Animal Farm Chapter Summaries
In the first chapter of Animal Farm, Major, “”the prize Middle White boar””(page 3) gets his fellow animals to come and listen to what he has to say. Old Major is the most honored among the animals, and his report that he has something to share is met with great suspense. In the following section from chapter one of Animal Farm, Old Major tells the gathered animals:
This single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep–and all of them living in a comfort and a dignity that are now almost beyond our imagining. Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labor is stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word–Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever.(page 7)
Reading this book, one would be safe in deducing that man is the root of the animals’ problems. This thought would, of course, be wrong. Man is not the root of the animals’ problems; the lust for power and desire to obstruct one’s vision upon others is the root of the problem. This is showed by Napoleon, a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar with a reputation for getting his own way.(page 16) the reader can deduce, is a model of Joseph Stalin, the ruler of the Soviet Union. Stalin was a murderous but intelligent and rigorously manipulative leader who schemed and killed his way to the top of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), where he remained until he died in 1953. Among his many victims (which was in the millions) were fellow revolutionaries he considered his competitors as threats to his determination to rule alone atop the Communist Party.
No, as the book typifies, man is not the root of the animals’ problems. The animals believe that by getting Farmer Jones and his men off the farm, they can create a better, fairer, more humane system of living. In the very beginning, this works really well, though this will not last long. The animals make the Seven Commandments that state all animals are equal, that no animal will kill another animal and no sleeping in beds or drinking alcohol, for example. At first, they all work together in a beautiful little society.
The riddance of the humans doesn’t end their problems, however, for their problems are in the desire of some animals, mainly Napoleon, to have power over the other animals. He plots and schemes and is willing to use lies and trickery to gain control. He lacks empathy and doesn’t care who he hurts to get ahead of the rest of the animals. He uses the means of the revolution for his personal gain and corrupts others to do so. Unfortunately, many of the animals are too trusting and aren’t knowledgeable enough to know how to go against him. As we see in the book, until the animals can find a way to root out or restrain the evil within themselves, they will simply keep doing the human system of exploiting other for their own gain
If man was really the source of the animals’ problems then it would follow that the riddance of Mr. Jones would bring about a utopia for the farm. But, as we see from the plot, this does not happen. In contrast, after Mr. Jones’ departure, there is a rapid ignorance for equality and a general decline in the quality of many of the animals’ lives.
As such, it is more precise to propose that the source of the animals’ problems is Napoleon”most specifically, his desire for total control of he farm. This is shown a little early in the book when he steals the milk and puts it in the pig’s food, instead of sharing it equally among the animal. Later, in Chapter Five, Napoleon shows his true intentions when he gets the dogs to sick Snowball and forces him to leave the farm. From that point, it is clear that Napoleon is self-interested and fiercely determined. By the end of the book, Napoleon is just as dictatorial as his former human masters, if not more than them.
In short, the root of the problem challenging the animals in Orwell’s book is not man. The animals are not better off without Mr. Jones watching over their lives. The pigs are even worse than man, given their skills at political schemes and Napoleon’s dictatorial tendencies.
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