What are the important spoken elements that emerge from the meeting in the barn in the first chapter?

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

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In terms of important elements that emerge from the dialogue in the barn meeting, I would have to say that Old Major's speech occupies the greatest importance.  The other animals don't say much.  They simply listen to Old Major's vision and his philosophy.  It is evident that Old Major is old and his words acquire even more significance in this light.  Old Major talks about how the animals have to band together, represent a sense of solidity and coherence in a setting that pits them against the humans.  Old Major speaks about the world in which the animals exist, one in which they are exploited by those in the position of power over them.  Old Major speaks about how this exploitation will end when the animals embrace "Animalism," or the idea that the animals can own their own labor and exist in a world devoid of exploitation at the hands of humans.  The ending of the lecture in which Old Major teaches the Animals the song, "Beasts of England," is something that enables all of the animals to speak at the end of the chapter, representing that the first time they all speak is to sing a song of unity and collectivity.  The words spoken in the barn help to establish the fundamental dynamic of humans vs. animals that help to govern the novel and to make sure that basic dialogue or pattern of recognition that will establish characters and their motivations is evident.

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