Monday, August 3, 2015
Spoilers! Animal Farm Ch. 8
No animal shall kill another animal *without cause*, the commandment now reads.
The windmill is completed, but Napoleon's trade deal with a neighboring farm goes bad--they were tricked and Farmer Frederick paid with forged money! No sooner than the animals learn this than they are under attack by Frederick and a group of men. The men blow up the windmill and kill several animals before they are finally overwhelmed and run out. Everyone is dismayed but the pigs initiate celebrations and extra rations for all for their victory in the Battle of the Windmill, and their sorrows are soon forgotten.
After a night of drinking and hangovers, Napoleon decides the farm should grow barley and have a distillery where they had formerly set aside pastures for the elderly to graze. Oh, and that particular commandment forbidding booze has been secretly amended too: No animal shall drink alcohol *to excess*.
This chapter clustered many events together and seemed to run through them as though time and word count was of the essence. Of course, this is chapter 8 of 10, so things will have to wrap up quickly over the next two chapters. I'm concerned this will lead to an abrupt or pat ending.
Anyhow, Clover (the mare) is something of the conscience. She's the most suspicious about the commandments being broken, but she can't read, and when she asks another animal to, they find the altered version and have to concede they misremembered.
Boxer is more questioning but only out of ignorance. "If Napoleon says so, then it's so" is all he needs as reassurance.
In one light, I read the successive pig leaders as one regime getting worse. But the differences between them are there and distinct. Old Major was illustrated as wise and benevolent, prophetic. Snowball was ambitious, charismatic, shrewd. Napoleon is reclusive and cruel.
Squealer is Napoleon's main mouthpiece, and in an aside, turns out to be altering the commandments under cover of night, though the other animals don't understand that.
Then there's the old donkey Benjamin, who seems to know what's up but isn't the least bit inclined to say or do anything about it yet, except to nod knowingly at the corruption around him. He wasn't enthusiastic about the rebellion in the beginning either. You know. Like how some old folk be sometimes. Doubtful he'll be the one to expose the corruption. Doubtful there'll be any exposé, but we'll see. My money is on Animal Farm collapsing under its own unsustainable conditions. Humans may not reclaim it, but I'm not too sure the animals will be able to reorganize.
Image Credit: "penguin.animal.farm.shepard.fairey", available under by-nc-as 2.0