Animal Farm/Headscratchers

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  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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)