How does Orwell position the reader to understand what is happening on Animal Farm before the characters themselves?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would think that the first chapter is highly revealing in this element.  Orwell uses the first chapter to bring out the subtle details in the animals that will play a large role in the development of the plot and the characterizations of the animals.  This is done through small and intricate details.  One such detail is that the pigs sit in the front of the room, listening and hanging on every word that Old Major says.  As Clover and Boxer enter the room, they walk gingerly in order to not trample the other animals that are smaller than them.  They also pay attention the the smaller animals, like the ducklings, who lack any other guidance. The debate about whether to include or exclude the wild animals also helps to reveal how specific details are brought out in this one chapter that will play a larger role as the novel develops.  I think that Orwell uses this critical opening chapter as a way to bring forth details and characterizations that help to detail much of the animals and reflect more of them that is yet to be seen by both the readers and the characters in the novel.

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