Animal Farm Chapter II Summary and Analysis

George Orwell

Chapter II Summary and Analysis


Three days after his speech, Old Major dies in his sleep. For the next few months, the pigs make preparations for the rebellion. These efforts are led by the two most eminent pigs: Snowball and Napoleon. Snowball is considered vivacious and inventive, while Napoleon is quieter but has a reputation for getting his way. A third pig named Squealer assists Snowball and Napoleon. Squealer is very persuasive, and the other animals like to say that he can “turn black into white.” The pigs distill Old Major’s teachings into a theory that they call “Animalism.” Every week, the pigs hold several meetings in which they try to teach Animalism to the rest of the farm. At first, many of the animals are apathetic or struggle against an ingrained sense of loyalty to Mr. Jones. The pigs’ task is made even harder by Moses, a raven who tells the animals about a paradise called Sugarcandy Mountain, where they will go when they die. Though the animals dislike Moses because he does no labor, the pigs still have to work hard to persuade several of them that Sugarcandy Mountain is not real. The two cart horses, Boxer and Clover, have difficulty thinking for themselves but easily absorb the teachings of the pigs and help relate them simplistically to the other animals. Meanwhile, Mollie, a white mare, shows some resistance to Animalism, asking whether she will get to wear ribbons and eat sugar cubes when Mr. Jones is gone.

The rebellion comes sooner than any of the animals expected as Mr. Jones begins drinking even more and neglecting his duties on the farm. One day, the animals break into the store shed to help themselves because Mr. Jones has forgotten to feed them for a whole day. When Mr. Jones realizes what they have done, he assembles his men and they close in on the animals with whips. Enraged by this injustice, the animals all at once begin to attack, forcing Mr. Jones and the men to flee the farm. Mrs. Jones spies the commotion from the farmhouse and slips away quietly. Locking the gate after the men, the animals run excitedly through the...

(The entire section is 982 words.)