It highlights the elevated social status of the pigs. It also represents a terrible betrayal of the founding principles of Animal Farm.

Quotation Seven:Besides, in those days they had been slaves and now they were free, and that made all the difference, as Squealer did not fail to point out.

This quotation is found in chapter nine and helps explain why the animals do not rebel against the pigs and why more of the animals have not defected from the farm. The propaganda that the animals were actually free helped convince them that their harsh living conditions were acceptable. This quote not only condemns conditions on Animal Farm, but actually encourages the reader to examine living conditions in any modern society and determine whether the actual living conditions reflect a nation that lives its ideals or has actually betrayed them.

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