Search Menu

Contents

Old Major

Old Major

As a democratic socialist, Orwell had a great deal of respect for Karl Marx, the German political economist, and even for Vladimir Ilych Lenin, the Russian revolutionary leader. His critique of Animal Farm has little to do with the Marxist ideology underlying the Rebellion but rather with the perversion of that ideology by later leaders. Major, who represents both Marx and Lenin, serves as the source of the ideals that the animals continue to uphold even after their pig leaders have betrayed them.

Though his portrayal of Old Major is largely positive, Orwell does include a few small ironies that allow the reader to question the venerable pig’s motives. For instance, in the midst of his long litany of complaints about how the animals have been treated by human beings, Old Major is forced to concede that his own life has been long, full, and free from the terrors he has vividly sketched for his rapt audience. He seems to have claimed a false brotherhood with the other animals in order to garner their support for his vision.

Test Your Understanding with the Old Major Quiz

Take a quiz on this section
Test Your Understanding with the Old Major Quiz

TAKE THE QUIZ
+
#

OLD MAJOR QUIZ

What does Squealer excel at?
Being ruthless
Hard physical labor
Test Your Understanding with the Old Major Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ

Old Major QUIZ

+
Test Your Understanding with the Old Major Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ
5 more notes :

by SHEKOOFEH493, September 04, 2012

6. Which of the animals does most of the heavy labor and adopts the motto :Ï will work harder"? Boxer
7. Boxer, who believes that he has unintentionally killed a stable boy in the chaos, expresses his regret at taking a life, even though it is a human one. Snowball tells him not to feel guilty, asserting that “the only good human being is a dead one.”
8. After the banishment of Snowball, the animals learn that Napoleon supports the windmill project
9.The pigs begin living in the farmhouse, and rumor has it that they e... Read more

3 Comments

1379 out of 1677 people found this helpful

question

by juanelchingon, December 01, 2012

wat wud have happened if napoleon was kicked out and snowball was leader again

33 Comments

103 out of 347 people found this helpful

Snowball's Return

by Adam_M_Johnson, January 16, 2013

I would have loved to see Snowball come back, apparently as would most people. But that is only while looking at the literal sense of the book. If you look at the book on a deeper level, when you notice the satire and allegory, you will see that Snowball had to leave and not come back, for he represents Leon Trotsky, a man who was driven out of Russia by Joseph Stalin (Napoleon).

7 Comments

62 out of 74 people found this helpful

See all 52 readers' notes   →

Buy on BN.com and save!

Animal Farm

Animal Farm (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)

Got it?
Take a quiz on All Major Characters →