Summary and Analysis Chapter 2



After the death of old Major, the animals spend their days secretly planning the rebellion, although they are unsure when it will occur. Because of their intelligence, the pigs are placed in charge of educating the animals about Animalism, the name they give to the philosophy expounded by Major in Chapter 1. Among the pigs, Snowball and Napoleon are the most important to the revolution. Despite Mollie's concern with ribbons and Moses' tales of a place called Sugarcandy Mountain, the pigs are successful in conveying the principles of Animalism to the others.

The rebellion occurs when Jones again falls into a drunken sleep and neglects to feed the animals, who break into the store-shed in search of a meal. When Jones and his men arrive, they begin whipping the animals but soon find themselves being attacked and chased off the farm. The triumphant animals then destroy all traces of Jones, eat heartily, and revel in their newfound freedom. After a tour of Jones' house, they decide to leave it untouched as a museum. Snowball changes the sign reading "Manor Farm" to "Animal Farm" and paints the Seven Commandments of Animalism on the wall of the barn. The cows then give five buckets of milk, which Napoleon steals.


The death of old Major marks the moment when the animals must begin to put his theory into practice. For the remainder of the novel, Orwell depicts the ever-widening gulf between the vision expounded by old Major and the animals' attempt to realize it.

The names of the pigs chosen to lead the revolution reveal their personalities. Snowball's name suits the revolution in general, which "snowballs" and grows until, at the novel's end, the animal rulers completely resemble their previous masters. Napoleon's name suggests his stern leadership style (he has "a reputation for getting his own way") and, of course, his incredible lust for power, which becomes more pronounced with each chapter. Squealer, as his name suggests, becomes the mouthpiece of the pigs. His habit of "skipping from side to side" while arguing "some difficult point" dramatizes, in a physical way, what the smooth-talking pig will later do in a rhetorical sense: Every time he is faced with a question or objection, he will "skip" around the topic, using convoluted logic to prove his point. In short, he eventually serves as Napoleon's Minister of Propaganda.

Like all patriots and revolutionaries, Snowball is earnest and determined to win as many converts to his cause as he can. Two animals, however, momentarily fluster him. Mollie's concern over sugar and ribbons is offensive to Snowball because he (as a proponent of Animalism) urges his fellow beasts to sacrifice their luxuries. To him, Mollie is a shallow materialist, concerned only with her own image and comforts. Like Mollie, Moses proves irksome to Snowball because Moses fills the heads of the animals with tales of Sugarcandy Mountain.

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