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Secondary Character Analysis of Animal Farm

Squealer

Squealer is introduced as a “small fat pig… with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements, and a shrill voice.” He is very skilful at speaking persuasively and so is used by the pigs to communicate their decisions to the other animals. It is said of him that he “could turn black into white” with his persuasive skills.

He uses propaganda (misleading information) to hide the pigs’ corruption. For example, he justifies Napoleon’s expulsion of Snowball by saying that Snowball was a spy for Mr Jones. He also changes the wording of the Seven Commandments so that the pigs can break the original rules of Animalism. Sometimes, he has the attack dogs accompany him as he delivers his messages. This ensures that none of the animals will dare to question his propaganda.

Mr Jones

Mr Jones is a farmer who rules Manor Farm before the animals take over. He is often shown to be drunk and runs the farm recklessly. This is shown in the novel’s first sentence when he is “too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes.” It is also his drunkenness that makes him forget to feed the cows, which escalates to the battle, resulting in him losing the farm.

He is full of self-pity about losing the farm, complaining bitterly about it in the pub. He tries to reclaim it with a violent attack but fails again. After this, Napoleon and Squealer use the prospect of Mr Jones returning as a fear tactic to make the other animals follow their orders.

Benjamin

Benjamin is a donkey who is pessimistic and cynical. He is described as “the oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered.” He doesn’t get excited about the rebellion or the windmill, as he doesn’t believe that life will ever get easier for the animals. Later, although he realises the corruption of the pigs, he doesn’t protest. He believes that the lives of the animals would be hard and miserable, regardless of who was in charge.

He is “devoted to Boxer” and had planned to spend his retirement with him. This makes it even more heartbreaking when it is he who reads the words “Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler” on the side of the van that takes Boxer away. After this, he is described as being “more morose and taciturn than ever.”

Clover

A kind-hearted, motherly horse who cares for the other animals. She is very supportive of Animalism and the commandments, although the narrator later says it is “doubtful” that she “understood very much of it.” Unlike Benjamin, she is unable to see the growing corruption of the pigs. She believes the propaganda that Squealer spreads.

A close friend of Boxer’s, she is devastated when he is taken away to the glue factory. She screams for him to leave the van, but he is unable to kick his way out. It is through her disbelieving eyes that we see the pigs walking on two legs. It is also her “old dim eyes” that watch as the pigs and humans become undistinguishable at the end of the novel.

Mollie

Mollie is a vain white mare who does not show enthusiasm for the revolution. She was happier under Mr Jones’s rule when she would be given sugar and could wear pretty ribbons in her mane. It is rumoured that she has been patted by a human farmer, which is strictly against the rules. Shortly after this, she leaves to work for humans on a different farm.

She could represent the middle-class Russians who weren’t keen on sharing their wealth and left the country after the revolution.

Mr Frederick and Mr Pilkington

Mr Frederick and Mr Pilkington, rivals of Mr Jones, take some glee from his loss of Manor Farm. Both of them are shown “secretly wondering whether he could somehow turn Jones’ misfortune to his own advantage.” But they also fear that the same could happen with their animals.

They represent outside influences who are enemies and collaborators of the animals at different times:

  • Mr Frederick does a trade deal with Napoleon, but their relationship turns sour when he pays with fake money. Mr Frederick then attempts to invade the farm but is unsuccessful. He could represent Hitler and Nazi Germany.
  • Mr Pilkinton is deemed an enemy, but then works with Napoleon at the end, celebrating his successes with him. He could represent the ruling classes in capitalist states such as Britain. This is emphasised when he says to Napoleon, “If you have your lower animals to contend with…we have our lower classes!” Here Orwell is showing how capitalism and communism both become corrupted by those in power.