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Mr. Pilkington in Animal Farm: Character, Allegory & Analysis

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell, the farm is surrounded by two neighboring farms who dislike each other immensely. Learn about one of the neighbors, Mr. Pilkington, and how he represents capitalist Britain and the U.S. just before WWII.

Neighbors

Imagine being in the middle of two neighbors that hate each other. What if you felt like you couldn't trust either one of them? Animal Farm, or Manor Farm as it was called before the animals revolted, has two neighbors. The ruthless Mr. Frederick (who represents Adolf Hitler) and Mr. Pilkington.

Mr. Pilkington, the owner of Foxwood Farm, is pretty laid back, but sometimes neglects his own farm because he prefers hunting and fishing. Let's learn more about Mr. Pilkington from George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Propaganda

Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick do not like each other. However, both neighbors fear an animal revolution on their own farm and fight back with propaganda. They spread lies that the animals of Animal Farm were 'perpetually fighting among themselves and were also rapidly starving to death.' When the animals do not die of starvation, they 'changed their tune and began to talk of the terrible wickedness' on the farm, like cannibalism and torture.

Business

Eventually, Pilkington and Frederick come to accept animal rule and decide to do business with the leader of Animal Farm, Napoleon. There is a pile of seasoned timber that both neighbors want to purchase, but Napoleon is unable to decide which neighbor to sell to. He keeps hearing rumors of Snowball, the exiled leader, hiding at their farms: 'It was noticed that whenever he seemed on the point of coming to an agreement with Frederick, Snowball was declared to be in hiding at Foxwood, while, when he inclined toward Pilkington, Snowball was said to be at Pinchfield.'

It looks as if Napoleon is set to sell to Pilkington as rumors surface of Mr. Frederick's mistreatment of his animals and plans to invade Animal Farm. 'The animals distrusted Pilkington, as a human being, but greatly preferred him to Frederick, whom they both feared and hated.'

However, Napoleon surprises everyone when he suddenly changes his mind and announces that they will be selling to Frederick. Napoleon claims he only pretended to be friendly with Pilkington to drive up the price of the timber. However, that proved to be a mistake as Frederick ended up paying with counterfeit money.

The Treaty

Seeing a battle with Frederick as inevitable, Napoleon attempts to repair his relationship with Pilkington, but Pilkington's reply to Napoleon's plight is, 'Serves you right.'

Once the battle is over, Napoleon invites Mr. Pilkington to tour the farm and play cards. Mr. Pilkington toasted Napoleon and expressed his relief that 'a long period of mistrust and misunderstanding had now come to an end.' He admits to making assumptions about the farm without knowing enough about it, but now that he has seen it for himself, he is impressed at Napoleon's ability to run such an efficient farm where the animals work harder for less than anywhere else.

Mr. Pilkington intends to apply many of Napoleon's practices to his own farm. 'Between pigs and human beings there was not, and there need not be, any clash of interests whatsoever.' Napoleon returns the sentiments.

However, just a few minutes later, a big argument erupts: 'The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.' In reality, neither the pigs nor Man could be trusted.

Symbolism and Analysis

Just before World War II, Josef Stalin, the totalitarian leader of the U.S.S.R., seemed to be an ally of the U.S. and Great Britain, however, the friendship dissolves when Stalin signs a non-aggression pact with Germany.

These events parallel Animal Farm as Napoleon (symbolizing Stalin), the totalitarian leader of Animal Farm, seems to be an ally of Pilkington's. Pilkington symbolizes both Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Britain, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the U.S., in other words, capitalist governments. But Napoleon destroys the trust when he suddenly decides to sell to Frederick (representing Hitler, leader of Germany).

Josef Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill
The Big Three

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