Chapter Summaries of George Orwell's Animal Farm
In the opening chapter of the book, Mr. Jones of Manor Farm is shown as a
careless, irresponsible farm owner who cares more for a glass of beer than for
his animals and the farm. He is often drunk, and his ensuing negligence causes
the farm animals to protest and rebel against him.
One night, Old Major, the prize Middle White Boar, wishes to share a strange
dream with all the animals. Since the two-year old boar is greatly respected by
all, the animals are willing to forego an hour's sleep to listen to Old Major's
tale. Before the animals assemble, the stout, majestic Old Major makes
himself comfortable on his bed of straw. As the animals enter the barn, each is
described. First to come are the three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie, and Picher. Then
the pigs arrive and settle down in front of the platform. Clover, the stout,
motherly mare, who is nearing middle age, finds her place. Benjamin, the
cynical donkey, who is the oldest animal and the worst tempered, grumps as
he settles down. Boxer, who is an enormous and optimistic horse, Mollie, who
is the foolish, pretty white mare, Moses, who is the tame raven, and the cat are
all present. The hens perch on the windowsills, and the pigeons flutter up to
Major's intentions are noble. He shows concern for the welfare and destiny of
the animals and inspires them to rebel against the human beings for their own
good. Without ever telling his dream, he diverts the animals' attention to his
song, 'Beasts of England'. He encourages them to gather in perfect unity and
warns them to avoid the habits of men.
The second chapter commences with the peaceful death of Old Major.
Although he is no longer physically present, Major's inspiring speech has
brought about a changed outlook on life among the animals. They are
convinced that an animal rebellion will take place in the unknown future and
prepare for it psychologically. The work of organizing and teaching naturally
falls upon the most intelligent of the animals, the Pigs. Pre-eminent among
them are two young boars called Snowball and Napoleon. Napoleon, a fierce
looking Berkshire, is not much of a talker but has a reputation for getting his
own way. Snowball, a young boar, is high-spirited, quick in speech, very
intelligent, and inventive. Squealer, a nimble, quick thinking pig, is also
introduced as a brilliant, persuasive talker who can turn black into white.
These three pigs advocate, expound, and propagate Major's teachings, which
are called 'Animalism'.
The rebellion is achieved much earlier, more accidentally, and more easily
than any of the animals expected. When Jones fails to feed them for a day, the
animals break into the storage shed and eat heartily. The farmer and his men
try to beat the animals away with whips, but they grow angry over this
mistreatment and fight back. Jones is quickly...