Animal Farm is a fictional book by a man named George Orwell, based on the events that happened during the Russian Revolution. The book starts off with the animals on Manor Farm, where they get tortured and starved by Mr. Jones, the owner. One night, a boar named Old Major tells all the animals that they must revolt against mankind and take over the farm. A few days later, Old Major dies, and the animals successfully rebel. They rename the farm to Animal Farm to celebrate their victory. Since the pigs are the cleverest animals, they take over, ruling over the others. However, soon, the power that the pigs have begins to corrupt them.
The first way that power corrupts the pigs is that they end up going against the ten commandments that they created themselves. First, they kill other animals. The ten commandments clearly state how the animals cannot kill each other, but the pigs bypass this and kill some of the other animals for betraying them and not following the rules that they had created. The pigs also begin to act like humans more by walking on two legs and sleeping on beds, which is also against the ten commandments. How do the pigs not get punished for doing such things? The pigs do not get punished because they constantly change the ten commandments so that they can have their way, which is not right.
The second way that power corrupts the pigs is that they take advantage of the animals’ lack of intelligence and education so that they can get their way. Throughout the story, the pigs constantly change the ten commandments so that they can break the rules without being noticed or punished for it. However, since the animals cannot read or write very well, they do not notice this happening. Another instance is Boxer's death. When Boxer was about to die, the pigs told the animals that they would take him to the hospital so that he could live and heal. However, they instead send him into the truck that will take him to the horse slaughterer, where he gets killed.
Since the animals cannot read things very well, they do not notice the logo on the truck that takes Boxer away. Benjamin the donkey is the only one who notices. He tells all the animals what is actually happening, but the pigs manage to deceive the animals once again by telling them that the truck used to be used to slaughter horses, but is now an ambulance. The last example is when the pigs tell the animals that the cows' milk would be mixed with apples for the pigs to eat. The pigs say that they are doing this to benefit their health, but they are actually eating it because it is better than all the food that the others eat.
The third way that power corrupts the pigs is that they start to become more and more human-like. A good example of this is how they changed and tweaked the ten commandments so that they could do things like sleep in beds, walk on their legs, wear clothes, and also interact with humans. The pigs say that they are allowed to sleep in beds without the blankets, as an excuse for sleeping in beds. The pigs say that they are talking to the humans for trading and business purposes as an excuse for interacting with the humans. Towards the end, the pigs get rid of all of the ten commandments and replace it with one commandment, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others,” to make up for the fact that they are now wearing clothes and also walking on two legs. The most significant example is the ending of Animal Farm. The book ends with the pigs holding a ceremony to celebrate with the humans and then changing the name of the farm back to “Manor Farm.” After that, the pigs and the humans play a game of cards together. As Clover, the old horse, looks at the pigs and the humans, the book states that she could not tell the difference between them. This signifies that the pigs have become so much like the humans that there is no difference between the two anymore.
After the pigs gain a lot of power, it starts to slowly corrupt them. They start to go against and break their own rules and commandments; they take advantage of the animal’s lack of intelligence and knowledge to manipulate them and use them like slaves; and finally, they turn into humans, acting like them and also changing the ten commandments so that they can get away with everything. Animal Farm does not have a very happy ending, as the pigs stay as the “rulers” of Animal Farm, continuing to use the animals and trick them. The main lesson of this story is that power can corrupt the people who have it. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend that you read it if you have not already.
Animal Farm by George Orwell. Signet Books, 1945. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!