Animal Farm

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Animal Farm Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Old Major dies three nights later, but his message takes hold. The pigs are the smartest of the animals, and over the next three months two pigs in particular emerge as leaders: the lively Snowball and the powerful Napoleon. A third pig, Squealer, gives eloquent speeches that can convince anyone of anything. These three pigs turn Old Major's ideas into a philosophy called Animalism.
Like Karl Marx, Old Major dies before the revolution that his ideas inspired takes place. Like Lenin, his leadership is inherited by two underlings. At this point, the pigs believe in Old Major's ideas completely.
Themes
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
The pigs teach Animalism to the animals, overcoming the worry, apathy, and selfishness of the others. For instance, Mollie worries that after the revolution she won't get any more sugar or be able to wear ribbons in her hair. Snowball tells her she shouldn't want sugar and ribbons, since these are signs of her slavery.
Differences already divide the animals. The pigs understand Animalism, while the less intelligent animals don't. Mollie's ridiculous concerns reflect the middle-class's selfishness materialism.
Themes
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
The pigs also have to contend with Moses the raven, who spreads tales of a wonderful place called Sugarcandy Mountain where animals go when they die. Most of the animals dislike Moses because he never does any work, but many also believe in Sugarcandy Mountain.
The pigs fear belief in the afterlife might make the animals less revolutionary. Moses symbolizes the Russian Orthodox Church, which the Tsars used to control the lower classes.
Themes
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Boxer and Clover show the most devotion to Animalism. Neither is very smart, but their belief in animal equality never wavers, and they never miss a secret meeting.
Though unsophisticated, Boxer and Clover value the essence of Animalism: equality among animals.
Themes
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
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The revolution happens much earlier and more easily than the animals expect. In June, on Midsummer's Eve, Mr. Jones gets so drunk in town that he forgets to feed the animals, and his lazy workers ditch their farm work to go hunting. The hungry animals break into the feed shed, which wakes up the sleeping Mr. Jones. He and his men start whipping the animals, who grow furious and attack, driving the men and Mr. Jones from the farm. Moses the raven flies after them.
Like the Russian Revolution, the animals' revolution results from their rage at what they perceive, correctly, as mistreatment. Later on, when the pigs seize power, they take special care to make sure that the animals don't perceive their mistreatment.
Themes
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
The joyful animals destroy Mr. Jones's whips, reins, and halters. They sing "Beasts of England," treat themselves to double rations, and go to sleep happy. The next morning the animals run around the farm surveying their territory. They break down the farmhouse door, tour it, and decide it should be preserved as a museum. Finally, the pigs, who had secretly taught themselves to read and write in the previous three months, repaint the sign at the gate of the farm to read: Animal Farm.
Old Major's utopian dream seems to have come true. Orwell describes the animals as a single group, indicating their equality. The tools Jones used to enslave them are destroyed. The renaming of the farm symbolizes their self-mastery, and mirrors the change from Russia to the Soviet Union.
Themes
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Back in the barn, the pigs paint the Seven Commandments of Animalism on the wall:
  1. Whatever has two legs is an enemy.
  2. Whatever has four legs or wings is a friend.
  3. No animal shall wear clothes.
  4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
  5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
  6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
  7. All animals are equal.
The Seven Commandments are the animals' version of a constitution. The public posting of the Commandments seems to ensure that the animals' rights will never be violated again and that corrupt human behavior will be permanently outlawed.
Themes
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Snowball cries out that it's time to go to the hayfield, where the animals should aim to finish the harvest more quickly than Jones and his men ever did. But just then the cows begin to moo because they haven't been milked in a day. After a little work the pigs figure out how to milk the cows, and produce five pails of milk. Napoleon then shouts that they must get to the harvest, that Comrade Snowball will lead them to the fields and that he, Napoleon, will follow a little later. When the animals return from the fields that night the milk is gone.
Now that Jones is gone, Napoleon's self-interest separates him from the other animals: he wants the milk for himself. And Napoleon, who clearly cares more about himself than about Animalism, realizes he can manipulate the animals' revolutionary spirit to get what he wants. A minute after the Commandments are posted, Napoleon has started to undermine them.
Themes
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon