Posted in Animal Farm

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.

vote-for-napoleon-and-the-full-manger

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.

 

Posted in Macbeth

Introducing the New and Improved PDF: QuickLits Guide to Macbeth

We have just updated our QuickLits Guide to Macbeth. We’ve refreshed the look and made it available to download instantly as a PDF!

We’d love for you to come and check it out here.

Not sure about it? Take a look at some of our recent reviews:

A great, concise guide for many students like me, who have to memorise the quotes. These quotes have a straightforward ‘Who, What and Why’ layout which makes it easy for people to make notes on. This makes it possible to use in essays and remember them easily, with context and explain why it links to the question. It also allows you to start your paragraphs and be precise.  This study guide is different to many other guides I have used a student myself – other guides waffle on, and sometimes use flowery vocab which can confuse many GCSE students.  I would definitely recommend this to students who are stuck wondering which quotations are necessary to learn.
Amber, aged 15: QuickLits Guide to Macbeth.
A very clear, structured guide which highlights the most vital quotes to use for Macbeth. It provides information about the most important ones, as well as context and reasoning for them. Has helped my revision nicely.
Ryan, aged 16. QuickLits Guide to Macbeth.
The guide contains many many helpful quotes with detailed explanations. Honestly a really helpful guide and it has saved me from almost failing English literature. Amazing cheat sheet at the end as well. Nice and concise.
Joe, aged 16. QuickLits Guide to Macbeth.

 

 

Posted in Animal Farm

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.

Like this post? Check out more Animal Farm posts here.

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

Animal Farm.

Posted in Animal Farm

Animal Farm: Mollie Character Analysis and Quotes

Check out our video version of this post or scroll down to read the full text …

 

 

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.

portrait-of-a-white-horse-3045319_640

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.

 

Posted in Animal Farm

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.

Like this post? Check out more Animal Farm posts here.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Animal Farm, Quote Round Up

Quote Round Up: Napoleon & Power Quotes in Animal Farm

In Animal Farm, Napoleon is an allusion to Stalin, the tyrannical leader of the Soviet Union. Unsurprisingly, we can find lots of examples of quotes which demonstrate Napoleon’s lust for power and, more importantly, how power increasingly corrupts Napoleon’s character.

Let’s have a look at some examples.

Chapter Two

“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.”

Here is our first glimpse of Napoleon’s taste for power. Instead of sharing out the milk, Napoleon keeps it for the pigs’ mash. What does this tell us about Napoleon and power? Well, this first glimpse tells us that Napoleon intends to take power as soon as possible – literally, the day after Mr. Jones has gone.

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.

Don’t be fooled by Napoleon’s lies about educating the puppies. As we will see in Chapter Five, Napoleon’s definition of education is training the puppies to be his own personal bodyguards. This shows us that Napoleon is prepared to use violence in order to take power from Snowball – even though it directly contravenes the principles of Animalism.

Chapter Five

At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws.

Napoleon’s violent expulsion of Snowball from the farm reveals his true colours to the reader: that he is prepared to move against anyone who threatens his ascent to power  – even if that person is a fellow pig. Don’t forget that this scene is also an allusion to Stalin’s expulsion of Trotsky from the Soviet Union in 1929. Just like Napeolon, Stalin could not bear to have the people wooed by the charisma and ideas of another person.

He announced that from now on the Sunday-morning Meetings would come to an end. They were unnecessary, he said, and wasted time. In future all questions relating to the working of the farm would be settled by a special committee of pigs, presided over by himself. 

Napoleon’s desire for power doesn’t just express itself through violence. His decision to end the Sunday-morning meetings puts an end to any sense of democracy that the farm once had. Napoleon is, therefore, cementing his power by taking control of the organisation and management of the farm.

Chapter Seven

And so the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon’s feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since the expulsion of Jones.

The image of bloody corpses standing at Napoleon’s feet is a powerful one, not just because it is vivid, but because it shows that Napelon will stop at nothing to maintain his power. He will murder the innocent without a single thought about the moral implications. In terms of allusions, this mirrors the Stalinist purges and show trials of the 1930s. This is a real turning point in the novel because it shows that Napoleon has himself become a symbol of tyranny, just as Stalin did in the Soviet Union.

Chapter Eight

Napoleon was now never spoken of simply as “Napoleon.” He was always referred to in formal style as “our Leader, Comrade Napoleon,” and this pigs liked to invent for him such titles as Father of All Animals, Terror of Mankind, Protector of the Sheep-fold, Ducklings’ Friend, and the like. 

By Chapter Eight, Napoleon’s power also extends to the creation of a cult of personality, the same cult that Stalin created in the Soviet Union. These titles depict Napoleon as a sort of demi-god, as being special or different from other animals, and as someone who deserves praise and admiration. By constantly bombarding the animals with this sort of propaganda, Napoleon’s power grows and grows.

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For the best quotes and in-depth analysis, click here for our Animal Farm study guide.