Study Guide

Animal Farm Foolishness and Folly

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Foolishness and Folly

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Talk about blaming the victim: it sounds a lot like Orwell is faulting the lower-class animals for not being smart enough to realize what's going on. Either they fail to recognize their oppression, or they ignore it because they want to wear ribbons in their hair (ahem, Mollie). But you could also see the pigs as having follies of their own. A drunk pig stumbling around on two legs? Sounds pretty foolish to us.

Questions About Foolishness and Folly

  1. Some character pretty much always fools (Mollie, the sheep) and some that are generally wise (Benjamin). Do they ever step out of these roles? Do we ever see a moment of clarity from Mollie, or foolishness from Benjamin?
  2. Are these foolish animals born foolish, or made foolish by the actions of others? If you are born a fool, are you stuck that way or can you learn to stop being such a fool? Do the animals?
  3. Is Old Major's dream foolish, or does it just get ruined by the foolishness of others?

Chew on This

The lower-class animals end up oppressed not just because the pigs are mean to them (although they are) but because they're inherently idiots.

The pigs may be more intelligent than the rest of the animals, but the humans ultimately make them into fools.

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