Animal Farm Book Report Chapter 1(pgs.15-24) In first chapter, the reader is introduced to all of his wonderful animals. Obviously most of the chapter is intended to spark pity and a sense of sympathy for the poor, suffering farm animals, but the old Major’s words are very telling. The wise old pig addresses the central conflict of the book, and of Orwell’s intended meaning– tyranny. The first (and seemingly only) dictatorship the animals must overcome is the rule of Mr. Jones and the other humans. The boar asserts, Man is the only real enemy we have.
Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever. 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 plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. The speech, as intended, is very inspiring and encouraging to the tired, troubled farm animals. They even sing the words to old Major’s dream five times in succession before Mr.
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Jones blasts the side of the barn with a shotgun. Unfortunately for the animals, the old Major’s naivety is not revealed. The ideal society he proposes is of course only an ideal– but the animals don’t know this. Perhaps even the old sow himself is too caught up in emotion to understand the complexities of the solution he submits. Old Major does know a few things though.
He boldly warns all of them, Your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest…we must not come to resemble him..No animal must ever live in a house or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade. Ironically, Napoleon isn’t present to hear the words of this prophet. The future only seems optimistic; even old Major seems content. Little does he know, the foreshadowing of his comments seem almost too obvious to the mindful reader. Toward the end of the section the animals vote on whether wild animals, like rats and rabbits, are going to be considered their friends or foes.
They overwhelmingly agree that the rats and rabbits are to be friends, although Orwell doesn’t say why. Chapter 2 (pgs.25-34) The second chapter is drenched with metaphors most of which will not come to light until later in the novel. The first is old Major’s death. This represents the end to the older regime, the initial revolution. Now someone else will have to step into authority. Secondly Orwell strangely describes a pig named Squealer. The name sounds fairly pig-like but his actions don’t.
Supposedly Squealer has a special ability to persuade others. Orwell boasts, ..he could turn black into white. Obviously a pig like this could be used by the right people (animals). Next, the author tells us about a peculiar raven named Moses, who is the especial pet of Mr. Jones. All the animals consider him a spy and hate him; they say he tells lies about Sugarcandy Mountain and does no work. Boxer and Clover, two cart horses, are described as the most faithful disciples of Snowball and Napoleon.
Although they lack the intelligence of the pigs they serve, the horses can convince other animals to follow the cause using simple arguments. Orwell uses chapter 2 to really make Mr. Jones into a bad guy, although he admits that he was at one time a good master. Mr. Jones’ main problem is that he drinks too much and neglects the farm.
Even his men are idle and dishonest. Soon the animals are fed up with Jones (pardon the pun) after not being fed for over a day, so they organize and successfully carry out the long- awaited revolt. The animals rename Manor Farm Animal Farm yet agree not to live in the house. Yet some of the elite pigs have already adopted some of Man’s ways; Snowball and Napoleon have suddenly taught themselves to read and write, and soon a list of 7 Commandments is written on the tarred wall. Unfortunately only a few of the animals can actually read the rules. This will come back to haunt them later.
Orwell again closes with a eerie foreshadowing. After Snowball and Napoleon order the animals to work in the hay field, the milk which many of the lower animals asked to drink mysteriously disappears. Napoleon, however, dismisses the milk plea by proclaiming, The harvest is more important. Chapter 3 (pgs.35-43) Chapter 3 is uneventful for the most part although it does have a few more important metaphors. For one thing, the pigs are starting to emerge as the elite class of animals although all animals are supposed to be equal. Orwell narrates, The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. Of course the rational is classic and easy to see through. Orwell continues, With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership. The not-so-hidden metaphor here is the evidence of a decline in standards.
In other words, though you might think to yourself, Gee, who cares if the pigs supervise? It’s only natural, like Squealer said, really that is exactly what Orwell wants you to think. One of his major messages is the idea that a few little white lies here and there do add up to a serious wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Most of the rest of this chapter is optimistic. The animals do for the most part live in Orwell’s ideal society of socialism. Nobody stole, nobody grumbled over his rations, the quarreling and biting and jealousy which had been normal features of life in the old days had almost disappeared.
Two more characters were described in detail. Boxer, the loyal horse is said to be the hardest worker. His answer to every problem, every setback, is ‘I will work harder!’ Old Benjamin, the donkey, is said to have changed his lifestyle little since the revolt. He seems indifferent to the whole thing. He says, Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey.
Mollie is the only animal who doesn’t seem to fit in. She’s always thinking about how she looks, etc. She only learns the letters in her name, unlike the others, who energetically learn the whole alphabet. Of course some learn better than others. The dogs and pigs know the most.
Some of them are even learning black smithing and other human trades. Snowball and Napoleon start to fight and argue over everything. Both pigs enjoy the apples and milk only given to them. Of course this is just in the farm’s best interest. Really pigs don’t like the taste of milk and apples, but force it down in order to stay healthy and help supervise (haha). Chapter 4 (pgs.44-50) The fourth chapter is a look into the outside world.
This is really more or less a reality check after so much narrative about the utopian lifestyle of Animal Farm. The passage does clear up a few questions any inquisitive reader would have about the outside world. I mean, wouldn’t you think that the other neighboring farmers might think something’s up if one day they see a bunch of pigs supervising horses plow a field? Anyway, Orwell explains, It was lucky that the owners of the two farms which adjoined Animal Farm were on permanently bad terms. Anyone considering the allegorical significance of Foxwood and Pinchfield might guess that they are really just deep metaphors for the nations bordering Russia. (More on this in the metaphor profile section–click on side links.) Anyway, these farmers just shrug off the animal rule as a gimmick and don’t think much of it until they realized that the animals are actually being more productive than Jones had been.
They also get a little nervous when they realize that the Animal Farm pigeons have gone to neighboring farms, teaching other animals the Beasts of England song and encouraging them to revolt. So the farmers next strategy is to criticize the farm, saying that the animals practiced cannibalism, tortured one another with red-hot horseshoes, and had their females in common. This symbolizes the outcry of America and other Western nations during the beginning stages of the cold war. Ridicule was really the only tactic they had left after being scared to death of the Soviet powers after World War II. The real action in the chapter is when Jones and his men try to recapture the farm. Napoleon and his pig allies had long expected this to happen, so they plan a very extensive defense strategy.
When the Jones crew attacks, they were gored, kicked, bitten, and trampled on. So many of the men die, thus concluding the Battle of the Cowshed. The final metaphor is the reference to the shotgun of Mr. Jones. Really this part of the allegory is pretty neat.
The pigs decide to prop the gun up, pointing it toward the gate from which Mr. Jones and his men attacked. In Russian terms, the gun may represent the Soviet decision to begin making nuclear weapons to later use on the United States. Chapter (pgs.51-62) Orwell’s fifth chapter is an action-packed tale of two animals who leave the farm. First Mollie, who never was too fond of the whole idea of revolution since it meant she wouldn’t have any more sugar lumps, is seen talking to a neighbor man and letting him stroke her nose.
When confronted by Clover, she denies it, then runs away forever. None of the other animals ever mentioned Mollie again. Next, Orwell again addresses the enmity between Snowball and Napoleon. This time the two are arguing over Snowball’s plan to build a windmill. But during the debate, something terrible happens.
Instead of letting the animals decide whether or not to build the structure, Napoleon signals his private troop of attack dogs who chase Snowball off the stage and under the fence, never to be seen again. Soon Squealer is sent in to convince the animals that Napoleon really is a good leader, even though he tries to kill those who oppose him. Then he attempts to drum up more support for Napoleon with this propaganda: Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure. On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal.
He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? The classic hypocrisy seen here is too hard to miss. If all animals are really equal, then wouldn’t it be just as likely that Napoleon might make a mistake? Wouldn’t it be easier to make the right decision when all the animals are collaborating instead of placing their lives in the hands of a tyrant? Besides who did Mr. Jones turn into anyway? Chapter 6 (pgs.63-72) Chapter 6 as a series of foreshadows. The first involves, of course, Napoleon.
This time he is beginning to trade with the neighboring farmers, Foxwood and Pinchfield. The necessity comes from materials only humans can make. Nevertheless, the picture-perfect world the animals imagined had no conflicts like this. I mean, who could have imagined that Boxer might need new horseshoes? Well, ok maybe the anima …