“If you have your lower animals to contend with,” he said, “we have our lower classes!”
This quip, delivered by Mr. Pilkington to Napoleon and his cabinet during their well-catered retreat inside the farmhouse in Chapter X, makes fully explicit the process of ideological corruption that has been taking place throughout the novella. Old Major’s notion of the absolute division of interests between animals and humans here gives way to a division between two classes, even cutting across species lines. Pigs and farmers share a need to keep down their laboring classes. Mr. Pilkington’s witticism lays bare the ugly but common equation of laborers with animals.
Moreover, the quote serves to emphasize directly the significance of Animal Farm as a social commentary, cementing the conceptual link between the downtrodden animals and the working classes of the world. Orwell explodes his “fairy story,” as he termed it, by bringing it into the realm of human consequence, thereby making its terrors all the more frightening to his readership.