70 pages 2 hours read

George Orwell

Animal Farm

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1945

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Chapters 1-4

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

Mr. Jones, a farmer who is a heavy drinker, shuts up Manor Farm for the night and retires with his wife. With their owner out of the way, the farm animals gather in the big barn to hear a speech by Major, a majestic old boar. Major tells of a dream he had in which mankind had disappeared from the earth and animals enjoyed perfect freedom and harmony. The boar explains that human beings are enemies because they exploit animals for their own use and don’t let them keep the produce of their labor, as a result of which their lives are “miserable, laborious, and short” (5).

Major encourages his fellow animals to rebel against humans and establish an animal-led society at Manor Farm. He tells them they should treat all animals as their “comrades” and band together to overthrow humans. To rally them to the cause, Major teaches the animals a song, “Beasts of England,” which they sing with the “wildest excitement” (10). Hearing the noise, Jones gets out of bed and fires a gun into the farmyard. The animals scatter and return to their sleeping places.