Places: Animal Farm

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1945

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Satire

Time of work: Mid-twentieth century

Places DiscussedManor Farm

Manor Animal FarmFarm. English farm at which the entire novel is set. When the novel opens, it is called Manor Farm and is run by a farmer named Jones. These names indicate that this farm stands for any farm, or any place, and that the entire novel should be read as an allegory. However, since Orwell wrote in the introduction to the Ukrainian edition that he wanted to expose the Soviet myth, Animal Farm also stands for the Soviet Union in particular. When the animals take over the farm, they rename it Animal Farm; when the pigs revert to the name Manor Farm in the final pages of the book, the complete failure of the animals’ revolution is indicated. No animal leaves the farm unless it is a traitor (Molly), declared an enemy of the state (Snowball), or sold to the enemy to be killed (Boxer). When they do leave, the animals rewrite history. Animal Farm is like the Soviet Union in having its own official history that serves the purposes of its rulers.

Orwell’s love of animals and his practice of raising his own vegetables and animals are clear in his loving description of the farm; his socialist politics come through in his sympathies with the animals as real workers and in his descriptions of the barn.

Farmhouse

Farmhouse. House in which Jones originally lived. Like the farm, the farmhouse is perfectly ordinary, until the animals drive the humans from what the humans see as their rightful place. The farmhouse symbolizes the seat of government; no real work is done there. When the pigs move into the farmhouse, it is a sign that the revolution will fail. The novel closes with the other animals, the workers, watching through the windows of the farmhouse as the pigs meet with Mr. Pilkington to toast the renaming of Animal Farm as Manor Farm. This symbolizes the tendency of rulers to ignore the abuses suffered by the common people in all countries, British socialism’s betrayal of the worker in particular, and how the animals/workers are always excluded from gatherings of their leaders.

Barn

Barn. Originally an ordinary barn used for work, shelter, and storage. Under the rule of the animals, the barn becomes a meeting place, a place to resolve disputes, and the place where all legitimate political decisions are made. The barn is where all the real work is done, and it is where the revolution is born. The laws of Animal Farm are painted on the side of the barn.

Foxwood

Foxwood. One of farms bordering Manor Farm. Foxwood is described as large and neglected, with run-down hedges. It represents England, with its substandard military and ill-kept borders. Its clumsy but easygoing owner Mr. Pilkington symbolizes British politicians.

Pinchfield

Pinchfield. Another of the neighboring farms. Pinchfield is described as smaller and better kept than Foxwood. It symbolizes Germany; its owner, Mr. Frederick, stands for Hitler. Pinchfield and Foxwood put pressure on the animals’ revolution, are threatened by it, and threaten it in turn. Jones asks for help after the animals’ rebellion, and the farmers reject his plea, as the nations of Europe rejected the pleas from the displaced czars. The business deals between farms symbolize the political deals in which the Soviet Communists sold out their own people.

Sugarcandy Mountain

Sugarcandy Mountain. Imaginary utopia in the preachings of Moses, the raven. Sugarcandy Mountain is animal heaven. Moses is useful to Jones because he preaches a dream beyond this life and keeps the animals pacified, but Moses leaves when the animals actually try to establish a utopia on earth. At the end of the book, he is not only back, but actively supported by the pigs. This indicates that the idea of heaven is threatening to real revolutionaries, but that tyrants find it useful for their subjects to have another realm about which to dream.

BibliographyGardner, Averil. George Orwell. Boston: Twayne, 1987. Gives information on Orwell at the time of writing Animal Farm and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of meaning and symbols as they apply to Russian history. Includes some criticism that Animal Farm received at its publication.Hammond, J. R. A George Orwell Companion. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982. Features pictures of Orwell spanning his career and gives an extended reference to characters and events of Animal Farm as they compare to historical Russia. Considers the evolution of Orwellian philosophy through his novels and essays.Hollis, Christopher. A Study of George Orwell: The Man and His Works, 1956.Hunter, Lynette. George Orwell: The Search for a Voice, 1984.Kalechofsky, Roberta. George Orwell. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1973. Has an extended section on Animal Farm about the corruption of the seven commandments of animalism and compares the themes of Animal Farm as similar to those of Nineteen Eighty-Four.Lee, Robert A. Orwell’s Fiction, 1969.Meyers, Jeffrey. A Reader’s Guide to George Orwell. Totowa, N.J.: Littlefield, Adams, 1977. Gives a detailed account of the political allegory of Animal Farm, specifically with Russian history.Norris, Christopher, ed. Inside the Myth: Orwell, Views from the Left, 1984.Williams, Raymond. George Orwell. New York: Viking Press, 1971. Includes several quotes from Orwell and the criticism he received for Animal Farm. Also explains the difficulties Orwell went through in trying to find a publisher.
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