Hamilton DOL: “The World Was Wide Enough”

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1. Character Development

Synopsis – Previously, in “Your Obedient Servant”, Burr writes to Hamilton, eventually challenging him to a duel. Hamilton and Burr duel in Weehawken flats, New Jersey; as Hamilton dies, he reflects on the legacy he has left on America, Burr shoots and kills him, subsequently realizing that he will be remembered as the villain of history.


Who – Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and their seconds

What – A duel

When – July 11th, 1804 (5:00 am)

Where – Weehawken flats, New Jersey, on a secluded ledge above the Hudson River

Why – Escalating conflicts between Hamilton and Burr


The main characters in this song are Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. The duel that takes place in “The World Was Wide Enough” is the climax of many years of escalating disagreements between them, such as when Burr defeated Hamilton’s father-in-law, Philip Schuyler, for a seat in the Senate and when Hamilton supported his enemy Jefferson instead of Burr in the election of 1800.

Hamilton’s wants are to leave behind a legacy, leave his mark on America, and, usually, to act quickly and uninhibitedly. Right before his death, he ponders what a legacy is, and how America “let [him] make a difference/A place where even orphan immigrants/Can leave their fingerprints and rise up” (Hamilton). He dies having fulfilled this goal, using his skill in writing to rise to the top and help form the United States. Something else Hamilton almost always does is acting quickly and confidently, charging recklessly through life. He demonstrates this throughout the play, such as in “Non-Stop” and “My Shot”, but in the duel, he does not. This is the one time he throws away his shot by aiming his pistol at the sky and it may have cost him his life.

As for his fears in this song, Hamilton distrusts those who seem to stand for nothing and is deeply aware about how the world perceives him. A major part of the background of his character and the duel is his and Burr’s differing ideologies. Hamilton does not like how Burr is more neutral and does not seem to have many principles. When asked why he supports Jefferson, in “The Election of 1800” he says that “Jefferson has beliefs/Burr has none” (Hamilton). Second, throughout the play, he thinks about his legacy and what other people think about him. He says, “If I throw away my shot, is this how you’ll remember me? What if this bullet is my legacy?” (Hamilton). He could be saying this to Burr only, or to everyone in general. He considers that if he throws away his shot, Burr’s last memory of him will be killing him. If he kills Burr, that bullet will be his legacy as well, and he will be remembered as the one who shot Aaron Burr. In the end, he decides to throw away his shot, perhaps because he thought that this legacy would be more agreeable than the one left by shooting Burr.

In this song, Burr wants to regain his reputation, keep his family safe, and to wait and cautiously deliberate his actions, except for this time. He thought that dueling would salvage his remaining political dignity, but instead, killing Hamilton made him infamous. Second, the line “I had only one thought before the slaughter; this man will not make an orphan of my daughter” indicates that if he knows it will to be him or Alexander, he refuses to put his daughter through the same hardships he had to suffer as an orphan himself because he knows how bad it is (Hamilton). Finally, in contrast to Hamilton, in the rest of the play, Burr almost always thought through his actions carefully and waited for the perfect opportunities. However, in this song, he is the one who rashly charges forward and Hamilton is the one who waits; Hamilton points his gun at the sky, and Burr shoots him, hitting him between the ribs.

Burr’s main fear in this song is being remembered as a villain. He knows that “history obliterates/in every picture it paints/it paints [him] and all [his] mistakes” (Hamilton). Although he was a good person, because of how neutral he always was in the public’s eyes, he is known most as the one who killed Hamilton. Hamilton asks, “What if this bullet is my legacy?”; the legacy left behind by Hamilton’s bullet that misses majorly affects Burr. When he kills Hamilton, the bullet becomes the legacy that Hamilton leaves for him. As soon as they confirm the duel, one of them is destined to be known by the world as a murderer. When Hamilton throws away his shot, he leaves that burden for Burr to bear, forcing him to take on that legacy of violence.


2. Historical Elements

Historical events and ideas: Burr-Hamilton Duel

A Summary of the Conflicts Leading to the Duel

Their relationship really began to deteriorate when Burr defeated Hamilton’s father-in-law, Philip Schuyler, for a seat in the U. S. Senate. The next major conflict was when Jefferson and Burr were tied for presidency in the election of 1800; Hamilton enthusiastically supported Jefferson because even though they disagreed, he did not an unprincipled leader to run the country. Although he called Jefferson “a contemptible hypocrite” in letters, he thought of Burr that “Great Ambition unchecked by principle…is an unruly Tyrant.” In early 1804, when he knew he would not be re-elected as vice-president, he switched parties and attempted to get nominated as the Federalist candidate for governor of New York, but Hamilton used his influence to make him lose again. He then tried to run for governor without a party and lost badly in April 1804.

That month, a letter was published that claimed Hamilton called Burr “a dangerous man” at a dinner party. In June, Burr wrote to Hamilton asking him to explain, which led to Burr demanding that he deny he ever said anything bad about him. Hamilton thought this would damage his political career. In response, Burr challenged him to a duel. He was opposed to the practice of dueling, and even said in a statement released after his death that “[his] religious and moral principles are strongly opposed to the practice of Duelling, and it would even give [him] pain to be obliged to shed the blood of a fellow creature in a private combat forbidden by the laws” (Statement on Impending Duel With Aaron Burr). 

What happened:

Hamilton and Burr left Manhattan from different docks at 5am, each rowed by 4 men to New Jersey. Burr arrived at 6:30, Hamilton half an hour later. They met at Weehawken Flats, New Jersey, as dueling was not strictly regulated there, on a secluded ledge near Hudson River. This was also most likely where Hamilton’s son, Philip, died. Hamilton likely had not fired a pistol since the revolution, which was not since 1783. Burr had been practicing his marksmanship leading up to the duel. The song says he was a terrible shot, but this is not really proved definitively. By lot, Hamilton picked which side he would fire from.

Hamilton aimed his pistol then asked for a moment to put on his glasses, which is referenced in the song, but he had already told confidants that he would throw away his shot by aiming wide on purpose. He also said in a statement that he wanted “to reserve and throw away [his] first fire, and [he had] thoughts even of reserving [his] second fire—and thus giving a double opportunity to Col Burr to pause and to reflect” (Statement on Impending Duel with Aaron Burr). This is also technically against the rules of dueling; he is not allowed to throw away his shot like that.

The seconds provided conflicting stories of who shot first and whether Hamilton missed on purpose or missed because of accidentally shooting the pistol when he got hit. However, Hamilton’s gun most likely fired first. Burr’s shot hit Hamilton in the abdomen area above the right hip, fractured a rib, tore through his diaphragm and liver, and lodged in his spine. He died on July 12, 1804, having survived about 31 hours after the duel.

Socials curriculum: Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and societies

The conflicts that led to the duel were mostly based on power, how Burr was seeking it, and how Hamilton used his existing power to prevent Burr from getting it. Motivated by their differences in ideology, Hamilton was determined not to let someone with great ambition but without many opinions and principles into a position of power, lest he become an unruly tyrant. This power struggle escalated to the point where the only way they could think of to resolve it was through violence.


3. Guided question

A clash between two ideals

One of the major conflicts between Hamilton and Burr that led to the duel is Hamilton supporting Jefferson, his supposed enemy, instead of Burr. This is because even though Hamilton dislikes Jefferson’s politics, at least he has opinions and stands for something, rather than Burr’s decision first seen in “Aaron Burr, Sir” to not “let them know what [he’s] against or what [he’s] for” (Hamilton). The clash between these ideologies repeats throughout the musical and the American Revolution. On one hand, Hamilton, Jefferson, and the American patriots believe in bold, drastic actions and change. The patriots want independence from Britain, and they want it quickly and at whatever cost. They know exactly what they want and what they stand for. Hamilton represents the American ideal in many ways. He worked his way up from the bottom with his confidence and skill, he is opinionated, and he is not afraid to speak his mind. In “Your Obedient Servant”, he tells Burr that he “has always worn [his opinion] on [his] sleeve” (Hamilton).

On the other hand, Burr represents more of a loyalist ideology. He is patient, cautious, and “willing to wait for it” (Hamilton). Hamilton tells him in “Your Obedient Servant” that the reason people do not trust him is because “no one knows what [he believes]” (Hamilton). The Loyalists are similar in several ways; many of them did not want to take sides, wanted the revolution to come later, or were afraid of the chaos of the mobs. As Hamilton asks Burr in “Aaron Burr, Sir”, “if [Burr doesn’t] stand for anything, what [does he] fall for?” (Hamilton). Because of the magnitude of their differences, it leads to Hamilton “poison[ing] [his] political pursuits”, as covered in the summary of conflicts that led to the duel (Hamilton). 

History and being remembered

Since history is written by the victors, history remembers the rebels who fought for the revolution more vividly than it remembers the loyalists. For Hamilton, this means that even when he died, he died a martyr because he “wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for [him]” (Hamilton). To him, America is a “great unfinished symphony” where anyone can make a difference and climb to the top, no matter who they are or what their background is (Hamilton). When he is gone, he is remembered more for his contributions to the formation of America than for all the other questionable things he did. Meanwhile, Burr says that “now [he is] the villain in your history” (Hamilton). The reason for this is likely that killing Hamilton is the boldest thing he does in the public’s eyes, so that is how history remembers him. As mentioned earlier, Burr was cautious and uninvolved in contrast to Hamilton’s confidence. Like the rebels and the loyalists, in this case too, the boldest and most vibrant actions, whether good or bad, are immortalized by history and the people who take those actions are forever painted in their light.

In summary, this song offers insight on the lives and privileges of those involved in the American Revolution by revealing what ideologies and values divided the patriots and loyalists and how they were remembered going into the future.










Socials: Independent Inquiry (Seven Years’ War)



PDF version: socials7yearswar

What led to British victory in the battle of the plains of Abraham?

Historical Significance

The focus of my inquiry is how James Wolfe’s British army won the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, a crucial moment in the North American part of the Seven Years’ War. The Seven Years’ War was mainly Britain and their allies Prussia and Hanover against France and their allies Austria, Sweden, Saxony, Russia, and Spain over land expansion, imperialism, and trade rivalry. In this case, it was Britain and France’s struggle over New France or Canada, also known as the French and Indian War. It is a significant question to ask because the Seven Years’ War and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham played a crucial part in shaping Canada’s history. After their defeat in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, France surrendered Quebec to the British. France formally handed over Canada to Britain with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, as it was not as valuable as their sugar colonies in the West Indies or fishing colonies in the West Atlantic and was more expensive to maintain because of its size and location. The conflicts between France and Britain and their struggle for control of the New World helped shape modern Canada’s biculturalism, even though Britain and British norms are still dominant. Had the French won instead, we would have kept more of our French roots as opposed to our British ones, similarly to modern-day Quebec. The defeat of the French in Canada also indirectly led to America attacking Canada during the American Revolution, as the British colonists no longer needed the military there. The American Revolution brought on the immigration of many British loyalists later on.


Cause and Consequence

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham happened the way it did because of how it connects to the bigger picture of the Seven Years’ War. The Seven Years’ War originated from Austria trying to win back the province of Silesia from Prussia. Austria was allied with France, and Britain with Prussia. The Seven Years’ War can also be seen as the European part of a nine years’ war between France and Britain as well. However, the struggle over North America originated in 1754 in Ohio Valley, which both the British and the French claimed to be theirs. A year earlier, in 1753, France built fortifications there in an attempt to strengthen their claim. Then, the governor of Virginia, a British colony, sent troops to ambush a French detachment, but they were defeated. Back then, war had not been declared yet, but Britain started planning an attack against the French in America anyway. They also planned to attack Niagara, Fort Beauséjour in Nova Scotia, Fort Duquesne on the Ohio River, and Fort Saint-Frédéric on Lake Champlain (now New York State). The only successful attack was the one on Fort Beauséjour. Meanwhile, the French ordered troops to reinforce Louisbourg and Canada, so they generally had more victories than the British. In 1756, the Marquis de Montcalm arrived with more French troops; soon after, Britain declared war. The Britain did not start winning until 1758, when they attacked several French trading posts. The attack on Lousibourg also enabled them to sail up the St. Lawrence River, setting them up for the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The consequences of this event were that Britain became more of a dominant force in Canada. The defeat of the French meant that British colonists no longer needed the protection of Britain’s military. This led to the attack of Quebec in the American Revolution, which then led to the emigration of British loyalists to Canada.

Historical Perspective

Both generals valued their duty to their own respective countries and their goal to defeat the other and conquer or keep Canada. Even though Wolfe was fatally wounded, when he found out that the French were retreating, he said, “Now, God be praised, I will die in peace.” He viewed the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Seven Years’ War as something highly important and meaningful; this quote shows that learning that his army had successfully taken Quebec may have been worth sacrificing his life for. He passed away knowing that he did what he could to help his country. Wolfe’s “want” was to do his duty to Britain by driving the French out whatever the cost, and he achieved it. Before Montcalm’s death, he supposedly said, “So much the better, I won’t see the British in Quebec”. This leads us to believe he held great pride in New France and found some solace in the fact that his death would prevent him from having to face the fact that the British had conquered it. He likely viewed the Battle of the Plains of Abraham as a last defense to quell the British attacks on New France, which was ultimately unsuccessful. Britain had been wearing them down with other attacks for a long time now, and although they held off some of the early ones, they eventually began suffering defeats. The quote shows that one of Montcalm’s fears is seeing his country’s historical rivals finally take New France.


Social Studies Inquiry Processes

The British were able to win the Battle of the Plains of Abraham because of how they set themselves in a good position for the battle by reducing the French supplies and capturing important French fortresses and how they prevented the possibility of a retreat, got past the natural defense of the cliff at l’Anse au Foulon two miles upstream from Quebec, and made use of tactics such as volley fire while the French army had a more disorganized charge. Although the French had more indigenous allies and the defense of 53-meter cliffs, their army did not have as good a strategy; some historians say that Montcalm should have waited for reinforcements from French detachments instead of attacking right away. Their army was also mostly militia, or ordinary people not trained as soldiers, whereas the British army was composed of trained soldiers. All these factors contributed to the British winning the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and subsequently winning the war for control of Canada.








Science: Reducing My Ecological Footprint

Calculation of my ecological footprint: 7.1 hectares 

Comparing it to others: 

Some of my classmates’ ecological footprints were (in hectares) 8.8, 7, 6.1, 4.4, and 7.8. 

What increases my ecological footprint? 

  1. Travelling by private vehicle most of the time
  2. Living space 
  3. Spending money 
  4. Eating food that comes in a lot of packaging
  5. Eating 2-3 helpings of meat per day 
  6. Wearing my clothes only once before washing them 
  7. Most of my clothes are new rather than second-hand  
  8. Showers over ten minutes 
  9. Not as much locally-grown food as imported food 
  10.  A lot of land is converted for my activities, games, sports 

5 actions to reduce my ecological footprint: 

1. Travelling by private vehicle most of the time; instead of using a private vehicle, use public transit or carpool when possible. 

I chose this because it was one of the biggest contributors to my ecological footprint, but I can think of some ways to make it happen. Carpooling to school will be an easy change to make; on days where I have Leadership or meetings in block one, I can carpool with my friend who lives across the street from me and also goes to Glen. On other days, where my school day starts at 9:20, I can carpool with my brother. Using public transit will be easy as well; I already bus home from school a few days a week, but only when my parents cannot pick me up.  

2. Eating 2-3 helpings of meat per day; instead, reduce my helpings of meat to 1-2 per day. 

Eating meat was also one of the main contributors to my ecological footprint. Making this change will be more challenging, because my family tends to eat a lot of meat and we usually eat meals together. But I can reduce how much meat I eat by eating mostly vegetarian meals when I don’t eat with my family, such as lunch at school and sometimes breakfast. 

3. Eating food that comes in a lot of packaging; choose food and snacks that come in little or no packaging. 

I chose this because this is a change I can very easily make. The main reason I eat food in packaging is because it’s convenient. So, when taking food to school or dance for example, I can pack snacks in reusable containers and pack my lunch in a reusable box or thermos. This way, I can minimize how much trash I produce. 

4. Showers over ten minutes; instead, keep showers under ten minutes. 

I think this will be a simple, easy way to reduce my ecological footprint. I will just take less long to shower. I can even set an alarm for ten minutes if I need to. I don’t think this is very difficult, but it will help in shrinking my ecological footprint. 

5. Wearing my clothes only once before washing them; if my clothes aren’t that dirty, I can wear them twice before washing them. 

Making this change will reduce my ecological footprint a lot, and I do not think it will be that challenging. My clothes usually do not get that dirty if I just wear them once, so if I wear them twice before I wash them, that would use half the amount of energy and water. 



Changes that were easy: 

1. Choose food and snacks that come in little or no packaging 

This change was easy because there is usually a clear, simple, alternative. Instead of choosing individually-wrapped foods that come in a lot of packaging, I packed snacks like fruit, cookies, or tortilla chips in reusable containers and brought my lunch to school in a reusable lunch box or a thermos. I did still occasionally eat individually-wrapped snacks, such as on the Galiano bike practice because it was convenient, but for the most part, I was able to greatly reduce how much trash I produce. 

2. Keep showers under ten minutes 

Like I said when introducing this action, taking less time to shower is not that hard. It is quite a simple thing to do. I’m not even quite sure why I needed more than ten minutes to shower if it’s so simple to shower in less than that. I guess I just had to get used to doing this action, but it wasn’t that bad after I started. 

3. If my clothes aren’t that dirty, I can wear them twice before washing them 

This was an easy action to take because it was not a drastic change. It did not take a lot of work or effort to simply wear my clothes twice before I wash them. 

Changes that were difficult: 

1. Reduce my helpings of meat to 1-2 per day.  

This change was difficult because meat as a staple in meals is routine for me and my family. It took some getting used to to reduce how much meat I ate. The lowest number of helpings was usually around two a day, and it was challenging to find good alternatives. I ate more fruit and vegetables though, so at least I did my best. I plan to continue trying to reduce the amount of meat in my diet going forward. 

2. Instead of using a private vehicle, use public transit or carpool whenever possible 

This was more challenging than I thought it would be because sometimes it’s just too inconvenient to take public transit and carpooling isn’t an option. For example, when going to extracurriculars, some are farther and less convenient to get to, such as silks in New Westminster. In cases like these, it was much easier to drive. However, I did take public transit more often to replace driving by private vehicle, especially on the way home from school (usually 3-4 times a week) and carpooled as often as possible, such as to school with my brother or my friend, and to dance with my other friend. 


The main obstacle was that many of the actions I was aiming to change were part of my routine and my family’s routine, particularly reducing my helpings of meat and using private vehicles less often. Since I was so used to them, it was challenging to suddenly change that. Another obstacle was that several actions involved other people, such as meals with my family and carpooling. It was one thing if I was making a change that only affected me, but my family shouldn’t have to also do things if they don’t want to. This was especially true for actions to do with transportation and food.

Changes for the future: 

Going into the future, I want to make an effort to buy or remind/encourage my parents to buy locally grown food over imported food, shop for clothing second-hand, and continue to work on reducing how many helpings of meat I eat. Some of these are more long-term actions, but will also help to reduce the impact I have on the planet. 



In-Depth #6

Progress Report 

In the past few weeks, I have been practicing and polishing the songs I have learned and beginning to put together a video for my performance at In-Depth Night. 

Here is my most recent recording of “Georgia”, with improvisation: 

After becoming more familiar with improvising, I found that the technique of incorporating licks when I come across ii7– V– I7 chord progressions is quite useful, but can pose some challenges. To use a lick in my playing, I usually find myself stopping to assess how I should incorporate it. Maybe this is just because I need more practice with it, but as of now, I do want to use them in my In-Depth Night performance because I spent a good deal of time throughout my project practicing them.

I recorded the improvisation section several times before I had a version that I was satisfied with. Improvising involves technical/theory knowledge, creativity, and some amount of quick thinking. In addition, it is a lot easier to put together a successful improvised solo when I know the song itself better (what is written on the standard). It allows me to focus on the creative and technical portions of improvisation instead of having to worry about the chords I play on the left hand, which stays pretty much the same whether I am improvising or not. 

For my learning center/presentation, I have decided, with the advice of my mentor, to play parts of “Girl from Ipanema”, “Georgia”, and “Bessie’s Blues”, a blues song by John Coltrane I recently began. It will be challenging to play multiple songs because the performance must be brief, but I think it will provide a much more well-rounded demonstration of my learning if I play more than one song. If I do run out of time, I can omit “Girl from Ipanema”. I will likely play an improvised solo for only one or two of the songs. I want to focus on these aspects: the differences in each of the genres, improvising, and the chord voicings (for example, sevenths and flat fives). I hope the audience will learn some of the same newfound appreciation for the jazz genre that I gained from my experiences, and most importantly, enjoy the music.

Bessie’s Blues: 


Incorporating Edward De Bono’s “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” 

Some concepts I have encountered: 

1. Accompaniment (a.k.a. ‘Comping’) 

Some of the practical ideas that fit into the concept of accompaniment are stride bass, accompanying myself by recording with multiple tracks, and adding percussion on a separate track after recording the piano part. I went over the technique of stride bass in a previous post, but my mentor describes it as “play[ing] the root of the chord […] low, then jump[ing] up around an octave and play[ing] the third and seventh [of the chord]”. I tried this technique for “A Foggy Day” and “Georgia”. The two other ideas were not from my mentor but based on my own research and experience, as well as advice from other people. Especially when I first started experimenting with improvisation, I found it helpful to record the accompaniment first, then solo over that so I can just focus on the solo. Finally, my parents, who are also interested in music, suggested adding percussion. My dad even volunteered to record a percussion part on “Girl from Ipanema”, which was very helpful and made the piece more dynamic. 


2. Improvisation 

The concept of improvisation includes the practical ideas of using ii7– V– Ilicks, triplets, grace notes, and guide tones. I mentioned the ii7– V7 – Ilicks above, which are short, pre-written segments that go into a solo. Triplets (three notes played in the time of two notes) and grace notes (a short, extra note added for embellishment) are used in improvisation as well. Guide tones are the thirds and sevenths of the chords, the “most important” notes, and are the “foundation of a solo”. 


3. Chords and Their Uses 

Chords are an essential concept in jazz. This includes using chords in the melody, the main types of chords, and guide tones. The main types of chords I have come across are major seventh (the root/first, third, fifth, and major seventh), dominant seventh (1, 3, 5, flat 7), minor seventh (1, flat 3, 5, flat 7), and minor seven flat five (1, flat 3, flat 5, flat 7). I mentioned guide tones in improvisation, but they also fit into the concept of chords. This connects to using chords in the melody. Usually when playing the melody, it is too difficult to play all the notes of the chord, and it is not needed because the left hand accompaniment plays some of them. So the most important notes to include are the thirds and sevenths of the chords. 



1. Licks and Improvisation (Perception) 

When I first started learning licks, I thought they were meant to be “placed” at a certain, pre-planned spot in a solo. I was worried that if I couldn’t master this way of using licks in improv, I would have a big problem on my hands. But I was curious about this and did some research. Most of the sources I consulted said that the point was to “to familiarize yourself with jazz language so that you can start playing it with freedom”. A new perspective on the situation is to see the licks as “phrases” that are part of a jazz “language”. Once you learn the licks, building your vocabulary and become more familiar with jazz as a whole, it becomes easier to make a lick flow naturally into your solo. It is difficult to assess this alternative, because it relies on a longer process of learning licks and internalizing them, which could become a whole other project, but it was a new way of looking at an idea my mentor gave me and seeing how I can improve on it. 

Quote from: https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/blog/learning-jazz/jazz-advice/3-mistakes-musicians-make-learning-licks/ 


2. Adding Chords to the Melody (Action) 

I came across this alternative early in my project, but it is one of the most important ones. Playing chords on the right hand and blending them into the melody was an unfamiliar idea to me. But my mentor told me chords were “a very important part of jazz”, so I had a willingness to look for alternatives. My mentor gave me the alternative to just go through the process of learning how best to use chords in my music, a known alternative. I did not necessarily need to ask what other alternatives were available; it was a logical alternative that worked well. When assessing this alternative, I note that now, using chords with the melody is easier and I can quickly figure out how to do it with each song I learn, proving it was an effective alternative. 

I gained an abundance of new knowledge and experience and had fun learning jazz piano for In-Depth this year, and I am excited to present at In-Depth Night!

Animal Farm: Final Responses

One: Is it more important to have a strong ideology or a strong leader for revolution to occur? 

It is more important to have a strong ideology than a strong leader for a revolution to occur. In George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, this is made evident in several ways. First, strong ideologies are more essential than strong leaders because ideologies often outlive their leaders. Old Major the pig is “highly regarded on the farm” by the other animals and is wise enough to “understand the nature of life on this earth as well as any animal now living” (1 / 2). He is a strong leader, but he knows that he “shall not be with [the animals] for many months longer” (2). However, he also knows that he can keep his ideology alive by passing it on to others. By changing the leader while keeping the same ideology, even when the leaders can no longer lead, the ideologies continue to grow and prosper. Second, strong ideologies are more important than strong leaders because the quality of the leader is not the only factor for the success of a group. The success of a society and the ideologies behind is also dependent on the willingness of the followers to work hard and put in the effort to keep their group moving forward and progressing. A good leader does not necessarily have to be all-powerful and have complete control of the group. What is more important is that the leader can unite the members of the group towards one common goal. In “Animal Farm”, Major shared his dream and ideology with the animals of Manor Farm, which inspired them to start a revolution. Major was indeed a strong leader and he communicated the ideology well, but all he did was introduce the concept. Yet this was enough to inspire the animals to “work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race” (3). After he passed away, it was really the animals who kept it going and put the ideology in action. Revolutions need strong ideologies; while a strong leader is also important, ideologies are what truly carries a society through a revolution. 


Two: To what extent do power and privilege, or a lack thereof, affect the beliefs and actions of individuals in a revolution? 

Power and privilege affect the beliefs and actions of individuals in a revolution by determining the roles they take during the revolution and when they rebuild society following the revolution itself. In the case of “Animal Farm”, right from the beginning of the story, the pigs are the leaders, starting with Major, then Napoleon and Snowball, then just Napoleon. Napoleon can tell the “lower” animals what to do and believe, with complete control over them. This is demonstrated through Boxer’s conviction that “Comrade Napoleon is always right” and how the sheep’s mindless bleating of “four legs good, two legs bad” changes to “four legs good, two legs better” as soon as the pigs begin walking on their hind legs (37/26/42). The pigs even change the previous Seven Commandments to a single commandment that states “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, implying that theare superior to everyone else (40). They can go against their own laws as wellbreaking all their own Commandments. Their power and privilege make them just like the humans they supposedly hate, so they treat the animals just as badly as Jones used toThe animals’ lack of power contributes further to this problem. For example, they cannot read. The ability to read separates classes on the farm; the pigs can read, so they make the rules and can even change them at will. The animals cannot protest because no one can read the original rules inscribed on the barn. As a result, the pigs easily manipulate their thoughts and beliefs.. They use the animals’ trust in them to their own advantage by living opulently while the animals work hard and barely get anything back. It becomes normalized; the animals have “the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what happened”, so they do not even realize how bad their lives have become under Napoleon’s ruleThe conditions end up even worse than when Jones was in power. They “[do] more work and [receive] less food than any animals in the country” (41). This shows that power and privilege have a major role in determining who is in control and who is controlled after the old authority is gone. 


Three: In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other options available to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was revolution inevitable? 

The revolution is unsuccessful. The animals’ original goal in the revolution is to expel Mr. Jones and live in freedom. They successfully get rid of Jones, but they never achieve freedom; Napoleon and the pigs just take over Jones’ old position. By the end of the novel, the pigs treat the other animals just as badly as the humans did, feeding them less, making the work more, and lying to them. In a way, there is hardly any change at all. At first, it looks like their lives will improve, but the revolution eventually comes full circle; after a brief period of hope, the animals stay overworked, hungry, and under the manipulation of authority, whether it be pig or human. In the end, they “[look] from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which” (44). There was positive change in a sense for the pigs, but it came at the cost of forcing everyone else to suffer. However, the animals “never [lose], even for an instant, their sense of honor and privilege in being members of Animal Farm” (39), so it can be considered a revolution in terms of thought, and looking at the bigger picture, a revolution for the independence of animals. Another option to bring about change would be attempting to negotiate with the humans right from the start. Since the animals can talk and write, they could theoretically communicate with the humans. It would be difficult, though; the humans see the animals as inarguably inferior and at their disposal with no real worth of their own. The animals would have to use death threats and force, or make them sign a contract similar to the Magna Carta of the English monarchy to limit the power humans have over them. Although it could be possible, the success of this is highly unlikely based on the attitude Jones and other humans have towards animals. The animals could show reluctance as well, as Major’s speech that first inspired the movement told them to “remember always [their] duty of enmity towards Man and all his ways” (3). However, solving the problem between animals and humans at the root would result in a better outcome. The animals would still work, but it would be a lot like the first few weeks of Animal Farm; with time and effort to change things, the they would be well-fed, treated better, and given a little more respect. Napoleon would never come to power in the first place, preventing the rise of an even more corrupt society. In conclusion, although the revolution was unsuccessful, its negative consequences may have been avoided with an attempt to communicate diplomatically, preventing the rise of a society just as bad as the one that came before. 

“Animal Farm”: Paragraph Two

To what extent do power and privilege, or a lack thereof, affect the beliefs and actions of individuals in a revolution? 

Power and privilege affect the beliefs and actions of individuals in a revolution by determining the roles they take during the revolution and when they rebuild society following the revolution itself. In the case of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, right from the beginning of the story, the pigs are the leaders, starting with Major, then Napoleon and Snowball, then just NapoleonParticularly for Napoleon, those in power directly tell the “lower” animals what to do and believe, with complete control over them. This is demonstrated through Boxer’s conviction that “Comrade Napoleon is always right” and how the sheep’s mindless bleating of “four legs good, two legs bad” changes to “four legs good, two legs better” as soon as the pigs begin walking on their hind legs (37/26/42). Second, especially during the leadership of Napoleon, their power and privilege affects the pigs’ own beliefs and actions; the privilege and superiority the pigs gradually build for themselves escalates into believing they should be above all the other animals. They even change the previous Seven Commandments to a single commandment that states “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”, implying that the pigs are superior to everyone else (40). Along with this attitude comes a willingness to go against their own laws, including sleeping in beds, followed by killing other animals, then drinking, walking on two legs, wearing clothes, and finally associating themselves with humans, all of which used to be prohibited according to the Seven Commandments. Their power and privilege leads them to becoming more and more like the humans they supposedly hate, and treating the animals just as badly as Jones. As for the other animals, their lack of power and privilege makes it easier for the pigs to manipulate them. For example, they cannot read. The ability to read represents power on the farm; the pigs can read, so they make the rules and can even change them at will. When they change the rules, the animals cannot protest because no one can read the original rules inscribed on the barn. The pigs can easily convince the animals to think and act the way the pigs want them to, usually for their own benefit. They lie to the animals in order to give themselves permission to break their own rules. They use the animals’ trust in them to their own advantage by living opulently while the animals work hard and barely get anything back. The animals have “the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what happened”, so they do not even realize how bad their lives have become under the rule of Napoleon and the other pigs. In addition, the conditions end up even worse than when Jones was in power; the animals “[do] more work and [receive] less food than any animals in the country”, all because the pigs take the resources for themselves (41). Power and privilege have a major role in determining who is in control and who is controlled after the old authority is gone.