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Animal Farm

Animal Farm

by George Orwell

Violence Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"And even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their natural span. For myself I do not grumble, for I am one of the lucky ones. I am twelve years old and have had over four hundred children. Such is the natural life of a pig. But no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end. You young porkers who are sitting in front of me, every one of you will scream your lives out at the block within a year. To that horror we all must come—cows, pigs, hens, sheep, everyone. Even the horses and the dogs have no better fate. You, Boxer, the very day that those great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to the knacker, who will cut your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds. As for the dogs, when they grow old and toothless, Jones ties a brick round their necks and drowns them in the nearest pond." (1.10)

Um. Suddenly that BLT we were planning on having for lunch doesn't sound so appealing. (To be fair, we never drown our old dogs—we just take them to a vet to be put down… oh. Hm.)

Quote #2

Without halting for an instant, Snowball flung his fifteen stone against Jones's legs. Jones was hurled into a pile of dung and his gun flew out of his hands. But the most terrifying spectacle of all was Boxer, rearing up on his hind legs and striking out with his great iron-shod hoofs like a stallion. His very first blow took a stable-lad from Foxwood on the skull and stretched him lifeless in the mud. At the sight, several men dropped their sticks and tried to run. Panic overtook them, and the next moment all the animals together were chasing them round and round the yard. They were gored, kicked, bitten, trampled on. There was not an animal on the farm that did not take vengeance on them after his own fashion. Even the cat suddenly leapt off a roof onto a cowman's shoulders and sank her claws in his neck, at which he yelled horribly. (4.8)

Yikes. No wonder the pigs start oppressing the animals almost immediately; Boxer sounds pretty scary. But, really, all the animals do—the only weapons humans have, really, is their brains. (Although, sheesh, what did the cowman ever do to the cat?)

Quote #3

"He is dead," said Boxer sorrowfully. "I had no intention of doing that. I forgot that I was wearing iron shoes. Who will believe that I did not do this on purpose?" (4.10)

At least some of the violence is accidental: Boxer didn't mean to kill the stable-boy. But who's going to believe him? (Also—it's easy to believe that Boxer didn't mean to kill a boy; it's a lot harder to believe that Tsar Nicholas II and his kids weren't executed on purpose. That's kind of the definition of an execution.)

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