The drunken Mr. Jones fails to finish his chores before going to bed and he leaves the chicken coup open.
Major holds a meeting in the barn and he tells the animals about his dream for a better future for all the animals on the farm – a world in which
they rule themselves and live in freedom and peace. This new world would have a set of rules by which the animals would live, e.g. that they would not live in a house and they would always walk on
four legs, except for the chickens. He teaches them a song called, ‘Beasts of England’ -
“Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
beasts of every land and clime,
hearken to my joyful tidings
of the golden future time.
“Rings shall vanish from our noses,
and the harness from our back,
bit and spur shall rust forever,
cruel whips no more shall crack.
“For that day we all must labor,
though we die before it break;
cows and horses, geese and turkeys,
all must toil for freedom’s sake.”
The noise wakens the farmer who fires his gun into the animals to suppress the noise.
It requires an effort of imagination by the reader to truly appreciate the strange situation of this storyline.
Orwell helps us to do this by telling the story exclusively through the eyes of the animals, so we soon view them as a collection of “citizens”.
Although we view events from the animals’ perspective, the view is always kept impersonal. This approach keeps the human beings always in the background and the main action is contained within the animal world.
Orwell is anxious to provide a character analysis of the main animals and he does this right at the start through the descriptive paragraphs
covering the animals entrance to the big barn, for example – in describing Boxer the cart-horse, Orwell says that he has “a white stripe down his nose which gave him a somewhat stupid appearance, and in
fact he was not of first-rate intelligence”.
He uses other succinct phrases in dealing with the other animals. By and large, most of the animals do not change throughout the storyline. The livestock retain enough animal characteristics for the story to have authenticity, but their ideas and dialogue are distinctly human.
The reader quickly adapts to this idea that animals can think and talk like humans on hearing Old Major’s speech.
The doctrine that Old Major spouts is clearly similar to the ideas of Marx and also Lenin. From these principles will emerge ‘Animal Farm’.
Although the animals will soon adopt Old Major’s ideology, they will then lose the peaceful pastoral scene that Old Major describes in his song,
‘Beasts of England’.
Old Major’s dream for the future is na've and over-sentimentalized. Perhaps he thinks it will never take place, and that animals will
always be slaves of humans.
It is important that the reader quickly establishes the nature of each animal in the storyline, and so the paragraphs dealing with their entry
into the barn should be read in depth.