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Headscratchers: Animal Farm
  • What was the point of Molly's character? My English teacher insisted that Molly represents the middle-class skilled laborer. I don't agree with that, but that's not why I don't like Molly. I love the book not for its satire, but for its story. So, Molly is a useless character. She doesn't bring anything to the story and when she left, she is completely forgotten. I wanted to say "almost forgotten" but only once was her name mentioned, and it looked like only the story, not any of the characters, remembered. She could easily be taken out of the story and the only difference that would make is make Snowball the first resident to leave Animal Farm.
    • It makes much more sense when you apply the Russian Revolution allegory (I'm not entirely sure how you enjoy the story without it, actually). The entire point of Molly's character is that she is useless — she represents the White Russians, the remnants of the aristocracy, too decadent to do anything but mourn for past glories. I have never heard the 'middle-class skilled labourer' explanation, and it seems to break down entirely on the fact that Molly doesn't have any skills. Her one job was to look cute while pulling a light cart.
    • I figured, story-wise, Molly was there as just another way to point out the slow deterioration of Animal Farm. She managed to "escape," one might say, unscathed. The animals' response? To blot any mention of her out from their lives. She was forgotten on purpose, so as to eliminate any options for the animals to think they might find happiness or hope (or sugar cubes) by being disloyal to Animal Farm. The animals didn't want to admit that they might have been wrong in following their dreams to run the farm themselves. (Nothing but my own interpretation, of course.)
    • I always thought Molly represented both the upper class and the Provisional Government who shared power with the Bolsheviks in 1917, until Lenin's takeover in October. I'm probably stretching it a little far, but the masses thought the Provisional Government (made up of richer, usually noble men) didn't do anything useful to help out Russia during the war or rebuilding. The leader of the PG, Alexander Kerensky left Russia after the Bolshevik takeover but snuck back in for a few months a little later. I thought that was why the animals mention Molly going to another farm, before choosing to forget her.
    • According to some, Molly represents the people who only care about what benefits them. When the life on the Farm wasn't working for her, she ran off to live someplace where she would be pampered and given everything she needed without really having to work much.
    • I thought it was Boxer who represented the middle-class laborers.
      • Boxer represents the hardworking, loyal proletarians. Factory workers were not middle class in Russia in the early 20th century.
    • Mollie represents capitalism — she was content to work (pulling a cart) and get paid in exchange for it (in this case, in hair ribbons and sugar). Just like how in {{1984}}, the government barely provides its people with the bare necessities for survival while only place to get real food, luxuries like chocolate, and commodities like razor blades was on the black market, under Animal Farm's new regime, the citizens receive only the bare minimum to surive, but no luxuries are available to the workers, only to the elite. Mollie leaves that for a world where she can earn luxury items by working for herself (she's working, pulling a carriage, the last time we see her). Laugh out loud, next theory...
  • Completely unlike Molly, Snowball is one of the most important characters in the story. So my question is: where is he now? Is he still alive at the end? Did he get assassinated by Napoleon's followers, like Trotsky was by Stalin's? Did he just forget about Animal Farm while the rest of the animals were constantly on the lookout for Snowball so they can most likely murder him? Did he go to a different farm and try to start another resolution? Why are we never shown what happened to Snowball? The point of view is omniscient. The narrator knows what happens in and around Animal Farm, but gives zero focus on the whereabouts of Snowball. The narrator could have at least hinted what happened to Snowball. But, like the contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, it is never known.
    • I think the point was that Snowball was eventually erased from history. Think of it as though you were reading about Oceania, and that Snowball was erased, like many are, from history (now back on Animal Farm) by Squealer. At first he was turned into an enemy, then, after long, completely forgotten. The book, talking from a standpoint implying that what Squealer and Napoleon are both saying is true, says that at first he was just leading them in a bad direction, then that he was a secret agent of Jones' then he was on Jones' side the entire time, then finally he was forgotten altogether.
    • He disappears because the book is not about Snowball, or any individual character. It is about animal farm and the society the animals tried to create. He doesn't interact with the farm after he leaves, so he becomes irrelevant. I guess if you really want to know what happened to him, your best guess is to extrapolate directly from the analogy, in which case he was probably found and killed eventually just like the real Trotsky was.
    • The narrator doesn't know everything that happens on the farm, he just knows what the common animals (excluding the pigs) know.
    • If it helps, Trotsky spent the remainder of his life moving around the world before settling in Mexico (he even lived with Frida Kahlo for a while) and writing critiques of Stalin and the system that was in Russia, the system he'd helped set up. Perhaps Snowball was on the farm Napoleon said he'd gone to, telling all the animals not to rebel as he knew what would happen.
    • He becomes the Animal Farm equivalent of Goldstein in 1984.
  • I didn't get the ending. Did the pigs literally turn into humans, or could the animals not tell the difference because of their behavior?
    • The animals couldn't tell, I'm pretty sure. The point is that the pigs are so like the humans (talking, walking on 2 feet) that they really might as well be. There's nothing to distinguish them from the humans. That's just what I got from the book.
    • It was more like this: at the beginning of the book, the animals were firmly resolved to keep their own culture and no longer associate with the culture of humans—doing things by themselves. Gradually, the pigs start to associate with the humans, sleep in beds, dress in clothes, walk on their hind legs—pretty much going against everything that they'd dictated that separated them from humans. And when they went against those laws, they had "become" humans—not in the literal sense. They were no longer "animals." They'd become everything that they originally rose up and rebelled against.
      • The 1999 film has Jessie the dog watching the card party through hazy glass, which blurs the faces of both men and pigs; that and their loud belches and comments leads her to find little difference between them.
    • Arguably, the idea is that it's not important; it could be taken as a criticism of the endless hair-splitting that the contemporary far-left did about whether Russia constituted "state capitalism" or a "degenerated worker's state", whether the Party constituted a "class" or a "caste", and so on and so forth. Orwell may be making the assertion that the exact nature of the new ruling class was secondary to the fact that they had become a ruling class, and technical pedantry detracted from the fact that they were, to the average Soviet citizen, effectively identical to the aristocrats and bourgeoisie they had replaced. He was consistently critical of ivory tower socialists, after all, and believed very strongly that socialism was a fundamentally working class movement, and so may have been suggesting that the experience that the relationship between the Soviet ruling and subservient classes created was more important than the exact nature of the relationship, and that, as it happened, the experience was essentially identical to that found before the revolution.
    • Hmm, basically imagine it as your average anthro-animal. Just a pig walking like a human wearing human clothes and talking to humans. Rude, nasty, obese humans.
    • Maybe the author's idea was that the pigs remained pigs on hind legs. But the _humans_, after getting quite drunk, resembled pigs on hind legs, too. (On top of that, drunk pigs on hind legs might resemble humans too in an interesting reversal)
    • I thought the point of that scene was that the pigs and the humans were now pretty much the same, only some of them were a lot shorter and fatter with different faces. The pigs were still pigs (think of Porky Pig without the stuttering and a hell of a lot of arrogance), but internally, their hearts changed so much that as far as the animals could see, the pigs had basically become the humans in all but appearance.
  • What does Benjamin the donkey represent?
    • The explanation I heard in high school was that Benjamin represents the Jews: a minority that has grown too shrewd and introverted from previous abuses to fall for deals that seem too good to be true. In a more general sense, he represents the folk who were intelligent enough to anticipate the difficulties of Communism but were too cynical to stretch their necks to protest.
    • He could represent those who saw what the revolution was and would become, that is, someone who had lived before one before. Hence why he never falls for what is promised. In previous years, Tsar Alexander III (I think...) promised the serfs freedom and even built a few universities around the place. However, the peasantry continued to be ignored, marginalised and starved to death. Benjamin could represent these elders of Russia, hence both his affection to Boxer and disbelief in the new Animal Farm.
    • Other theories include that he represents the intelligent but self-interested intellectuals: those clever enough to see what Animal Farm is and what it will become but not brave enough to risk their necks to speak out. In general, he represents all those who are cynical yet inactive: the non-Communist intellectuals, in other words.
  • I know you're tired of this question, but who does Moses represent? I have a few hunches, but I'd like other opinions.
    • The church. First, he was kicked out and demonised (the so called "militant atheist" stage of soviet communism), then Napoleon welcomes him back with open arms to keep the animals morally attached to his tyranny (Stalin eventually rewarded the orthodox churches, particularly the Georgian one, and built a faux-religious cult around his personality. Even today, many russian christians think of Stalin as a pious man aligned with God's command)
    • Alternatively, he represents the Grim Reaper. Every time he has an appearance, a character dies soon after.
  • Why was the live-action version of the movie revolving around Jessie, the dog? Originally, she died on early in the book, but here, she's alive. To add onto that, why was she a part of the scene where Boxer was taken away? Benjamin was a part of that because he was close to Boxer and he was desperate to save him.
    • Jessie isn't confirmed dead till the last chapter; "Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher were dead". She sort of bows out of significance after the pups are born, but it's unclear when she dies. It's feasible that she'd be around a decent time. Watching her kids being turned into loyal enforcers. Also waiters and guards. The dogs are also intelligent: they all learn to read, though as the book puts it "They weren't interested in reading anything but the Seven Commandments". Lots of potential in terms of drama. However, all this in itself leads to my question...
  • Where'd all the dogs come from? We start with nine pups from the three dogs already present. Later, dogs keep turning up everywhere as guards, killers and enforcers. The farm is fairly large(Enough that it has it's own quarry). The pigs(Or at least Squealer) are almost always attended by them, six guard Napoleon when he travels, he's served meals by them, four end up guarding his bed. They're not being bought except possibly in the last chapter, they're not being born. So where?
Angels and DemonsHeadscratchers/LiteratureAnimorphs

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