Detailed plot summary - Part 1

Old Major inspires the animals to rebel

Old Major delivers a speech to all the farm animals. He points out that their lives are difficult, full of hardship and that they live in slavery because of the way Farmer Jones treats them. According to Old Major 'All men are enemies. All animals are equal' and one day there will be a rebellion. He then teaches the animals a song called 'Beasts of England'. The song is about animals overthrowing man and being free.

Animalism is established

Old Major dies three nights later and three pigs, Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer take Old Major's teaching and turn it into a way of thinking called 'Animalism'.

The animals rebel

The rebellion comes when Mr Jones forgets to feed the animals and a fed-up cow pushes her way into the store-shed to look for food. The rest of the animals go in to help themselves and Mr Jones and his men try to get the animals back in line but the animals chase them off the farm - it belongs to them now. The animals rejoice in their victory. They change the name of the farm to 'Animal Farm' and decide on seven commandments to live by that focus on animal equality and avoiding behaving like Jones.

Snowball, painting the commandments on the barn, a scene from the 1954 film of Animal Farm.
Snowball paints the commandments on the barn, in a scene from the 1954 film

Life is good after the rebellion

The animals are happy, they work well together and more efficiently than Mr Jones ever did. Boxer the horse always makes a huge effort, his motto is 'I will work harder!'. The pigs begin to teach the others to read and write. It is hinted though that Napoleon steals some milk for himself after the first day's harvest.