by George Orwell
Animal Farm Cunning and Cleverness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"A bird's wing, comrades," he said, "is an organ of propulsion and not of manipulation. It should therefore be regarded as a leg. The distinguishing mark of man is the HAND, the instrument with which he does all his mischief." (3.10)
The birds are a little worried about the whole "four legs good, two legs bad" thing, because of their two-legged situation, but Snowball is clever enough to sort that out: wings are actually legs. In principle. Whew! But we see a problem: if a rule has to be explained, then it can't really be that simple, right? And doesn't it become a little too open to manipulation and revision? (Orwell's answer: yes.)
Within a few weeks Snowball's plans for the windmill were fully worked out. The mechanical details came mostly from three books which had belonged to Mr. Jones– 'One Thousand Useful Things to Do About the House', 'Every Man His Own Bricklayer', and 'Electricity for Beginners'. Snowball used as his study a shed which had once been used for incubators and had a smooth wooden floor, suitable for drawing on. He was closeted there for hours at a time. With his books held open by a stone, and with a piece of chalk gripped between the knuckles of his trotter, he would move rapidly to and fro, drawing in line after line and uttering little whimpers of excitement. Gradually the plans grew into a complicated mass of cranks and cog-wheels, covering more than half the floor, which the other animals found completely unintelligible but very impressive. All of them came to look at Snowball's drawings at least once a day. Even the hens and ducks came, and were at pains not to tread on the chalk marks. (5.10)
Oh boy. We've tried to replace our pipes with a similar set of books, and, guys, just take it from us: hire a plumber. Being clever enough to google "how to build a windmill" doesn't really give you the practical know-how to actually do it.
In spite of the shock that Snowball's expulsion had given them, the animals were dismayed by this announcement. Several of them would have protested if they could have found the right arguments. Even Boxer was vaguely troubled. He set his ears back, shook his forelock several times, and tried hard to marshal his thoughts; but in the end he could not think of anything to say. (5.17)
In the land of the dumb, the half-brained man (pig) is king: the pigs may not be mechanical (or agricultural) geniuses, but they're smarter than the rest of the animals. And, in the end, that's all that matters. So stay in school, Shmoopers!