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Animal Farm (book)

Last modified: 2014-02-13 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: animal farm | book | novel | manor farm |
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Animal Farm

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Timeline

First year:
21 June
Rebellion at "Manor Farm"
22 June
The farm is renamed "Animal Farm"
Summer
A green flag with a white horn and hoof is introduced (designed by Snowball)
12 october
The battle of the Cowshed
Third year:
Autumn
The Battle of the Windmill: Afterwards a decoration called: The Order of the Green Banner is created by Napoleon.
Fourth year:
Winter
Spontaneous Demonstrations (maybe earlier)
April
Animal Farm is declared a republic
Eight year:
Early Summer
  • The address "Comrade" is dropped;
  • A new plain green flag is flown;
  • The farm is renamed "Manor Farm".

Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 5 June 2002

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Origin and symbolism

Snowball, one of the porcine leaders of the revolution,

had found in the harness-room an old green tablecloth of Mrs Jones’s and had painted on it a hoof and a horn in white. This was run up the flagstaff in the farmhouse garden every Sunday morning. The flag was green, Snowball explained, to represent the green fields of England, while the horn and the hoof signified the future Republic of the Animals which would arise when the human race had finally been overthrown.
Stuart A. Notholt, 23 December 1998

The first flag was the flag of Animal Farm, and was apparently used by the republic as well.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 5 June 2002

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Conjectural design with conjoined symbols

Animal Farm flag variant
image by Marc Pasquin, 14 June 2005

Considering that the story is largely a criticism of soviet-style communism, it occured to me that a soviet-style design might be what George Orwell had in mind for the flag.
Marc Pasquin, 14 June 2005

I prefer this rendition, it’s probably closest to what the author intended, even if the “horn and hoof” is a bit too “fancy” for something a pig is supposed to have painted (as per the novel)…
David Kendall, 14-16 June 2005

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Square version with large emblem

Yet another version of the flag of the Animal Republic is in use in the English Wikipedia and shows the same design as above enlarged and centered on a squarish green flag.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 5 October 2009

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Published design with separated symbols

Animal Farm flag variant
image by Ole Andersen, David Kendall and Eugene Ipavec, 16 June 2005

I have a copy of Animal Farm in my library (it’s one of my favourite books), the copy I have (a Penguin Books paperback, if that helps with the particular edition) that has a copy of the flag on the cover. Keep in mind however, that just because this flag appeared on the cover of this particular edition of the book, doesn’t mean that this is the “official” interpretation of how the flag should look.
David Kendall, 14-16 June 2005

Since it has been published and sold to the thousands, the design on the cover of the Penguin’s book has a fictional “existence” of its own, though it would be interesting to know the author’s ideas.
António Martins 16 June 2005

While Marc’s drawing was probably more accurate (as Orwell was indeed parodying the old Soviet political system), since a drawing was not provided in the original text, one can only guess.
David Kendall, 14-16 June 2005

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Back to Manor Farm

Animal Farm flag variant
image by António Martins, 6 September 2011

The hoof and horn eventually disappeared from the flag, as did much of the ceremonial surrounding its use.
Stuart A. Notholt, 23 December 1998

The flag change is described as, paraphrazing the words of the leader of the republic:

His visitors might have observed, too, the green flag which flew from the masthead. If so, they would perhaps have noted that the white hoof and horn with which it had previously been marked had now been removed. It would be a plain green flag from now onwards.

Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 5 June 2002

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Banner for spontaneous demonstration

Apart from the green flag described before, there’s also mention of another green banner, used in the weekly “Spontaneous Demonstrations”:

Boxer and Clover always carried between them a green banner marked with the hoof and the horn an the caption, ’Long Live Comrade Napoleon!’

It’s not mentioned whether in later years the green banner may have been used by other animals than the ones mentioned, but after the early summer of the eight year of the narrative it might no longer have been deemed politically correct, as it is based on the old flag, and uses the address "comrade".
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 5 June 2002


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