Animal Farm

Animal Farm

Animal Farm is difficult to read seriously for the first few chapters,

mostly because the

main characters are animals that talk not only amongst themselves, but also

with humans. After a

short period, though, the animals take on such believable personalities that

it is easy to forget that

they are not humans.

In the beginning, life is satisfactory at the Manor Farm. While food

rations are low, no

one is dying from starvation. One evening, an older member of the farm, a

boar named Old Major

announces that he will die soon. Before he dies, however, he wants to share

with the rest of the

animals his thoughts on how Man has ruined the animals\' life. He says that

if animals were to

grow their own food, Man would no longer be needed on the farm, leaving all

the profits to the

animals. Society without man, of course, would be simpler and more relaxed.

Old Major then

suggests a revolution with the best of intents. A vote taken at the meeting

proves Old Major\'s

main idea, that "all animals are equal". All the animals on the
farm leave

the meeting with fresh

energy, prepared to run Manor Farm on their own, although not sure how to

chase away their

human master, Mr. Jones.

Soon after Old Major\'s speech he dies. One evening, Mr. Jones neglects to

feed his

animals. They become hungry and break into the storage shed to find some

food. When their

master finds his storage room a mess, he is furious, and begins to whip the

animals violently.

The animals decide this may be their only chance to get rid of their master,

and spontaneously

fight back against Mr. Jones. He quickly flees from the farm with his wife.

The Manor Farm is quickly renamed the Animal Farm, and a variety of changes

take place.

The farmhouse is declared a museum, and a set of Seven Commandments is

created for the

animals to follow (Orwell, 40). The principle rules are "All animals are

equal" and the simple

phrase memorized by every animal, "Four legs good, two legs bad".
The other

rules focus on

making sure no animal ever takes on evil human characteristics such as

drinking alcohol and

sleeping in beds.

Because the brains behind the Revolution, Old Major, is now dead, two pigs


themselves the leaders of Animal Farm, although the two do not agree.

Neither of the two pigs,

Napoleon or Snowball, hold all of the dreams which inspired the creation of

the farm. The only

character who constantly communicates the existence of "a better

after Old Major\'s death

is Moses, a raven. He never actually does farm work, but is still given

food rations for keeping

the animals motivated by talking of a perfect afterlife. Snowball, one of

the head pigs in the

Animal Farm\'s early days is more like Old Major than Napoleon, but still

leaves much to be

desired. Snowball\'s first action as self-appointed ruler is to set up

committees so that each animal

can be actively involved in making Animal Farm a success (Orwell, 49).

Snowball has the brilliant

idea of building a windmill. He carefully draws detailed plans of how the

mill will operate and

what it will produce. All the animals love the idea except Napoleon.

Snowball seems to follow

the rule "every animal is equal" quite closely, and the animals on
the farm

seem to take his side in

arguments between him and Napoleon.

The fact that Snowball may be the favorite pig infuriates Napoleon. He is

a boar who is

quite secretive with his ideas, but always seems to firmly disagree with

Snowball. Napoleon

distances himself from the other animals and creates an illusion of

supremacy for himself. One

evening, during one of Snowball and Napoleon\'s frequent arguments Napoleon

sends his dogs to

attack his opponent. Snowball is brutally attacked and runs away, never to

be seen again on the


Therefore, Napoleon is left as the farm\'s only leader. The farm animals

always seem to

quickly adjust to these leadership changes and immediately accept Napoleon

as the farm\'s head.

The animals also seem to forget Snowball\'s important part in leading the

Rebellion and his

concern for their welfare.

Napoleon\'s concern for the supremacy of pigs becomes apparent quickly. He

orders all

the better foods, apples and milk, to be reserved for the pigs only (Orwell,

71). Eventually he

requires all "lower animals" to clear the path when a pig walks by

These changes come in a

subtle way and are peppered with reminders of how awful life was when humans

were in charge.

These threats cause the farm animals to barely notice how different their

farm is from Old Major\'s

dream. Suddenly, Napoleon makes an announcement. He has decided to build a

windmill. He

also declares that Snowball\'s original plans for the windmill were stolen

from Napoleon himself.

All the animals are