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Animal Farm: Moses the Raven Character Analysis

We’re continuing with our Animal Farm character analysis and, today, we will be taking a closer look at Moses the Raven. Although Moses isn’t a major character in Animal Farm, Orwell uses him to highlight how religion was abused by Stalin.

As such, Moses represents the Russian Orthodox Church. You’ll notice that Orwell even gave Moses a Biblical name, thereby strengthening this religious connection.

 

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Moses the Raven in Chapter One

At the beginning of the story, Moses is introduced to the reader as having a special place on the farm because he is Mr. Jones’ pet. Jones uses Moses to keep an eye on the other animals:

“He was a spy and a talebearer but he was also a clever talker.”

In return, Moses is rewarded with beer and bread. He is, therefore, the only animal on the farm who does no physical labour. Understandably, the other animals dislike Moses for this reason, as well as for his love of telling tales.

Moses and Sugarcandy Mountain

Moses spends a lot of time talking about a place called Sugarcandy Mountain. This place, claims Moses, is situated somewhere beyond the clouds and is the place where all animals will go when they die. Moses provides a very vivid description of Sugarcandy Moutain to those who will listen:

“In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges.”

What we have here is a clear allusion to heaven. Just like the Christian version of heaven, Sugarcandy Mountain is a kind of utopia; a place where there is no work or suffering, only happiness and abundance.

Moses and the Rebellion

After the Rebellion, Moses leaves the farm with Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Remember that Moses is not a silly bird. He knows that nobody else would feed him for doing nothing. Moses’ exit from the farm is an allusion to what happened to the Russian Church when Stalin took over. Stalin tried to best to remove religion from daily life because he felt that it threatened his power. So Moses and his ideas about Sugarcandy Mountain disappear.

Moses and the Pigs

During World War Two, Stalin reinstated the Russian Orthodox Church. He realised that it could be useful having the Church around – and its idea of heaven – to placate the hungry and over-worked population. We see this event reflected in Chapter Nine when Moses suddenly returns to the farm, talking again about Sugarcandy Mountain. In return for coming back, the pigs reward Moses with a gill of beer a day.

What’s really interesting here is that although the pigs dislike Moses, they use him just as Mr. Jones did – proving that they are becoming the very masters that they once hated.

So, Moses might be hated on the farm but he is, perhaps, one of the smartest characters: he uses his ability to tell stories to make sure that his belly is never empty and that he stays on the right side of the pigs.

Become a pro at analysing Moses quotes by checking out our brand new Animal Farm study guide. Available to download instantly! It’s here as a PDF or here for Amazon Kindle.

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QuickLits Guide to Animal Farm is Out Now!

QuickLits is really excited to announce of its third English literature study guide: QuickLits Guide to Animal Farm.  It contains all of the Animal Farm quotes and analysis that you’ll need to get the best grades in your essays and exams. It even comes with a Cheat Sheet – a summary of the key themes and literary devices. Perfect for exam revision.

To get your copy, click here!

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Animal Farm: Napoleon Character Analysis

To celebrate the release of our third study guide, QuickLits Guide to Animal Farm, we are sharing a free series of character analyses. Who better to start with than the dastardly Napoleon?

Napoleon

 

As we’ve mentioned before, Napoleon is an allusion to Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1952.

What you’ll also notice is that Napoleon shares his name with the eighteenth-century French general, Napoleon, who betrayed his democratic principles in order to take absolute power – just like our Napoleon.

So, we could say that Animal Farms Napoleon is representative of many tyrants from history.

Like all tyrants in history, Napoleon doesn’t start out that way. In Chapter One, for example, we are told that Napoleon has a “reputation for getting his own way” but in every other respect, he is no different from any other animal.

However, a turning point occurs in Chapter Two, just after Jones is expelled from the from. At first, it seems rather innocent when Napoleon mentions the milk:

“Never mind the milk, comrades!” cried Napoleon, placing himself in front of the buckets. “That will be attended to. The harvest is more important. Comrade Snowball will lead the way. I shall follow in a few minutes. Forward, comrades! The hay is waiting.”

However, by taking the milk for the pigs’ mash, we see just how self-interested Napoleon really is. Remember that this is just after the animals have taken control of the farm and already he’s thinking in selfish terms.

You’ll also notice that Napoleon doesn’t contribute to the formulation of the new ideology (Animalism), or to the animals’ establishment of a new society. In fact, he’s only interested in his power over the other animals and the resources of Animal Farm. Think about it, the only project he undertakes with gusto is the training of the puppies whom he takes from their mothers in Chapter Three:

“As soon as they were weaned, Napoleon took them away from their mothers, saying that he would make himself responsible for their education. He took them up into a loft which could only be reached by a ladder from the harness-room, and there kept them in such seclusion that the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence.”

Who do these puppies end up working for? That’s right, it’s Napoleon. Because he has isolated them from an early age, they are loyal to him. Just like Stalin used the NKVD, Napoleon uses these dogs as his own bodyguards to consolidate his power on the farm and to intimidate the other animals.

As the story progresses, we see a rivalry develop between Napoleon and Snowball, which comes to a head in Chapter Five when they disagree about the best way for the farm to develop. Snowball wants to build a windmill so as to unshackle the animals from work. In contrast, Napoleon believes that should increase food production immediately – just as Stalin did in the Soviet Union.

Napoleon and Snowball both develop political slogans. The two slogans are “Vote for Snowball and the three-day week” and “Vote for Napoleon and the full manger.” Just before the animals vote on the windmill, Napoleon releases his dogs and chases Snowball off the farm, therefore eliminating his political rival.

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Shortly after, he decrees that there shall be no more Sunday-Morning Meetings and that all decisions about the farm will be made by a committee of pigs, presided over by himself. To quash any dissent,  Napoleon keeps his dogs by his side. He is now morphing into a dictator.

By Chapter Eight, Napoleon has taken complete control of the farm and the flow of information. Through Squealer, for example, he manipulates statistics to show that food production has increased, even though it hasn’t. He also uses Squealer to help the development of his cult of personality. This cult transforms Napoleon from an ordinary animal into a sort of demi-god, as we see through this quote:

“It had become usual to give Napoleon the credit for every successful achievement and every stroke of good fortune. You would often hear one hen remark to another, ‘Under the guidance of our Leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid five eggs in six days’; or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would exclaim, ‘Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this water tastes!”

The animals are giving Napoleon credit for things that he hasn’t done. This is evidence of the control he has over them and the fear he has instilled in them. His violent methods, brainwashing and propaganda techniques have resulted in his absolute control.

Animal Farm

 

Like this post? For more Napoleon analysis, check out our Quote Round Up: Napoleon and Power.

For more analysis, check out our brand new, quote-based, Animal Farm study guide here.

 

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Animal Farm: What are some of Squealer’s Propaganda Tecnhiques?

In Animal Farm, Squealer is Napoleon’s right-hand man, in charge of verbally conveying Napoleon’s commands to the other animals. Squealer is an allusion to the Soviet newspaper, Pravda, which disseminated pro-Stalin propaganda to the people.

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In order to fulfill his role on the farm, and to increase the pigs’ power, Squealer uses a number of propaganda techniques.

Let’s take a look at some of these:

False Science

Remember in Chapter Two when Napoleon steals the milk? Well, when it is revealed that the pigs have been mixing it into their mash (along with some apples), Squealer justifies this decision with a bit of false science:

Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers.

False Statistics

In Chapter Eight, to fool the animals into believing that life is better under the pigs than it was under Mr. Jones (which it isn’t, by the way), Squealer bombards the animals with false statistics:

On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding down a long strip of paper with his trotter, would read out to them lists of figures proving that the production of every class of foodstuff had increased by two hundred per cent, three hundred per cent, or five hundred per cent, as the case might be.

Scapegoating

Notice how whenever something goes wrong on the farm, Squealer blames Snowball? (Even though it’s never his fault):

“Comrades!” cried Squealer, making little nervous skips, “a most terrible thing has been discovered. Snowball has sold himself to Frederick of Pinchfield Farm, who is even now plotting to attack us and take our farm away from us! Snowball is to act as his guide when the attack begins. 

Snowball even gets the blame for destroying the windmill, even though it was the wind that blew it down.

Fear

Squealer loves nothing more than terrifying the animals into believing that if they do not obey the pigs, Mr. Jones will come back. Here’s an example from Chapter Six when Squealer uses propaganda to justify the pigs’ decision to sleep in beds:

 

“You would not have us too tired to carry out our duties? Surely none of you wishes to see Jones back?”

Distraction 

Have you noticed how Squealer is often described as moving around while he talks to the animals? Look at this example from Chapter Nine when Squealer is lying to the animals about Boxer’s death:

It was almost unbelievable, said Squealer, that any animal could be so stupid. Surely, he cried indignantly, whisking his tail and skipping from side to side, surely they knew their beloved Leader, Comrade Napoleon, better than that? 

This skipping from side and side and whisking the tail distracts the animals from what Squealer is saying because they are focusing on his movements instead of his words.

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For more in-depth analysis, check out our brand new, quote-based study guide here.

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Animal Farm: Mollie Character Analysis and Quotes

In Animal Farm, Mollie the mare is used by Orwell as an allusion to the wealthy Russian middle class. Like them, Mollie is materialistic and shallow. She is more interested in sugar lumps, ribbons, and gazing at her own reflection than in overthrowing her human master.

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Take a look at these quotes to see Mollie’s materialistic side in action:

Mollie Character Quotes 

Chapter Two:

The very first question she asked Snowball was: “Will there still be sugar after the Rebellion?”

Chapter Three:

She would vanish for hours on end, and then reappear at meal-times, or in the evening after work was over, as though nothing had happened. But she always made such excellent excuses, and purred so affectionately, that it was impossible not to believe in her good intentions. 

 

Mollie refused to learn any but the six letters which spelt her own name. She would form these very neatly out of pieces of twig, and would then decorate them with a flower or two and walk round them admiring them.

Why does Mollie leave the farm?

In Chapter Five, Mollie suddenly disappears from the farm. You’ll notice that this happens three days after an intervention from Clover who had seen Mollie talking with a human stranger and letting him stroke her nose.

A few weeks later, Mollie is seen in the village with a “fat red-faced man” who is feeding her sugar. She is wearing a scarlet ribbon around her neck and her coat is freshly clipped.

What does this tell us about her reasons for leaving the farm?

For a start, it tells us that Mollie wants all the things that Mr. Jones once gave her: human affection, sugar, and ribbons. Since the Rebellion on the farm, these things are no longer available to her.

What is also tells us is that Mollie does not share the ideals of her comrades on the farm. All she wants is to be adored by a human master, not to be “free” and in charge of her own destiny.

Mollie, therefore, has nothing to gain under the principles of Animalism, so it is hardly surprising that she leaves the farm and never returns.

Become a pro at analysing Mollie quotes by checking out our brand new Animal Farm study guide. Available to download instantly! Check it out here as a PDF or here on Amazon Kindle.

 

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Animal Farm: An Analysis of Old Major’s Speech

Old Major’s speech in Chapter One is what sows the seeds of rebellion in the animals’ minds. With that in mind, it’s worth having a closer look at what Old Major says and, more importantly, how he says it.

Old Major Hands Up

Let’s take a look at some of the key quotes from Old Major and some of the persuasive techniques he uses to convince the animals that a rebellion is not only necessary but is also imminent.

I have had a long life, I have had much time for thought as I lay alone in my stall, and I think I may say that I understand the nature of life on this earth as well as any animal now living. It is about this that I wish to speak to you.

In this quote, Old Major is suggested that his long life (and life experience) has imbued him with some wisdom and knowledge that the other animals do not have. This not only makes the animals sit up and pay attention; it also makes it difficult for them to disbelieve him.

Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.

The use of the word “comrades” is important here because it implies a unity among the animals; this idea of “we’re all in to together.”  Notice also that he uses a rhetorical question, the point of which is to not to get an answer but to offer his own opinion. His answer is short and to the point, too, and uses emotive words.

It is summed up in a single word–Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.

By repeating the word “man,” Old Major hammers home his point that humans are to blame for the animals’ poor quality of life. (He uses the word “man” three times just in this one quote!) Old Major also uses hyperbole (deliberate exaggeration) here. He says that if man is removed, then the animals will never be overworked or hungry again. This is a pretty big statement to make considering that there are lots of reasons why an animal might go hungry or be overworked. Maybe there’s a lack of available food, extra jobs to do, the list is endless …

And even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their natural span.

There’s some irony here: Old Major says that no animal is allowed to reach their natural span. Hang on a minute, hasn’t Old Major lived to his full, natural lifespan?!

All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.

Old Major finishes with another short and sweet statement. He makes it seem so simple – every man is bad, and every animal is good. The only problem is that all animals aren’t really comrades at all. Just look at how much the animals dislike Moses.

After being bombarded by these persuasive techniques, it is no wonder that the animals are fired up and ready to rebel.

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