Mr Whymper | Character Analysis in Animal Farm by George Orwell
Mr Whymper Animal Farm
Mr Whymper Animal Farm : Whymper is a solicitor who acts as an agent of Animal Farm in the latter’s dealings with the outside world of the humans. He is an instrument of Napoleon’s new economic policy, and as such his role has an important bearing on the development of the story.
Whymper has a sly-looking face with side whiskers. He is not an outstanding Success in his profession, but he is shrewd enough to foresee that Animal Farm cannot survive by cutting itself off from human contact and cooperation. The animals will sooner or later need to trade with farmers and for that purpose they would require an intermediary or a broker. The brokerage will be highly paying, and being a greedy man he did not at all care for the ignominy involved in being an agent of animals. Thus he became the sole selling agent and supplier for the Animal Farm.
Whymper comes to the farm every Monday morning. He is not allowed to see any of the several inmates of the farm. He is taken to meet Napoleon only. To the animals in general, he is Napoleon’s evil genius and they avoid him scrupulously. He meets Napoleon with respectful formality and takes down his instructions for the week.
On leaving the farm he carries with him loads of wheat and hay and also four hundred eggs for sale in the Willingdon market. With the sale proceeds of these articles he purchases goods and articles which are not produced in the farm. He seems to do his job thoroughly well because no quarrel is ever heard of between him and Napoleon over the transactions. Though animals of the farm detest him, they feel proud and flattered at the fact that a two-legged human is ordered about by a four legged animal, their leader.
Whymper is instructed by Napoleon to negotiate the sale of timber of the farm with the neighbouring human farm owners Frederick and Pilkington-playing them one against the other to earn maximum profit. He reports to Napoleon that Frederick is more eager to buy the timber but not as good a price as that offered by Pilkington. Napoleon oscillates. He suspects Snowball to be manipulating behind Frederick. Whymper offers no comments. He has his eyes on the amount of commission which will come to him in addition to keep his lips sealed.
In the meanwhile, due to poor harvest on account of severe winter, the rations of the animals on the farm have to be reduced. But Napoleon is anxious to hide from the outside world the fact that starvation conditions prevail on the farm. So he resorts to a trick. He gets a number of empty drums filled with sand almost to the mouth with a thin layer of grain and meat at the top. Whymper is taken round these drums and given the impression of abundance of food stock in the farm. Whymper, tricked thus, proclaims to the outside world that there is plenty of food stocked in the farm and there is no scarcity of food in the form.
Whymper finally succeeds in getting Frederick to raise by twelve pounds his rate for purchasing the farm timber. Napoleon refuses to accept a cheque in payment of the price and insists on cash down. Whymper then brings to him bundles of bank notes of five pound denomination and timber is thereafter carted away. But the notes turn out to be all forged. Napoleon roars with impotent rage. But there is nothing to be done. The wily Frederick has successfully challenged the combined cunning of Napoleon and Squealer.
The fiasco of the sale of timber and the Battle of the Windmill that followed do not affect the prospects of Whymper adversely. With the completion of the Windmill Animal Farm becomes prosperous. Whymper gets a fat amount in commission in purchasing two fields from Pilkington’s estate for the Animal Farm. With his rise in affluence he purchases a dog cart for himself. That is the last we hear of him. When direct contract between the pigs and men has been established through the historic ace of spades banquet there remains no necessity of an intermediary to negotiate the deals between them. So Whymper no longer appears in the novel.
Whymper acts as “an intermediary between Animal Farm and the outside world” (6.7). He’s the first human the pigs permit contact with after the Rebellion, constantly showing up in minor role to pass on communications from Napoleon to the other humans.
Whymper is “a sly-looking man with side whiskers, a solicitor [lawyer] in a very small way of business, but sharp enough to have realized earlier than anyone else that Animal Farm would need a broker and that the commissions would be worth having” (6.9).
In other words, he’s in it for the money. And that makes him easy. As the harvests begin to shrink on Animal Farm, Napoleon uses Whymper to spread rumors that everything is fine, just fine. And then Whymper conveniently hears nothing when Napoleon squashes out the Hens’ Rebellion by starving several of the hens.
It’s Getting Hot in Here
Can you feel the burn? We can. Whymper is an allusion to all the Westerners who catered to Soviet interests and helped spread the Soviet myth for personal profit—or just because they were gullible. If you want a specific double, try the intellectual Lincoln Steffens. After visiting the Soviet Union in the early 1920s, Steffens said, “I’ve seen the future, and it works.”
Well, says Orwell, look harder.
Read it also: A Doll’s House as a Problem Play
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