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Animal Farm: Roles of Religion

The role religion plays in the novel Animal Farm and the effects

on 5 June 2015

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Transcript of Animal Farm: Roles of Religion

Religion has multiple meanings. It can mean believing in and worshiping a higher power(s). Religion can also be a set of beliefs that are learned and practiced. In Animal Farm, religion and beliefs are expressed and impact the characters' actions and thoughts.
Animal Farm: Role of Religion
The Role of Religion
Moral Basis for Society
Principles of Animalism
An important base of belief for the animals is the 7 commandments.
No Other Option
Though the animals steadily saw changes occur in their commandments they could not argue because the animals did not want the it to go back to the way it was, when the humans ruled
Someone to Believe In...
"'Ah, that is different!' said Boxer. 'If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right(Orwell 82)."
"Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word- Man. Man is the only real enemy we have....Man is the only creature that consumes without producing (Orwell 7-8)."
-the strong belief in equality (Orwell ends the story with doubt in the animals' minds.)
"Once again the animals were conscious of a vague uneasiness. Never to have any dealings with human beings, never to engage in trade, never to make use of money had not these been among the earliest resolutions...? (Orwell 63)"
-A common enemy and fear: Snowball

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2.Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3.No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal
7. All animals are equal."(Orwell 11)
These commandments were the first beliefs that the animals established once they abolished the humans.
"After the hoisting of the flag all the animals trooped into the big barn for a general assembly which was known as the Meeting." (Orwell 14)
"The Meeting always ended with the singing of Beasts of England ..."(Orwell 15)
"Once again the argument was unanswerable. Certainly the animals did not want Jones back; if the holding of debates on Sunday morning was liable to bring him back, then the debates must stop. Boxer, who had now had time to think things over, voiced the general feeling by saying: 'If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right."(Orwell 27)
Moses and Sugar Candy Mountain
"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 (Orwell 85)."
"...The very instant that our usefulness comes to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty...The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.... Pass on this message of mine to those who come after you, so that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious (Orwell 9)."
"This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half (Orwell 59)."
"Squealer made excellent speeches on the joy of service and the dignity of labour, but the other animals found more inspiration in Boxer's strength and his never-failing cry of 'I will work harder!' (Orwell 74)"
"In the middle of the summer Moses the raven suddenly reappeared on the farm, after an absence of several years. He was quite unchanged, still did no work, and talking in the same strain as ever about Sugarcandy Mountain... Many of the animals believed him. Their lives now, they reasoned, were hungry and laborious; was it not right and just that a better world should exist somewhere else? (Orwell 117-118)."
"The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put about by Moses, the tame raven....The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work, but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place (Orwell 17-18)."
"He said that Comrade Napoleon had learned with the very deepest distress of this misfortune to one of the most loyal workers on the farm, and was already making arrangements to send Boxer to be treated in the hospital at Willingdon (Orwell 120)."
"It was always the pigs who put forward the resolutions. The other animals understood how to vote, but could never think of any on their own (Orwell 31)."
1) Why is religion a threat to a communist government? What is inherently flawed about a communist government and how does religion take advantage of this?
2) Religion gives individuals a set of moral beliefs and beliefs about life, does the 7 commandments function in a similar way?
3) In Animal Farm, Moses was the only sign of a labeled religion, did the animals have their own personal religion?
4) Are there any real life examples you can think of in which religion posed a threat to higher authority?
5) If Moses the Raven had stayed throughout the book, how might have this changed the story?
6) To what extent did the animals truly believe in the principles of Animalism? Or was their obedience out of hatred for Jones?
"Old Benjamin, the donkey, seemed quite unchanged since the Rebellion. He did his work in the same slow obstinate way as he had done it in Jones's time, never shirking and never volunteering for extra work either. About the Rebellion and its results he would express no opinion. When asked whether he was not happier now that Jones was gone, he would say only 'Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey' (Orwell 30)."
-represents the Jewish Community
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