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___________________________Animal Farm by George Orwell


STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES

Animal Farm

 

Summary and Review of Chapters 1-2

Summary:

The novel begins as Mr. Jones, the farmer who has of late been drinking more heavily than ever before, has just fallen asleep without taking care of his chores. His animals who feel neglected, decide to call a meeting to discuss their problem and listen to a speech by Old Major, the prize boar. The only animal who does not attend is Moses, Mr. Jones's tame raven. Saying that he does not have long to live, the old pig tells the farm animals that their lives are appalling: they are horribly enslaved to the humans, who work them incessantly, feed them only enough to keep breath in their bodies, and then slaughter them mercilessly when they are no longer useful. Old Major has had a dream, he says, of a world in which animals live free, without being ruled by men. In his dream, all the animals are happy, have plenty of food, and are treated with respect.

His speech is eloquent and intended to arouse the animals to revolt. His main point is that, "Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plow, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals." He warns them that if they successfully overthrow man's power over them, they must never adopt the ways of man of their habits. The animals learn the lyrics to a song called "Beasts of England," which paints a dramatic picture of the utopian animal community of Old Major's dream.

The noise from the barn awakens the farmer and thinking that there is wild fox outside, fires a shot. This ends the animal's meeting and they all go to sleep.

Shortly thereafter, eve though Old Major dies, the other animals decide to forge on with his dream and they plan to revolt. Two young boars, Napoleon and Snowball are selected to design the philosophy of Animalism and with the help of another boar, Squealer, teach it to the others.

The animals call one another "Comrade," and take their quandaries to the pigs, who answer their questions about the impending Rebellion. For instance: Mollie, the vain carriage horse, wonders whether she will be allowed to wear ribbons in her tail after the Rebellion. Snowball sternly reminds her that ribbons are symbols of slavery, and that they will be strictly forbidden. Mollie halfheartedly agrees. Moses, the raven, flies about spreading tales of a place called Sugarcandy Mountain, where animals go when they die--a place of great pleasure and plenty, where sugar grows from the hedges. The pigs dismiss his teachings as outright lies, and eventually have all the support that they need.

The Rebellion occurs much earlier, and is won much more easily, than anyone expected. It is prompted by Mr. Jones again getting drunk and forgetting to feed the animals or milk the cows. Out of sheer desperation, the cows break into the food stores, where the animals begin to feed. Mr. Jones and his men discover them, and begin to whip them. The animals do not submit and fight back. The men are forced to leave and the animals gain complete control of the farm. Full of joy, the animals survey their new farm, sing "Beasts of England" seven times from end to end, burn every unwanted human implement, and explore the farmhouse, where Mollie, until she is reprimanded, tries to stay. They decide to turn the farmhouse into a museum as a reminder of previous times.

The pigs decide to rename the farm and call it "Animal Farm." They also decide to print the commandments of Animalism in full vies of the whole community even though not every animal knows how to read. The chores are then attended to and the cows are milked. Instead of distributing the milk, Napoleon tells the animals that it will be stored. When the animals return that evening, the milk is no longer in sight and not available.

 

Review:

Orwell presents an allegorical farm where there is a great deal of unrest and discontentment. The animals on Manor Farm are cruelly exploited and beaten by their oppressive owner Jones and everyone is ready to accept a change.

With little to lose, the animals join together in a barnyard rebellion, they overthrow their master and take control of the farm. Orwell has set the stage and proceeds to establish the communist system on the farm. The newly liberated livestock establishes rules to ensure equality among themselves and an even distribution of wealth. Each character who assumes a leadership role, represents a different figure within history.

 

  • Biography of George Orwell

  • Background on Animal Farm

  • Quick/Fast Review

  • Character List

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 1-2

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 3-4

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 5-6

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 7-8

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 9-10

  • Studyworld Essay Search on Animal Farm

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