In the final chapter of Orwell’s satirical novel of indirect political attack, the story is drawn to the inevitable conclusion. Throughout the novel Orwell has hinted that the equality promised in the beginning of the story will not be delivered. We see the pigs finally commanding absolute power and dictatorship over the farm and becoming ever similar to their human ‘colleagues’. It is the fact that the humans have become their colleagues instead of their superiors (as is the case on every other farm in England), which is the pivotal moment of the novel.
This acquisition of power over the rest of the animals is shown by the fact that six of the animals’ principle Seven Commandments have been erased, in favour of just one – “All animals are equal”. However, the addition of “but some animals are more equal than others” as discovered by Benjamin, makes all the difference. This is the first outright claim that Orwell makes which directly shows the pigs seizing superiority. Throughout the novel, the reader sees the proceedings from the animal’s point of view. Chapter 10 of Animal Farm really shows us the power of this narrative technique.
Although it seems to the animals that “their life, so far as they knew, was as it always had been” – they remain naively hopeful to the very end that things will, one day, get better. Even after realising that Old Major’s dream of equality should be upon them by now, they all insist “still it was coming”. By doing this, Orwell creates a sense of irony for the readers as they have seen the foreshadowing that the naive animals have not. The reader has become suspicious of the pigs and does not believe Squealer’s propaganda like the animals do.
Even after they have been stripped of their equality, the animals still succumb to Squealer’s lies. This faith in the pigs is shown when Orwell describes Squealer’s “lists of figures” as “invariably demonstrating that everything was getting better”. The reader knows that of course things weren’t getting better and the lists and figures and ‘important paperwork’ were all false but we see the events from the animals point of view which creates tension through the ironic continuation of faith which the animals have.
If Orwell had used an independent or third person narrative, it would have ‘separated’ the audience from the animals. However this strategy lets us empathise with them on a personal level, as we feel involved yet helpless seeing their continued naive belief in the pigs and knowing of the oppression that they will soon face. This narrative strategy used by Orwell not only gives a feeling of involvement in the action, but also creates a sense of dramatic contrast between the naivety of the animals and the sinister foreshadowing of the pigs’ rise to power and control. Chapter 10 opens with the short sentence “years passed”.
This length of time contrasts with the shortness of the sentence, which could highlight the importance of, just how long it has been. It allows the reader to imagine a monotonous and continued struggle with nothing changing, which is key. Without needing specification, the reader knows that the past years since Chapter 9’s events have been hard and still the equality has not been reached for the animals. This image of a long time passing also contrasts with Orwell’s description of the animals’ lives as “short” which shows that many of the animals that were around at the time of the Rebellion have now passed away.
This is important because most of the animals now only know of Old Major’s dream of equality by word of mouth- words which could quite easily have been exaggerated (or indeed played down) or influenced by anybody wanting to alter the memory of the events which happened so long ago. The contrast also adds a sense of irony. Also, years pass and still the animals do not lose their “sense of honour and privilege in being members of Animal Farm”. This is also ironic because Animal Farm is now perhaps one of the hardest farms for an animal to work on, so it should have been anything but a privilege.
Those ‘in charge’ (in this case pigs and not humans- not that it makes a difference) made them work harder than anywhere else in England and for less food. The animals had to work harder to compensate for the fact that “neither pigs nor dogs produced any food by their own labour”, were unable to officially retire from work and were controlled/suppressed – for example no animal “would have dared to sing” the ‘Beasts of England’ song which Old Major once taught many of their ancestors. Even after years of this seeming miserable living, still “none of the “old dreams had been abandoned”.
By quickly stating that this naive hope had not died, Orwell allows the reader to fully see the lack of grasp or understanding the animals have for their hard situation. Upon the animals’ realisation that the pigs had begun to take full control of the farm, Orwell uses short sentences and one-line paragraphs to highlight their shock and horror at the betrayal of the pigs. This allows these important details to stand out clearly and highlights their significance. “It was a pig walking on his hind legs. ” “He carried a whip in his trotter. ”
These quotes clearly demonstrate Orwell’s use of this technique and as a reader I feel it allows connection to the animals’ dismay. Not only this, but it also acts as a conclusion of sorts to the earlier foreshadowing and solidly confirms the reader’s suspicions. For the animals, this is the first time they are aware of any betrayal at all so it comes as more of a shock to them. However, the reader has been able to see beyond the pigs’ (in particular Squealer’s) lies and now it only confirms our knowledge of the inevitable conclusion that through dreams of communist equality would come corruption and greedy superiors.
Throughout his novel, Orwell gives us a deep insight into his opinion on politics and society. Upon closer inspection we can see inside the ‘fictional’ events of ‘Animal Farm’ to a more real situation, with real corruption. I feel as if Orwell hopes that he can teach the reader by forcing them to feel sympathy for the animals, and in turn, their real life equivalents. References to reality are rife throughout the novel- for instance the initial ‘hoof and horn’ flag of Animal Farm bares an intentionally ‘uncanny resemblance’ to that of the communist Soviet Union.
Orwell’s use of language is used as a key way to convey his message. For example, those in power are named ‘pigs’. While obviously just describing their species, this may also be a subtle way of criticising the real life figures of power. Also, by reinstating the farm’s original name of Manor Farm, Orwell shows how once again the farm has become an established dictatorship only this time power has shifted from Mr Jones the human to Napoleon the pig and his entourage.
Orwell’s political stance and opinion is not actually forced upon the reader though- his critique of real society is merely hinted at, all though these hints are not uncommon. I think that Orwell tells two stories in his novel, which is why it is such a success. Through a wide variety of techniques and conventions, Orwell tells us the story of both Manor Farm and the pigs’ acquisition of power and of a more real-life ‘story’, of which he hopes to raise awareness through his novel Animal Farm.