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The story is set on a farm in England. The historical events referred to in the allegory actually took place in Russia in the first half of the twentieth century. By setting the fable in his own country, however, Orwell makes it clear that his themes are universal. What happened in Russia could just as easily happen in anyone’s backyard.
Mr. Jones –
Owns the Manor Farm
Is a drunkard who mismanages his farm
Represents the last Czar of Russia
Old Major –
Is a wise and benevolent prize boar.
Is highly respected by the animals.
Is a visionary dreamer and philosopher
Is the author of the Beast of England
Dies three days after revealing his dream
Represents Marx and Lenin.
Is a great planner and organizer.
Is considered by the others not to have depth of character.
Tries to implement Old Major’s ideas.
Is a large fierce-looking boar
Is not a talker but is used to getting his own way
Is secretive, ruthless, and cunning
Is considered by others to have depth of character
Squealer – is a small fat pig with twinkling eyes and round cheeks, who moves nimbly and has a shrill voice.
Is a brilliant and persuasive talker.
Is Napoleon’s spokesman and propagandist.
Boxer – is a tall, strong cart horse.
Is loyal and hard-working.
Is well-meaning but not very intelligent.
Coins the slogans “I will work harder” and “If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.”
Represents the unthinking working class.
Benjamin – is a donkey
Is the worst-tempered and the oldest animal on the farm
Is a loner who keeps his opinions to himself
Is a skeptical of change
Is a hard worker who never shirks his duties but never volunteers
Knows how to read but says there is nothing worth reading
Says “Donkeys live a long time”
Is devoted to Boxer
Clover – is a hard-working mare
Is not very intelligent
Is loving and maternal toward the other animals
Is the only animal whose thoughts are revealed
Mollie – is a vain white mare.
Enjoys pretty ribbons, sugar, and human attention
Is the only animal to leave the farm willingly
May symbolize the White Russians, who posed the Red Army during the civil war
Muriel – is a white goat
Is a good reader
Moses – is a raven
Was Mr. Jones’s pet
Flees with Jones but is later welcomed back by the pigs
Is given beer by the pigs, even though he does not work.
Soothes the animals with his story of Sugarcandy Mountain
Represents the Russian Orthodox Church and religious institutions in general
Minimus – is a pig who composes songs and poems honoring Napoleon.
The sheep – bleat whatever slogan they are taught by the pigs.
Represent the unthinking masses
The Dogs – are vicious killers who protect the pigs and do their bidding.
Represent Stalin’s secret police.
Mr. Pilkington – owns the neighboring Foxwood Farm.
Spends too much time fishing and hunting to run his farm efficiently
Represents England and the Allies
Mr. Frederick –
Owns the neighboring Pinchfield Farm
Cheats Napoleon and leads a disastrous attack on the farm.
Is a lawyer who serves as an intermediary between Napoleon and the outside world.
Is sly and self-serving.
Chapters 1 and 2 Vocabulary
Ensconced – settled comfortably
Tushes – tusks
Knacker – horse slaughterer
Trotter – pig’s foot
Dissentients – those who disagree
Mangel-wurzels – large beets
Vivacious – lively
Expounded – explained
Gambolled – skipped playfully
Scullery – kitchen storage area
Chapter 1 – Old Major reveals his dream. The animals learn Beasts of England.
Chapter 2 – Old Major dies. The animals drive out Mr. Jones. “The Manor” Farm becomes “Animal Farm.” The Seven Commandments of Animalism are written by the pigs.
Chapter 3 – The animals run the farm. Snowball organizes committees. Napoleon educates the puppies.
Mr. Jones tries to recapture the farm, but he and the other farmers are driven off in the Battle of Cowshed
Snowball proposes a windmill. Napoleon signals the dogs to drive Snowball away.
Napoleon cancels Sunday debates and announces that the windmill will be built after all.
Napoleon announces trade with the humans
The pigs move into the farmhouse
Napoleon blames Snowball for the collapse of the windmill
The hens protest when Napoleon decides to sell their eggs.
Squealer tells the animals that Snowball was in league with Mr. Jones from the start.
The dogs kill Napoleon’s enemies and some self-confesses traitors.
Napoleon abolishes the singing of Beasts of England.
Mr. Frederick pays for the pile of timber with forged banknotes.
Mr. Frederick and the other farmers attack the farm and destroy the windmill but are driven off by the animals in the Battle of the Windmill.
The pigs celebrate their “victory” by getting drunk.
Boxer collapses and is taken away by the slaughterer
Squealer says that Boxer died in the hospital
The pigs hold a memorial banquet for themselves in Boxer’s honor.
Few animals remain who remember life before the rebellion.
The pigs walk on hind legs, carry whips, and become indistinguishable from humans.