Animal Farm: How does the rebellion in the Manor Farm eventually take place?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The animals gather at night to talk and dream of a rebellion against Farmer Jones, but when the revolt comes, it is unplanned. It is a response to the straw that broke the camel's back, meaning that the animals finally get fed up and rebel. 

The background is as follows. Farmer Jones develops a drinking problem after losing a lawsuit. Both he and his men neglect the farm and the animals. One Midsummer's Eve, Farmer Jones goes and gets drunk at the Red Lion. Instead of caring for the animals, he comes home and falls asleep. The animals go so long without being fed and get so hungry that they break into the grain stores. At this moment, Farmer Jones wakes up. He and his men go after the animals, trying to drive them away from the grain with whips. Finally, the animals simply can't take the abuse anymore.

This was more than the hungry animals could bear. With one accord, though nothing of the kind had been planned beforehand, they flung themselves upon their tormentors. Jones and his men suddenly found themselves being butted and kicked from all sides. The situation was quite out of their control. They had never seen animals behave like this before, and this sudden uprising of creatures whom they were used to thrashing and maltreating just as they chose, frightened them almost out of their wits. After only a moment or two they gave up trying to defend themselves and took to their heels.

This is not so very different from the way the Russian Revolution actually unfolded in 1917. We see that part of the success of the revolt comes from how surprised the humans are that the animals would dare to rebel.

amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of Chapter 2, Old Major has died in his sleep (early March). The animals continue to meet several nights a week to discuss Animalism and to prepare for an eventual rebellion, which they suppose will happen sometime during their lifetimes. The rebellion happens sooner than they think. In late June, the animals are growing restless because Farmer Jones has been drinking and neglecting them more than usual. Having been unfed for so long, the animals break into the store-shed to eat. Jones and his men try to stop the animals but are overwhelmed. The fight does not last long and the animals are stunned that the rebellion succeeds as spontaneously and as quickly as it does. The animals get rid of anything associated with man's domination of animals: reins, harnesses, etc. The rebellion becomes a historical fact when the animals change the name, Manor Farm, to Animal Farm. They also write the Seven Commandments of Animalism on the wall of the big barn.