In Animal Farm, George Orwell presents many aspects of human nature, both those positive and negative. Ironically, the human qualities and failures are shown using the behaviour of animals, living in the Animal Farm. The presentation is very clear, and every aspect of the animals’ actions and feelings is reflected in humans. I will therefore explore the different qualities and failures of humans, shown in the opening three chapters of the novel, and then I will show how does Orwell achieve this and how successful is he in the establishi8ng of human nature.
Firstly, I will show the qualities that humans have, based on the first three chapters of Animal Farm. From the first pages of the book, there is a very positive and admirable sense of solidarity in between the oppressed animals. The solidarity and feeling of brotherhood is seen in the first scene, just before Old Major’s speech. The order of the animals arriving at the secret meeting is clearly shown – all animals arriving at the scene, both those small (hens, ducklings) and those big (the horses). The brotherhood is very well shown as Clover (one of the horses) helps the ducklings, which “had just lost their mother”.
He “made a sort of wall around them” trying to protect them from the other animals coming in and to give them a place where to sit down. This is a very strong picture – where the ‘big’ helps the ‘small’. I believe that this is very typical of humans – they keep together in times of crisis. And this is what the situation was for the animals – they were exploited, abused and starved, uncared by their owner, Mr. Jones. Their solidarity in this small scene is also reflected in history of the human race, where they were able to work together and overthrow the tyranny and misery that they were enduring.
A very fine example of this is the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, which is what Animal Farm reflects. This is also very well shown by the fact that all animals show up at the meeting called up by Old Major. No matter if they are big, or small, smart, or stupid, they all come to the barn in order to hear what the old, wise, pig has to say. This shows a very positive feature of human nature – how people can override their differences, in order to achieve a common goal. In order to hear what Old Major has to say, they were all “quite ready to lose an hour’s sleep”.
This unity is very optimistic and good. People’s enthusiasm is also very positive, in my opinion. The fact that the animals sing their anthem five times over is a fine example of this. The enthusiasm is shared by all, as all sing the anthem – pigs, dogs and cows. This enthusiasm is motivation for the revolution that they wish for, as well as for the future labour that yields great harvest. The animals, although blind and manipulated (in the later events), are here presented as devoted and honest, working together, according to the principles of Animalism. Even the ducks and hens toiled to and fro all day in the sun”.
It shows that the animals recognise the need and goal of their work and believe in fulfilling their duty. Their sacrifice and hard work ends up being very visible, in the form of harvests that are greater than those under Mr. Jones’ rule. They overcome their problems by working hard, which is shown by Boxers help. This seems to be a very important positive remark about human nature, again. Honesty of the animals, reflecting humans, during times of need is also very important.
Not an animal on the farm had stolen so much as a mouthful”. Despite any criticism of the animals, their honesty is very much praised – their cooperation and devotion to the cause. The sense of brotherhood is a very positive virtue, and one that is often emphasised in Orwell’s novel. Even though, given the context of the whole book, the solidarity leads to further misery (the pigs exploiting the other animals), the way animals can cooperate is very praiseworthy. The noble harmony the animals live in is further shown by their willingness to get organised and work hard.
The seven commandments that the animals accept are an example of this. The animals accept these, as well as their orders as to work, and follow them. Their organisation is also a positive quality. However, Orwell does not simply praise humans, in his novel. Many of the humans’ weaknesses and failures are exposed. The pigs, as the self-claimed rulers, are very negatively presented. Firstly, manipulation and abuse of the ruling class is portrayed. The pigs rule the animals in a very un-fair way, forcing them to do all the labour, cheating them and stealing their harvest (milk and apples).
The animals are deceived into believing that everything that happens is for their own good. Napoleon, the leader, is said to be “fierce looking”, somehow imposing fear simply with his image. The animals are told that if it wasn’t for the pigs, Jones would come back – yet another threat. However, the criticism of inflicting fear on others, although visible in the opening three chapters of Animal Farm, is later emphasised by the introduction of Napoleon’s secret police – the dogs. Mr. Jones – the owner of the farm is also a very important symbol of human nature.
Firstly, his carelessness is shown. There are two aspects to this. Firstly, he does not seem to be aware of the animals relying on him. He is causing them pain and suffering by forgetting to feed them. Instead, he goes and gets drunk, falling asleep shortly. The animals are dependent on him and his behaviour. He seems to forget it, being self-indulgent. The critical portrayal is very clearly expressed in the text – “the animals were still unfed. At last, they could take it no more. ” The negligence of the animals, eventually leads to Mr.
Jones losing the farm – somewhat giving him what he deserved. Mr. Jones is also criticised for being too confident with what he’s got and taking it for granted. He believes that the animals and the farm are his property and he can treat them in any way he pleases, not caring about the consequences of such an attitude. This is an attitude very popular in our society and often very criticised. Orwell does not leave this without a comment either. The animals, however, are also criticised. They are too nai?? ve, needing others to guide them and believing them totally.
This is shown by the fact that they accept, with no discussion the leadership of the pigs, their laws and their regulations. No animal doubts (except for Benjamin, who abstains from commenting) the intentions of the pigs. All animals are blindly led and they don’t give doubt to how the pigs behave. They seem to unable to see what is good and what is bad. At first, the animals rely on Mr. Jones, saying that they cannot rebel, because “Mr. Jones feeds us. If he were gone, we should starve to death. ” With Mr. Jones gone, they turn to pigs, who are said to be smartest and most capable of leading the other animals.
They seem to be blind to the problems that arise, having full confidence in their new leaders. This is very visible in how they accept everything Squealer says. “So it was agreed that the milk and the windfall apples (… ) should be reserved for the pigs”. The naivety and blindness of the animals, representing humans, is very critically portrayed. The blind just follow, and follow into their own doom. Orwell shows us all these qualities and failures in very simple language. The picture that he paints is very clear and coherent, allowing everyone to easily find out what is happening.
The language used to describe the events and the characters is simple, therefore easily accessible. This allows the author to, successfully, portray the events in a clear and definite manner, not creating any unnecessary confusion. The narrative is also very easily accessible for the readers. It varies throughout the novel, once being narrated by an omniscient narrator (for example the beginning of chapter one, where the narrator knows the feelings of the animals towards Old Major, as well as sees events all around the farm).
This allows the readers to gain a very wide perspective on the events and animals. Narration is also done from the point of view of the animals and sometimes from the point of view of the pigs. Animals’ narration can be observed in chapter two, when Mr. Jones is defeated. “The animals could not believe in their good fortune” is said from an animal’s point of view, allowing the reader to associate himself with the animals and see the events through their eyes. Pig narration is also present, particularly when describing the policies and aims of animalism.
The pigs, with their superior knowledge” is a fine example of that. This allows us to see how the pigs seized and expanded their power. These different narratives allow us to see a contrast between what was going on, how the animals saw it, and how the pigs planned it. Therefore the reader is well informed, seeing all perspectives and being able to assess by himself. However, due to the way everything is written and due to the course of the events, the reader, in my opinion, ends up sharing the opinion that the author hoped to evoke.
Therefore, by presenting all these human qualities and failures, as well as showing them in a clear and varied style, I believe that Orwell is quite successful in establishing and portraying human nature. We have to remember that every event and behaviour in Animal Farm has its symbolic connotation and reflects some aspect of human nature, both positive and negative. Orwell is fair, as an author, being able to criticise and praise, and is successful in evoking the feelings and emotions that he, presumably, hoped for.