Identify the significant events in Animal Farm.

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

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Any summary of Orwell's novel would have to begin with the animals being mistreated at Jones' hands.  This exploitation gives rise to Old Major's speech, encouraging animals to take over the control of their own lives and the espousing of Animalism as a philosophy by which one can live their lives.  The next critical element would be to focus on the night Jones gets drunk and forgets to tend to the animals.  The revolution that follows ends up bringing the animals into power because Jones and the other humans leave.  With the animals in control of their own destiny and their own consciousness, the next detail that would have to be mentioned would be the pigs assent into power.  This would also involve them learning how to read on their own, ensuring that the best food mash goes to them, and the use of Squealer's propaganda to make sure that all of the animals respect them and their rule on the farm.  Napoleon's rise to leadership can also be explained here in terms of him securing the puppies at a young age so he can train them to become his own personal security force.  As life becomes challenging on the farm, the pigs' control tightens.  As there are more challenges to face on the farm, Napoleon's control increases.  In order to demonstrate this, Napoleon uses Squealer to rewrite history, conveniently convince the animals that life under Jones was worse, and then use his personal security force to punish those who go against his rule.  As Napoleon and the pigs become more in control and wither out resistance, they end up becoming the "new humans" in the farm, in which life does not really change except to see Jones' rule replaced with that of the pigs'.  Seeing that this is a real quick summary, you are going to have to go back and figure out where some of the other characters like Snowball or Boxer fit into your own description of the events.

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