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Animal Farm | Study Guide

George Orwell

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Animal Farm | Quotes


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 and animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.

Old Major, Chapter 1

At the start of his speech, Old Major describes the lives the animals of England, and indeed the world, face. Their existence is bleak and devoid of joy. This is the life that he dreams the animals will escape. While this view appears at the beginning of the novel, it remains an equally true description of the animals' lives at the end.


Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. And remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him.

Old Major, Chapter 1

In the animals' quest to overcome human rule, Old Major issues a caution against becoming friendly with humans or, worse, becoming like them. Like many of his other statements, this is a caution the pigs will not heed; they become more and more like the humans as they gain more power over the farm.


Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal.

Old Major, Chapter 1

This statement distills Old Major's philosophy to its purest essence. Animals must think of themselves as brothers and sisters and relate to one another in unity and equality if the revolution is to succeed.


Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey.

Benjamin, Chapter 3

Benjamin explains his reluctance to take an active role in the rebellion or anything else because, in his opinion, very little truly changes in the long term.


Four legs good, two legs bad.

Snowball, Chapter 3

Snowball distills the essence of Animalism and the Seven Commandments into this single, simplistic statement to enable the animals to take in these complex ideas more easily. Eventually the slogan is chanted so frequently that it loses all meaning.


I have no wish to take life, not even human life.

Boxer, Chapter 4

When Boxer believes he has accidentally killed a farm hand during battle, he is deeply sorry, revealing his gentle and kind nature. Even though he believes humans are the enemy, and even accepts that violence may be necessary to defend the farm, he draws the line at killing. Squealer tells the animals that Napoleon would like to let them make their own decisions but sometimes they make wrong decisions.


Comrades ... do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!

Napoleon, Chapter 6

After the windmill collapses, Napoleon blames the exiled Snowball for the disaster. This strategy unites the animals against a common enemy and deflects scrutiny from the pigs' own flawed plans and leadership.


I do not understand it. I would not have believed that such things could happen on our farm. It must be due to some fault in ourselves. The solution, as I see it, is to work harder.

Boxer, Chapter 7

After Napoleon carries out public executions of animals deemed traitors to the farm, Boxer attempts to understand what has happened. It is impossible for him to make sense of how far the farm has strayed from the original ideals of the rebellion. Boxer is so devoted to his leaders and the ideals he believes they represent that he is willing to blame himself for these events, even though his work ethic has nothing to do with the executions. This sentiment echoes his own interior motto from Chapter 5: I will work harder.


If you have your lower animals to contend with ... we have our lower classes!

Mr. Pilkington, Chapter 10

When Pilkington makes this joke at the dinner party with the pigs, it becomes obvious that the farm is a representation of how the upper classes exploit the lower classes in human society, and it underlines Orwell's feeling that inequality is rampant in every type of political and economic system.


The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Narrator, Chapter 10

The chilling final line of the novel shows the animals realizing that the pigs have become so much like the humans they were trying to defeat that there is no difference between them anymore. The rebellion has changed nothing. Furthermore, Orwell shows humans as gluttonous pigs, no better than the worst of the animals. It is a bleak view of humanity.

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