Illiteracy can be a big problem for many people. It was a huge problem for many animals in Animal Farm. But illiteracy was also an advantage for some of the other animals. Illiteracy can be very hard on illiterates.
" 'Muriel,' she said, 'read me the fourth commandment. Does it not say something about never sleep in a bed?' ' It says, no animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets,' she announced finally." (pg79). Because clover was unable to read the fourth commandment herself, she had to go and get Muriel to help her. Not being able to read is Clover's disadvantage. What would happen to poor Clover if Muriel wasn't there any more? Her problem will only get worse. Also Clover has to be able to trust that who ever is reading to her is telling the truth, that he/she is not lying.
"But Benjamin pushed her aside and in the midst of a dead silence he read: ' "Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughter..." ' " (pg123).
If Benjamin had not read this on the side of the van, the farm animals would have thought Boxer was really going to a hospital or something. This is another disadvantage the illiterate farm animals have. They actually believed, and trusted what the pigs had told them. Because the farm animals would not read it for themselves.
" 'My sight is failing,' she said finally, 'Even when I was young I could not read what was written there. But it appears to me that that wall looks different...' " (pg133).
Clover is having problems with her sight, and also she could not read from the start. So she need Benjamin to read for her. But what is really sad is she does not know...