What are 6 key points of Old Major's speech from Animal Farm?

Six key points from Old Major's speech in Animal Farm include his claim that life could be better for the animals. He stresses that there is no fair return for their labor, animals are not allowed to live out their lives naturally, and once a weakness is exposed, they are disposed of. Not only Man, but all his habits, must be removed from the animals' lives completely, without delay. Animals must never forget human cruelty or tyrannize other animals.

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Old Major's speech in Animal Farm sets the scene for the animals' revolt. It also foreshadows the problems that will soon become evident as animals stray further and further away from his advice and instructions; the basis of the commandments.

Old Major is aware of his influence on the animals, and uses his speech to inspire them to action—something he feels he must do now before it is too late. He reminds them that life could, and should, be so much better, pointing out that the "nature of this life of ours" has only one real cause, and that is Mankind.

There is no real return on the animals' labor, and they toil all day for little reward. "Bare rations and a stall" are certainly not sufficient, especially when Man does not put in equal effort, but rather has "stolen" everything the animals have worked for. The fact that man shows no respect and simply disposes of animals if they exhibit any weakness or illness further supports Old Major's claims.

It is critical to Old Major to stress that Man is the "root cause" of all their difficulties, which is why removing Man is the only way forward. He emphasizes that all the habits of Man represent evil, and he warns the animals that they have no "common interest" with Man.

All animals are "equal," he claims, strengthening his case against the "enemy." Humans kill, but animals must never be like that. They must ensure that they never resemble humans or forget that they are the victims of human tyranny, and they must never oppress other animals.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on June 24, 2020
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1. Old Major announces that animals' lives are short-lived, laborious, and difficult. Old Major emphasizes the miserable existence of the animals on the farm and elaborates on their painful lives.

2. Old Major then mentions that life should not be lived this way and comments on the abundance of food and resources available. He mentions that the land is also fertile and says that there are many more animals than humans on the farm and throughout the country.

3. Old Major says that humans are solely responsible for the animals' dire conditions because they oppress and rob the animals of everything they produce. He comments on the malevolent, greedy nature of humans and blames their authoritative leadership on the animals' miserable lives.

4. Old Major proposes that the only solution to end their oppression is to eliminate man from the equation and usurp power by rebelling against their tyrannical masters.

5. Old Major then encourages that animals to remain unified and supportive of each other while simultaneously warning them against interacting with humans.

6. Old Major lays out the tenets and principles that will eventually become the Seven Commandments. He also describes a wonderful dream, where all the animals live equally in an egalitarian society ruled by themselves. The pigs will eventually develop a system of thought known as Animalism derived from old Major's tenets.

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First, Major states that life for animals in England is miserable. Essentially, they are in slavery. This sad state of life is not because of the animals themselves, nor is it a result of the climate and landscape they live in. His second major point is that humans are the cause of their miserable lives. The animals have meager shelter and only receive enough food to stay alive and work. Humans steal most of the product of their labor. 

A third point is the solution. Get rid of humans and the animals will be in control of their labor and products of that labor. Following this, their living conditions should improve. 

Major adds that man (humans) is the only creature that produces nothing: no eggs, milk, and no pulling of the plow. Man is useless in this sense but is somehow the lord of all animals. And for no logical reason, it is man who keeps the eggs, milk, and fruits of that which is planted in the plowed fields. 

A fifth point is that, under the authority of humans, all animals will come to a gruesome end to life, and sometimes this will be premature. 

A sixth point is that the solution to this is to rebel. The only way to get rid of man's oppressive authority is to simply get rid of man altogether. The animals must stick together in this rebellion. 

Having said all of this, Major organizes a vote asking if wild animals are their comrades. They conclude that the wild animals are comrades. Again, this establishes the unity and camaraderie of the animals and their opposition to humans. 

Major summarizes his points which will become the commandments of Animalism: 

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. And remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him. Even when you have conquered him, do not adopt his vices. No animal must ever live in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade. All the habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal. 

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