Animal Farm


Old Major

Old Major is based on a combination of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, the two thinkers who helped develop Socialism as a theory. He is one of the pigs, an older boar, and, like both Marx and Lenin, he actually enjoyed a relatively privileged position on the farm. Old Major is twelve years old. He is a Middle White boar that won awards as a show pig under the name Willingdon Beauty. He has lived a life of ease because he was a show pig. The very inequities that he has observed plaguing the other animals have not impacted him. He has always had adequate food and comfortable living quarters. Moreover, his position of relative affluence has given him something that many of the other animals have not had: sufficient leisure time to observe human-animal interactions.

Despite his relative privilege, Old Major considers himself capable of commenting on the conditions of the lower class and how they have been mistreated by the humans. Despite this apparent dichotomy, Orwell is not critical of Old Major as a philosopher or even as a potential leader of a revolution on the farm. Instead, Orwell presents Major as an animal with a good idea who is tired of seeing the animals mistreated by the humans. Old Major uses the position of privilege and respect that he has among the animals, which is partially the result of man’s differing treatment of the animals, to take his message to the other animals. He calls the animals together to discuss what he perceives as the inequities in how animals are treated under the farm system, and the reader is given the impression that one of the reasons that the animals gather to listen to the message is an underlying respect for Old Major. He teaches the animals the song “Beasts of England” and inspires the Rebellion with his vision of a utopian society based on Socialist principles. By teaching the animals this song, Old Major has planted the seeds for a revolution.

It is important to understand that Old Major’s philosophy is idyllic, and it does not give the animals any type of concrete knowledge or guidance about how...

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Essays About Animal Farm