In this study guide we will help you analyse the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell. You can also find detailed summaries of both the entire novel and its individual chapters, as well as inspiration for interpreting the text and putting it into perspective.
This study guide is based on the Penguin Books edition of the novel from 2008.
Excerpt from the study guide:
Imagery is used quite often in the text, especially when describing particularly dramatic or gruesome scenarios. For example, Napoleon's bloody round of executions is described in horrific detail: “They were all slain on the spot. [...] ... there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon’s feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood…” (p. 57).
Imagery is also used in a more positive way, however, for example when the image of the new England controlled by animals is presented in the story. The song “Beasts of England” is filled with this sort of positive imagery related to the future paradise:
Bright will shine the fields of England,
Purer shall its waters be,
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free. (p. 8)
An interesting contrast between positive and negative imagery is seen as we get a view of Clover’s thoughts just after the violent executions, where she mentally compares the society she used to dream about to the dark reality she is living in:
If she herself had had any picture of the future, it had been of a society of animals set free from hunger and the whip, all equal, each working according to his capacity, the strong protecting the weak… [...] Instead - she did not know why - they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes. (p. 58)
The story also contains a lot of sound-related imagery. For example, a lot of attention is paid to the overwhelming noise produced when the flock of sheep chant together, drowning out all other sounds and all attempts at protests: “...all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of- ‘Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better!’ It went on for five minutes without stopping.” (p. 89).