Study Guide

Animal Farm Pride

By George Orwell

Pride

Chapter 1

And then, after a few preliminary tries, the whole farm burst out into "Beasts of England" in tremendous unison. The cows lowed it, the dogs whined it, the sheep bleated it, the horses whinnied it, the ducks quacked it. They were so delighted with the song that they sang it right through five times in succession, and might have continued singing it all night if they had not been interrupted. (1.20)

Oh, we get it. The animals just like to hear themselves sing. J/K! They're just all delighted to be doing something together, and they're really taking pride in this new vision of animal harmony that Old Major has given them.

Chapter 2
Snowball (a pig)

"Now, comrades," cried Snowball, throwing down the paint-brush, "to the hayfield! Let us make it a point of honour to get in the harvest more quickly than Jones and his men could do." (2.24)

When pride is helping you get the harvest in quickly (or get good grades, or put on pants every morning instead of going to the grocery store in your sweatpants ahem), it's all good. When it's making you vandalize your rival school? Maybe not so good.

Chapter 3

All through that summer the work of the farm went like clockwork. The animals were happy as they had never conceived it possible to be. Every mouthful of food was an acute positive pleasure, now that it was truly their own food, produced by themselves and for themselves, not doled out to them by a grudging master. With the worthless parasitical human beings gone, there was more for everyone to eat. There was more leisure too, inexperienced though the animals were. (3.3)

So far, so good. When you have to buy your clothes with your very own paycheck, you tend to take better care of them; when you work hard for yourself, you tend to be happier about it.

Chapter 4

The animals decided unanimously to create a military decoration, "Animal Hero, First Class," which was conferred there and then on Snowball and Boxer. It consisted of a brass medal (they were really some old horse-brasses which had been found in the harness-room), to be worn on Sundays and holidays. There was also "Animal Hero, Second Class," which was conferred posthumously on the dead sheep. (4.16)

We're on shakier territory with taking pride in violent military action and sacrifice, but it still seem to be working for a common good: if the animals take pride in their shared goal of running a working farm, then they don't mind a few dead sheep here or there. (Less bleating.)

Chapter 7

The animals huddled about Clover, not speaking. The knoll where they were lying gave them a wide prospect across the countryside. Most of Animal Farm was within their view—the long pasture stretching down to the main road, the hayfield, the spinney, the drinking pool, the ploughed fields where the young wheat was thick and green, and the red roofs of the farm buildings with the smoke curling from the chimneys. It was a clear spring evening. The grass and the bursting hedges were gilded by the level rays of the sun. Never had the farm—and with a kind of surprise they remembered that it was their own farm, every inch of it their own property—appeared to the animals so desirable a place. (7.30)

We're going to go out on a limb and guess that very few of you reading this are homeowners, but take it from old Shmoop: when you have to buy your own toilet, you take a lot more pride in scrubbing the bowl.

Chapter 8
Napoleon (a pig)

"Impossible!" cried Napoleon. "We have built the walls far too thick for that. They could not knock it down in a week. Courage, comrades!" (8.19)

Aaaand, somtimes pride just ends up sounding dumb. Or false. Napoleon is way more concerned with how the walls look (thick) than with whether or not they're built strongly. That's the problem with pride: if you focus too much on what you look like, it just becomes vanity.

In the autumn, by a tremendous, exhausting effort—for the harvest had to be gathered at almost the same time– the windmill was finished. The machinery had still to be installed, and Whymper was negotiating the purchase of it, but the structure was completed. In the teeth of every difficulty, in spite of inexperience, of primitive implements, of bad luck and of Snowball's treachery, the work had been finished punctually to the very day! Tired out but proud, the animals walked round and round their masterpiece, which appeared even more beautiful in their eyes than when it had been built the first time. Moreover, the walls were twice as thick as before. Nothing short of explosives would lay them low this time! And when they thought of how they had laboured, what discouragements they had overcome, and the enormous difference that would be made in their lives when the sails were turning and the dynamos running—when they thought of all this, their tiredness forsook them and they gambolled round and round the windmill, uttering cries of triumph. (8.10)

Aw. This is actually kind of sad. The poor animals are so proud of their windmill, and it's just going to be destroyed. But while it lasts, it gives them one more reason for them to take pride in their collectivity.

Chapter 9

But if there were hardships to be borne, they were partly offset by the fact that life nowadays had a greater dignity than it had had before. There were more songs, more speeches, more processions. Napoleon had commanded that once a week there should be held something called a Spontaneous Demonstration, the object of which was to celebrate the struggles and triumphs of Animal Farm. At the appointed time the animals would leave their work and march round the precincts of the farm in military formation, with the pigs leading, then the horses, then the cows, then the sheep, and then the poultry. ...by and large the animals enjoyed these celebrations. They found it comforting to be reminded that, after all, they were truly their own masters and that the work they did was for their own benefit. So that, what with the songs, the processions, Squealer's lists of figures, the thunder of the gun, the crowing of the cockerel, and the fluttering of the flag, they were able to forget that their bellies were empty, at least part of the time. (9.6)

Clever Napoleon. The farm is going to ruin, but Napoleon cheers everyone up with a pep rally. Our football team might be ranked last in the state, but by golly they're our football team!

Chapter 10
Napoleon (a pig)

There was enthusiastic cheering and stamping of feet. Napoleon was so gratified that he left his place and came round the table to clink his mug against Mr. Pilkington's before emptying it. (10.28)

"Gratified" is just a fancy word for pride. Napoleon is proud of the fact that these human farmers are accepting him as one of their own. Unfortunately, "one of their own" means that he's a conniving, tyrannical overlord. So, you know, good luck with that.

It might be that their lives were hard and that not all of their hopes had been fulfilled; but they were conscious that they were not as other animals. If they went hungry, it was not from feeding tyrannical human beings; if they worked hard, at least they worked for themselves. No creature among them went upon two legs. No creature called any other creature "Master." All animals were equal. (10.7)

If this were actually true, it would be—well, fine. Maybe not ideal, but fine. The problem is, it's not true. The animals proud of an illusion: the illusion of autonomy. In fact, they're just as enslaved as they were before. (Shhh, don't tell Napoleon we know. He might sic the dogs on us.)

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