Major begins with striking statements. First, he says that he will not be alive much longer. Next, he claims that he now understands the nature of life as well as any living being. Unfortunately, the nature of life (of the animals) is "miserable, laborious, and short." Animals live the lives of slaves. Major then proceeds to eliminate possible causes of this terrible existence. It is not the climate that causes their misery. Major concludes that man is responsible for this miserable life. He notes:
Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word—Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.
Therefore, the solution is clear. Remove man and his domination of the animals' lives, and their lives will be improved. The conflict is clear: animals vs. man. Major encourages the animals to rebel. Major repeats the simple notion of this conflict. "All men are enemies. All animals are comrades." Major dies, the animals rebel, and the plot is then driven by the animals' struggle not to repeat man's mistakes.