Pilkington (Animal Farm)

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Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood Farm is a fictional human character in George Orwell's satirical novel Animal Farm.

Role in the story[edit]

Pilkington is based on Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Mr Pilkington has a larger but more unkempt farm, and is on bad terms with Mr Frederick of Pinchfield Farm. Frederick's farm is adjacent to Animal Farm on the opposite side, to which Animal Farm acts as a buffer zone, sandwiched between Pinchfield and Foxwood. Frederick is in ways the antithesis of Pilkington; he is comparatively poorer and has less land than Pilkington; however Pinchfield is more efficiently run and more productive than Foxwood. Despite the bickering between Frederick and Pilkington, there are two factors both respectfully agree upon: they are frightened of the animal revolution that deposed Mr Jones, the original owner, fearing that their own animals may stage similar revolutions on their farmsteads, and both continue to call "Animal Farm" by its original name of "Manor Farm", as they believe the name "Animal Farm" is an unofficial endorsement of the animal revolution. Mr Pilkington at first offered to buy Napoleon's pile of surplus timber, but the timber is also sought after by Mr. Frederick, which Napoleon instigates the trade war by spreading messages of "Death to Pilkington". Napoleon plays both sides by feigning friendship with Pilkington to get Frederick to pay a higher price for the timber. Through Napoleon's human aide Mr. Whymper, Napoleon furiously learns that Frederick got the timber for free as he paid in counterfeit money. Napoleon orders the slogan "Death to Pilkington" changed to "Death to Frederick". Immediately after the bum deal, Frederick and his men invade Animal Farm, killing many animals and ultimately destroying the windmill with blasting powder. Napoleon parlays his new "Death to Frederick" slogan into an attempt to rebuild relations with Pilkington by sending a message for aid against a common enemy, but this proves too little too late as the "Death to Pilkington" slogans are recent memory, and Napoleon gets a sole response from Pilkington which reads "Serves you right".

The Meeting[edit]

Pilkington and several other of the men working on the farm are invited to a meeting by Napoleon and the pigs, where Napoleon reintroduces Animal Farm's "new" name of The Manor Farm. Pilkington praises Napoleon for the extreme strictness that he imposes upon the animals, forbidding them any time to enjoy themselves. He talks about the misunderstandings in the past that had been rectified. "You have your lower animals," he jokingly consents, "and we have our lower classes." The men and pigs start playing cards, flattering and praising each other while cheating at the game.

At the end of the novel, both Napoleon and Pilkington draw the Ace of Spades (which in most games, is the highest-ranking card) at the same time and begin fighting loudly.

In the allegory[edit]

Pilkington represents western capitalist countries, specifically the sprawling British Empire which was crumbling during World War II. This is in contrast to Frederick, who has the opposite scenario of a smaller, better managed farm run by an unscrupulous, violent owner (an allegory of Germany). After the end of World War II, the Cold War began between the 'West' and the Soviet Union, similar to the end of the meeting where both Napoleon and Pilkington play a simultaneous Ace of Spades, then get into an argument over it.

Film[edit]

In the 1999 film adaptation of the novel, Pilkington is the first human to enter into trade agreements with Animal Farm, beginning regular deals with Napoleon. He considers it more practical to trade with the animals after learning that they can talk, believing that they are incapable of coping on their own, and dismissing claims that other animals are starving in favour of the benefits to himself.