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Why does Old Major consider man as the only real enemy that the animals have? (chapter 1)

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dancelover340 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:14 AM via web

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Why does Old Major consider man as the only real enemy that the animals have? (chapter 1)

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kathleennichols | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 8, 2012 at 5:16 PM (Answer #1)

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Major blames the animal's suffering on the oppression of people. Animals are used for what the can give such as eggs, milk, food and are offered nothing in return. 

The animals are abused and treated as slaves. They are fed only enough to survive, then they are slaughtered when they are no longer useful. Their short lives are laborious and miserable because of the treatment they receive from humans. 

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:46 PM (Answer #2)

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Old Major is the oldest and wisest animal on the farm. He is even wiser than most of the humans, but he doesn't know everything. His wisdom is somewhat limited and outdated. He is probably intended to stand in for the great Karl Marx himself, author of Das Kapital, which is the bible of communism. Marx believed that if the workers rebelled and started their own society based on the "dictatorship of the proletariat" that would lead to a worldwide utopia. Old Major has an equally simplistic solution: Just overthrow the humans and let the animals govern themselves, with their motto being "From each according to his ability. To each according to his needs." Right away it is obvious that some animals such as the horse and the cows can contribute a whole lot more to the collective farm than others such as the cat and the rats. Would the animals who contribute a lot be willing to share everything equally with animals who contribute little or nothing? This has always been a problem with socialistic and communistic programs. Furthermore, there will always be unscrupulous and greedy individuals who want to consume more than others, who believe that "Some animals are more equal than others." Old Major considers man the only enemy because he does not live to see the inevitable outcome of revolutions, which is that new despots replace the old ones.

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