Animal Farm


Plot Summary

The story begins with a community meeting at Manor Farm. Old Major, the oldest of the boars and the de facto leader of the animals at the farm, has called them together for a meeting. At the meeting, he discusses what he perceives as the inequitable treatment the animals have experienced at the hands of Mr. Jones. After pointing out that the animals live in a state of virtual slavery, given only enough to sustain them to provide labor for the farm and slaughtered when they are no longer useful, he brings up his belief that this condition is not a result of the natural order. Instead, he suggests that man has intentionally created this subjugated position in animals in an effort to benefit from the animals in his care. Old Major suggests that by eliminating man, the animals would benefit because they would be entitled to the fruits of their own labor. Therefore, he suggests an alliance between all of the animals, such that those with four legs or wings are friends, and those that walk on two legs are enemies. This is cemented with a vote by the farm animals as to the issue of whether or not rats are considered comrades, with the animals deciding that they are comrades. Old Major admonishes the animals not to engage in the same type of behavior as men; they should never live in homes, wear clothes, engage in trade, drink alcohol, or attempt to control other animals. Old Major teaches the animals the song “Beasts of England.” They all join in singing the song. Mr. Jones hears the singing and thinks that there is a fox near the barn, so he shoots at the barn, which scatters the animals. The animals all return to their places on the farm.

Old Major dies shortly after his talk with the animals. The animals slowly begin to organize, but the early progress of any Rebellion seems very slow and halting. Three pigs emerge as leaders of this growing rebellion: Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer. Together, the three pigs develop a philosophy known as Animalism. When Mr. Jones goes to sleep at night, the animals meet in secret, where the pigs teach Animalism to the other...

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