Study Guide

Animal Farm Power: Leadership and Corruption

By George Orwell

Power: Leadership and Corruption

Chapter 1
Mr. and Mrs. Jones (humans)

Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring. (1.1)

We don't know if Mr. Jones became a drunk before or after becoming the leader of the farm, but we definitely get the idea that he's not up to his job.

Chapter 3

The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership. (3.2)

Well, obviously. Check out how Orwell's narrator uses the pig's language—"natural" and "superior"—but gets in his own dig with "actually work." The animals might not get it, but we do.

Chapter 5

At last the day came when Snowball's plans were completed. At the Meeting on the following Sunday the question of whether or not to begin work on the windmill was to be put to the vote. When the animals had assembled in the big barn, Snowball stood up and, though occasionally interrupted by bleating from the sheep, set forth his reasons for advocating the building of the windmill. Then Napoleon stood up to reply. He said very quietly that the windmill was nonsense and that he advised nobody to vote for it, and promptly sat down again; he had spoken for barely thirty seconds, and seemed almost indifferent as to the effect he produced. At this Snowball sprang to his feet, and shouting down the sheep, who had begun bleating again, broke into a passionate appeal in favour of the windmill. Until now the animals had been about equally divided in their sympathies, but in a moment Snowball's eloquence had carried them away. In glowing sentences he painted a picture of Animal Farm as it might be when sordid labour was lifted from the animals' backs. His imagination had now run far beyond chaff-cutters and turnip-slicers. Electricity, he said, could operate threshing machines, ploughs, harrows, rollers, and reapers and binders, besides supplying every stall with its own electric light, hot and cold water, and an electric heater. By the time he had finished speaking, there was no doubt as to which way the vote would go. But just at this moment Napoleon stood up and, casting a peculiar sidelong look at Snowball, uttered a high-pitched whimper of a kind no one had ever heard him utter before. (5.13)

Who needs to speak eloquently when you have a pack of attack dogs? Napoleon isn't willing to get his power honestly—if you can even call manipulating a pack of farm animals "honest." He's going to get it by brute force. Great.

Chapter 6

It was about this time that the pigs suddenly moved into the farmhouse and took up their residence there...It was absolutely necessary, he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, should have a quiet place to work in. It was also more suited to the dignity of the Leader (for of late he had taken to speaking of Napoleon under the title of "Leader") to live in a house than in a mere sty. Nevertheless, some of the animals were disturbed when they heard that the pigs not only took their meals in the kitchen and used the drawing-room as a recreation room, but also slept in the beds. (6.10)

The pigs are just so exhausted from doing all the brainwork that they need to sleep in beds. You can't get the sleep you need in a pile of hay, right? Can you imagine what their SAT scores would look like after a night in barnyard?

Napoleon (a pig)

Throughout the spring and summer they worked a sixty-hour week, and in August Napoleon announced that there would be work on Sunday afternoons as well. This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half. (6.2)

Apparently, power means that you get to redefine language so that "strictly voluntary" means "in order to eat." Pretty soon, he's going to be saying that Boxer had a "negative patient care outcome" or that the new tax is a "revenue enhancement."

Chapter 7
Napoleon (a pig)

Nevertheless, towards the end of January it became obvious that it would be necessary to procure some more grain from somewhere. In these days Napoleon rarely appeared in public, but spent all his time in the farmhouse, which was guarded at each door by fierce-looking dogs. When he did emerge, it was in a ceremonial manner, with an escort of six dogs who closely surrounded him and growled if anyone came too near. Frequently he did not even appear on Sunday mornings, but issued his orders through one of the other pigs, usually Squealer. (7.5)

Napoleon later derives power from his own prestige—by separating himself from the rest of the animals, he heightens his importance.

Chapter 9

In April, Animal Farm was proclaimed a Republic, and it became necessary to elect a President. There was only one candidate, Napoleon, who was elected unanimously. (9.7)

Hm. An election with only one candidate who's elected unanimously—it sounds like this Animal Farm republic is looking a lot more like a dictatorship.

Chapter 10

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. (10.35)

Before you start blaming the pigs for being evil and patting yourself on the back for all the bacon you get, notice that when the pigs are at their absolute worst, they… look the most like humans. Ouch.

But the luxuries of which Snowball had once taught the animals to dream, the stalls with electric light and hot and cold water, and the three-day week, were no longer talked about. Napoleon had denounced such ideas as contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The truest happiness, he said, lay in working hard and living frugally. (10.4)

Working hard and living frugally—unless you're a pig. It's a lot easier to tell other people that they should be giving up their iPads and Starbucks lattes when you've just bought yourself a $2000 Italian espresso machine.

Mr. Whymper

Today he and his friends had visited Animal Farm and inspected every inch of it with their own eyes, and what did they find? Not only the most up-to-date methods, but a discipline and an orderliness which should be an example to all farmers everywhere. He believed that he was right in saying that the lower animals on Animal Farm did more work and received less food than any animals in the county. (10.25)

This is a neat little example of something called free indirect discourse—it might sound like the narrator's talking (the "he believed"), but it's really the narrator talking in Mr. Whymper's voice. And look what he's saying: the animals are working harder for more food than on any other farm. What a great example!