Chapter I Summary and Analysis

Summary

Animal Farm opens as Mr. Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, drunkenly locks the animals away and goes to bed. As soon as Mr. Jones leaves, all the animals hurry to the big barn. Word has spread that Old Major, a well-regarded prize white boar, has had a strange dream and wishes to communicate it to the rest of the farm animals. Once all the animals have gathered in the barn, Old Major sits on a platform and begins to discuss the suffering they endure on the farm. He points out that the animals are forced to slave away all day long for only meager rations of food. The horses are deprived of their foals, the chickens are deprived of their eggs, and the cows are deprived of their milk. All the products of the animals’ labor are stolen, Old Major claims, by man. As if this is not bad enough, as soon as the animals outlive their usefulness, they will be brutally slaughtered. Declaring that “all animals are comrades” and “all men are enemies,” Old Major tells the animals that one day, there must be a rebellion against human cruelty. When the animals manage to finally overthrow man, they will find freedom and riches. Inspired, the animals take a vote and decide that all animals, even wild ones outside the farm, are comrades. Old Major cautions the animals that even if they should successfully overthrow their human owners, they must take care to never become like humans themselves. Specifically, they must never live in a house, sleep in a bed, wear clothes, drink, smoke, touch money, or trade. Finally, Old Major reveals that his strange dream was of a future where man has disappeared, and he says this dream made him recall a song from his childhood titled “Beasts of England.” He teaches this song to the animals, and they all enthusiastically...

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