What are the moods/atmospheres in Chapter one of Animal Farm by George Orwell?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most dominant moods in the first chapter is the excitement about Animalism.  The atmosphere prior to Old Major's speech is one of interest and anticipation for what the veteran pig will say.  The animals realize he is at a point in his life where time is running out for him and they recognize the "urgency of now."  As he speaks, Old Major delivers on their hopes.  He is able to whip the crowd of animals into a frenzy of chorus as they sing "Beasts of England" in a unified field of experience.  At this point, the atmosphere is excitement and zeal about the possibility of what can as opposed to what is.

The mood of intimidation is brought out in Old Major's speech in terms of Farmer Jones takes advantage of the animals.  The animals resentment helps to fill the atmosphere with a sense of anger about how they are abused and exploited.  When Farmer Jones breaks up the meeting and the animals scatter about the farm, this intimidating mood is evident. Such a shift from the exuberance and excitement about Old Major's speech to the intimidation experienced at the hands of Jones helps to foreshadow the need for revolution and the urgency of change that the animals feel.