Study Guide

Animal Farm Violence

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For a fairy tale about a self-governing farm, Animal Farm sure does pile up the bodies. Old Major may have dreamed about animals frolicking in green pastures, but the reality is more like bloody corpses and split hooves. From the violent Rebellion to the violent Battle of the Windmill to the violent executions, Napoleon's reign is one big ick-fest. Does Animal Farm use violence to invalidate Old Major's ideas? Or is violence the reason everything goes wrong?

Questions About Violence

  1. What different kinds of violence do we see in Animal Farm? What are the tools of violence, and who is fighting whom here? Do the sides shift over the course of the book?
  2. How is it that Napoleon executes such extremes of violence, and still has the other animals convinced he's a good guy?
  3. Are there any animals who don't become violent if provoked? Why or why not?

Chew on This

At first, violence is restricted to animal-on-human violence. As the pigs become increasingly corrupt, animal-on-animal violence becomes more common.

The working class animals are strong enough that they always present a potential for violent rebellion against the pigs.

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