Animal Farm – Day 1

Hi Seniors,

I know many of you were on the field trip to the courthouse today, so here’s what we did in class.

In groups we read the first chapter of Animal Farm (here’s a link if you didn’t get a book yet).

Then we looked at the beginning of the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles. Communist Manifesto part 1

Below, compare/contrast three quotes from the Communist Manifesto with three corresponding parts of chapter one of the book. What’s similar? Are there differences? Explain ’em.

 

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10 thoughts on “Animal Farm – Day 1

  1. “Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman” (Marx)
    There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word–Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever. (Orwell)
    These two quotes are similar in that they highlight a difference of worlds. In animal farm there is a discrepancy between man and animal, in which Man is the domineering race over the animal’s existence. In Marx’s Communist manifesto the theme is redundant. Marks sequentially shows polarized class structures like lords and serfs from feudal Europe that show the same subordinated relationship between man and animal in Orwell’s animal farm. These quotes differ in that Marx is writing to cover a broad concept while in Animal Farm Major is very specific.
    “a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” (Marx)
    “That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet, that sooner or later justice will be done. Fix your eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives!” (Orwell)
    These quotes are similar in that they both describe the rebellion of the proletariat (which in Animal Farm are the animals). Marx elucidates a common historical archetype among classes. This historical archetype being how the proletariat rise up in rebellion against the bourgeoisie to balance the distribution of power. In Animal Farm we see this model mimicked. The proletariat or animals, have had enough of the oppression by the bourgeoisie which they plan to revolt against. Marx also makes the point that the outcome of this rebellion either ends in temporary victory, or unanimous ruin. In Animal farm Major also alludes to this point by stating how the success of the rebellion might not come immediately.
    “At this stage, the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country. At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies” (Marx)
    “All men are enemies. All animals are comrades” (Orwell)
    These quotes differ in that Marx states that inevitably the proletariat will become increasingly discordant, and counterintuitive, by fighting “the enemies of their enemies”. In Orwell’s animal farm, Major deviates explicitly the good from the bad, or enemy from friend. Major also procedes to elaborate on basic moral rules to ensure the unity of Animals. The animals are, on the surface, immune to the disunity Marx describes. Major also claims (in a different quote) that the animals will not fall victim to becoming thee vice they fight against, whereas Marx in the above quote suggests that they will eventually become their own enemy.

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    • Lucas, you have a few interesting ideas in here. First, when you say Marx makes his theme “redundant,” do you actually mean that Marx drives home his point so often that it eventually becomes meaningless? Semantics aside, where do you see Marx saying the proletariat will eventually become its own enemy?

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  2. In Communist Manifesto, the beginning introduced what seems to be the social classes of any applicable society. There is common theme of two major classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. In the first chapter of Animal Farm, it is clear that the animals are the slaves and humans are the freemen. I notice from the article, Marx and Engel talk about the upper class bring death upon itself by controlling the lower class. They state, “But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians.”
    In the first chapter, you can see that the animals who are controlled by the humans are raised in the farm. If all the animals put aside their own wars and join forces they are capable of rebellion and elimination of the bourgeoisie. Form the communist manifesto, “Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class.” This is only true if all the animals are joining together, or else each and every class separately will not be enough to stop the real enemy. George Orwell states, “There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word–Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.” The similarity is obvious, a bundle of sticks is stronger than one. To make a difference, the individual classes, in this case, the animals should not be fighting each other because that will only give men the power they want.
    The last part of the last chapter is after the animals come together to make noise and commotion, the bourgeoisie puts them back into their place. Nothing but just animals. This summarizes to the second line of communist manifesto, “a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” The difference here is that the rebellion was not successful, and neither a revolution reconstitution occurred nor a ruin of classes. In this setting, I think it would make less of an impact since they are animals. The animals in chapter one talks about their miserable, laborious, and short lives who are forced to work ever last atom of strength which represent the proletariats. There a subtle differences but the major similarity is the separation of two major categories, the “Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master(3) and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed.”

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  3. The communist manifesto was a political pamphlet that advocated for the eventual political system to become communist. As the authors Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels denote the political system of capitalism, they come to the conclusion that the upper class (located in the top of the social class pyramid) are just setting themselves up for their own downfall, that being the middle class revolution. I assume that in the capitalist society that they speak of, the CEO and business owners are the upper class representing the bourgeois. The proletariat are the middle class and below that represents the majority of the pyramid and work for the bourgeois. These are the two opposing classes in this document in which case one seems over confident in their power.
    In this capitalist society, it is evident that the proletariat are stripped of their basic rights. “The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family relations”(Communist Manifesto, Marx). It can be argued that the author is hinting a signs of rebellion where similar to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, when Old Major was speaking about removing moving man from the scene and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever, there is a common theme of retrieving the basic rights of an organism. In this case, both man and animal are trying to fight back from what was taken from them, taken, by a higher authority that should not be in that position. It is both apparent that the higher power do have the rights that their subordinate are missing.
    Marx concludes by saying that the bourgeoisie is not applicable in the uprising society, “And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society”. Likewise to the spirit of Old Major, he believes that although he’s lived a long and fruitful life, “Man” is unfit to be their ruler. As a matter of fact, they should not be “a” ruler at all. Old Major makes a great point on page 8 about how man is not capable of creating eggs, catching rabbits, and more importantly, consume without producing. Therefore, he is anything but fit to rule over animals when he is below them in the things that they are capable of.
    The bourgeois has been the long oppressor of the proletariat but what they prove in the end is that they are their own grave diggers, according to Marx and Engel. But what had been the long standing problem of this insufficient society is that the proletariat had been fighting wrong battles. In the 6th paragraph, Marx mentions, “At this stage, the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country. At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies”. Seeing as how the bourgeois had manipulated the proletariat, “Animal Farm” differs in this context because on page 10, Old Major warns the animals, “No argument must lead you astray”. As he warns the animals to remember their goal, he ensures that any use of manipulation will at least be seen as a means of guiding them off of their objective.

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  4. Both Communist Manifesto and chapter one of Animal Farm share a common theme of inequality and unfairness. They describe the relationship of people living in a social hierarchy and compare the lowest class to those at the tip of the pyramid. The higher the status, the more money and opportunities that is handed to you. When your status is lower, you need to put in more handwork in order to achieve your goals. “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other – Bourgeoisie and Proletariat”(Marx). The Bourgeoisie in this story seem to represent the farmer, Mr. Jones, while the Proletariat represents the animals. They are tired of being treated as lower status and having their freedom/voice taken away from them. They don’t want to be the only ones who have to work for what they think they should be given anymore. Mr. Jones, or man as a whole in this story, seems to be always getting his way in the end once he shoots the gun and the animals back in their place when they make too much noise.

    “The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family relations; modern industry labour…has stripped him of every trace of national character”(Marx). Everything is taken away from the proletarian group. On page eight of the book, it talks about how man is the enemy and is taking milk from cows and eggs from chickens. They question what is being given back to them in return which is barely anything.

    “The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever expanding union of the workers”(Marx). If they focus on everyone as a whole instead of the little conflicts, they can create a better life style. They are all determined to gain more justice and escape the cruelty. The animals are all gathering together in the barn and trying to unite as one to bring down those who are a restriction to them. This quote relates to chapter one because it is saying that the whole heart or main scene of the “battle” is not when they receive what they want; it is when more and more of the workers are joining in to create a strong group and realizing what they need to do to accomplish the ideal society. Towards the end of the meeting, they all sing a song “Beasts of England,” though none of them originally know the words or even heard of it previous.

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  5. The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to explain the changes in society through a conflict lens as well as calling for open revolution between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Animal Farm conveys the same idea of trying to overthrow and destroy one society to create another one that promises to hold a much more equal and fair system of how its citizens should live in the new society. One of the manifesto’s quote’s reveals the inequalities in history, “In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.” Animal Farm expresses the idea in a similar quote when the raven talks about how, “‘our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth. ‘” The two show how society is stratified between those who wield power for their own amusement and the ones who are powerless because the people in people take all the fruits of their labour away from the powerless.
    These two also blame the same type of people who oppress them by taking away their labour by selling the products and refusing to give the proletariats or the animals exactly what they think is fair trade to them. In Animal Farm, the raven talks about how their enemy is ” “Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin. You cows that I see before me, how many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during this last year? And what has happened to that milk which should have been breeding up sturdy calves? Every drop of it has gone down the throats of our enemies. And you hens, how many eggs have you laid in this last year, and how many of those eggs ever hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to market to bring in money for Jones and his men. And you, Clover, where are those four foals you bore, who should have been the support and pleasure of your old age? Each was sold at a year old–you will never see one of them again. In return for your four confinements and all your labour in the fields, what have you ever had except your bare rations and a stall?’ ” Marx and Engels also show that same ideal by saying, “And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law…Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.”
    The two also detail how their own oppressors have dug their own graves by creating this class of oppressed animals and/or people because of the fact that one day the oppressed will revolt against their own oppressors in order to create a life that is more egalitarian than before. The raven tells the animals that, ” ‘Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own. Almost overnight we could become rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet, that sooner or later justice will be done. Fix your eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives! And above all, pass on this message of mine to those who come after you, so that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious.’ ” The Communist Manifesto also has the same message by saying, “And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law…Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.”

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  6. – “..the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies” (Marx and Engels)
    – “Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It’s all lies!” (Orewll 10).
    These two quotes are very similar because Marx is saying that the rich are the enemies of the working class people yet in war the working class people are slaves to the rich and fight their enemies instead of their own. The working class people might have been tricked or forced to be blind to the situation if they are doing the dirty work for the people they hate the most. In Orwells quote, Major; the talking boar, is telling the other farm animals that Mr. Jones (the farm owner) is tricking them into thinking that they both have a common goal but it’s only beneficial to one side, not both.

    – “..the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law” (Marx and Engels).
    – “That is my message to you comrades: Rebellion!” (Orwell 8).
    The first quote by Marx is leading up to the second quote by Orwell. Marx is explaining how their government are not good leaders and Orwell propses a solution to that problem.

    – “..that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him. Even when you have conquered him, do not adopt his vices” (Orwell 11).
    In this book the goal of the animals is not to flip the triangle of society unlike the communist manifesto. The animals only want what the humans have the abilty to only consume not produce. In the maifesto I get the vibe that they want the bourgeoisie to struggle through what the workinng class has had to go through. I think they want revenge in a way; to be higher while in the book the animals just want to be equal.

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  7. First off i would like to say that the animal story is very interesting as a lens to look at society, these animals are getting screwed over, working, giving their kids up as food, then being slaughtered for food themselves. but when you go back into a normal lens, this is necessary. Humans must eat, we must have an abundance of food to pick from, and whether your rich or poor, that will still apply. what if we applied that to our society? someone has to be homeless, someone has to work at McDonald’s, the poor are like the animals, it sucks, but its simply necessary.
    Anyways, something i found very interesting was “man is the only creature that consumes without producing.” because through their eyes it appears to be that, when in fact they build the fences that defend them from predators, give them partners to breed. could that be the case for the rich? or do they really have no role in society but to rule us? “and even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their natural span” To me, this very much exists in our society, all these things like alcohol, gangs, accidents, it limits people from living, but specifically what is concerning is war, old, rich men decide who our enemies are, then ask the young to volunteer to die for the cause. When the rich wage war its the poor who die. It can also be on an intellectual level, all this media, entertainment and such dims us down, we never reach our potential because of all the distractions modern day society leaves us with, and it leaves us feeling content.
    “for instance, he would say that god had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner have had no tail and no flies.” this could represent how the two other classes ask for too much, or it could show the dark humor being stuck at the bottom can provide you.

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  8. “we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank.”(Marx) from the manifesto, this quote is self explanatory. In society there are many ways to have order and a way that we are so accustom to have is social ranking. Everyone has a certain rank and is different and divided. This is a way where there is a verity of classes and social ranks to tell about one another.

    “First came three dogs, bluebell, Jessie and pincher, and then pigs who settled down in the straw… The hens perched themselves on the window-sills, the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters…” (Orwell)
    As you can tell about this quote there are different animals and they have their own place in the “barn”

    Both quotes can be connected by stating that everyone is divided by class(species) and has their place to be in the barn which can be seen as in society. “Everyone has a place in society.”

    The menifesto and animal farm book are not so different at all, they both show the unfairness that certain systems show.

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  9. 1.) “a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”

    Comparing this to page 9 of Animal Farm where Old Major begins his ideals on what actions need to be taken against the Farmers, or more broadly Humans. Old Major says “‘Only get rid of Man, and the produce of out labour would be our own’.” He is falling under this idea that animals could only be happy when humans are gone from the face of the earth which connects to what the Communist Manifesto starts off with. There is either an organized reconstruction on how things are or there is violence.

    2.)”But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians.”

    Page 8 Old major connects with the animals by describing the things they have given up to the human, or to man. Where the cows give thousands of gallons of milk to the farmer year after year, or how the hens give up their eggs for the consumption of man. This ties into this quote because it talks about how the majority is being oppressed and commanded by the minority. The bourgeoisie are the minority similar to what humans are, and the proletarians are the majority similar to how the animals are.

    3)”And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law…Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.”

    This quote also connects with a part on page 8 which is when Old Major starts on ranting about humans. Specifically calls out the things people can not do. ‘”He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits'”, he being man. Connecting it back to the quote from the Communist Manifesto we see that people are realizing the bourgeoisie have little to offer in order for them to actual play a role in society.

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