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ANIMAL FARM BY GEORGE ORWELL: CHAPTER 1

Summary + Analysis of Animal Farm by George Orwell

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Dihaan K~

7/11/20233 min read

The novella Animal Farm was written in the year 1944, by Eric Arthur Blair, under the alias George Orwell. Animal Farm was written in a time when the guns in Germany were booming with the painstaking efforts of a certain Kaiser- mustached fellow who believed in the Aryan supremacy. Movements such as socialism, communisms and dozens of other –isms were gaining popularity, and by 1939 war had broken out between the Allies and the Nazis. It is where George Orwell undoubtedly got his inspiration for his short novella. A literary masterpiece, it has been taught in educational institutions all over the world.

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The first chapter begins with a simple sentence. Mr. Jones, the owner of the Manor Farm had forgotten to lock the pop-holes in a fit of drunkenness and stumbled to his bedding quarters where his wife was already fast asleep.

These first few sentences, rather than imply anything symbolical, describes the night routine of the owner of Major Farm. Drunk, he stumbles across the yard and draws himself a glass of beer without checking up on his animals. This signifies the lack of attention and carelessness the intoxicated Mr. Jones exhibits.

As soon as the lights in the house dim down, all the animals perk up and the farm buildings are filled with mutterings. During the day word had travelled that Old Major, a majestic 12 year old boar, had had a strange dream the night before and wished it to be known. He was an important figure on the farm, and everyone was quite prepared to lose sleep for their nightly meeting.

Old Major, as he is nicknamed, is well known and well respected on the farm. He is an old boar, for whom the animals are prepared to lose their sleep for.

The next, longer paragraph, describes the way Old Major lies in a bed of hay, situated above all the animals who swiftly appear and settle in their places. There is a brief description of his majestic appearance. It is mostly described how the animals arrange their seating and their personas. It is also noted that all the animals eventually appear except Moses, a raven tamed by Mr. Jones, the owner. Old Major, after running his eyes over the audience, clears his throat and begins his speech. He starts with his dream and with the fact that he will not live soon. Major elaborates with the comment that he feels that he has to pass on wisdom before he passes away.

Old Major explains that they are mere instruments in the farm’s activities. As soon as their usefulness is over, they are mercilessly slaughtered or killed. Their foals are sold, and their products and meat are vended without any money being laundered towards their comfort. They are made to work under the flaming sun and break their backs for profit that isn’t even theirs. Major says that the cause of all this misery is man. That men are the monsters behind this exploits and cruelty. He says that men themselves cannot yield milk or eggs or meat, but rely on them for profit. It is not men’s children that are being sold but theirs. Animals are not allowed to reach their lives’ full span but are slaughtered without mercy at the block. Old Major concludes with a heated call for rebellion against man. He says that animals must overthrow men and then enjoy the fruit of their own labor. He asks for the animals’ resolution that they will dedicate their lives to this and the animals agree and become gleeful. He says that all two-legged creatures are enemy and all four legged creatures are friends. Wildly enthusiastic, all the animals sing ‘The Beasts of England’ with joy and very loudly.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,

Beasts of every land and clime,

Hearken to my joyful tidings

Of the golden future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,

Tyrant Man shall be o'erthrown,

And the fruitful fields of England

Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,

And the harness from our back,

Bit and spur shall rust forever,

Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,

Wheat and barley, oats and hay,

Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels

Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,

Purer shall its waters be,

Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes

On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labour,

Though we die before it break;

Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,

All must toil for freedom's sake.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,

Beasts of every land and clime,

Hearken well and spread my tidings

Of the golden future time.

Old Major’s speech mirror the theories put forward by famous Communists, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin. The exact same proposals and the exact same propositions, in fact. Common people must overthrow all socialists and rich people who are bent on profiting off the poor. All socialist systems must go down, equal rights for all! The only difference is that instead of common people, George Orwell has changed it into animals, and rich people are men, but the theories are the same.

Even the stupidest animals, those who couldn’t follow the words perfectly, had the song memorized in no time, and all the animals sang the song in glee five times, stamping their hooves and neighing. Unfortunately, the commotion wakes up Mr. Jones, and he fires off shots to discourage any fox or intruder. At the sound of gunshots, all the animals run off to their respective dens and go to sleep.