I am a donkey that lives on the Manor Farm run by an inept farmer named
Mr. Jones. It all starts one night
when old Major, the prize boar, has a dream and wishes to tell all the animals
about it. We all troop into the
barn. Old Major lies on a raised
platform, quite comfortably it seemed. The
dogs and the pigs sit up front near the platform.
The hens flocked to the windowsills and the pigeons perched in the
rafters. Boxer, a huge hardworking
but not particularly intelligent horse, makes his appearance, with Clover, a
motherly mare. Muriel, the goat,
and I settle down behind the horses. The
other animals call me cynical, bad tempered, but I have lived a long life and
seen a lot in my years on this farm. I
am quite attached to Boxer though; it is peaceful to quietly graze with him in
the paddock on a Sunday, for words are not needed between us.
At the meeting, Old Major speaks about the nature of our lives under
Jones. He tells us about the misery
that we are bound to live with for the rest of our enslaved lives, but I have
known for a long time the true role of animals in the world: slaves, workers,
and property. Old Major then
describes to us his dream of a perfect world where all animals are equal and
humans are abolished. It is a dream
and nothing more, for it is obviously impractical.
He sang us a song called ďThe Beasts of EnglandĒ which all the
animals seemed extremely excited about. I
donít see the source of their enthusiasm, but then of course, donkeys live a
long time. None of you have ever
seen a dead donkey.
old Majorís death, his ideas are taken up by the pigs, namely Napoleon,
Snowball, and Squealer. Napoleon is
a fierce, large, commanding, but silent boar.
Snowball is a gregarious, vivacious leader.
Squealer is a fat, little pig, adept at communicating ideas in a
convincing manner. The three of them create this whole philosophy of Animalism,
all nonsense if you ask me. They
hold foolish meetings in the night to teach the animals the principles of their
philosophy. How ignorant can these
animals be, to actually believe that it is possible to achieve utopia?
Moses, the raven, is one of the more intelligent animals, but he is not
officially a member of the farm. He
is the pet of Mr. Jones and advocates the idea of a better place after death
called Sugercandy Mountain. Mr.
Jones has recently fallen into hard times and resorts to alcohol to forget his
problems. One day, he is drunk in a pub in Willingdon and does not
return to the farm until late at night. In
the meantime, his men forget to feed us. My
stomach grumbles all night and finally, one of the cows goes ahead and kicks
open the doors to the grain bins. Ahh,
but our pleasure did not last long for Jones wakes up and brings whips to punish
us. Together, we butt and kick the
men until they flee. Perhaps this
act of rebellion may be regretted later on, but even I felt some satisfaction at
giving Jones a hard kick. Snowball
and Napoleon come up with Seven Commandments to live by and inscribe them on the
wall. After we returned from
bringing in the harvest, we noticed that the milk from the cows is gone.
I can see it happening already and itís only been one day after the
rebellion. It was stupid of me to
think even for a moment that a rebellion such as ours could bring a perfect,
equal life for all; the natural state of society is one of classes and the
ruling of the weak by the powerful.
Despite our newfound freedom, we must continue to work hard to keep the farm functioning. The pigs are naturally assuming leadership for supervision and direction of our efforts. They donít actually do any work but watch and call out instructions. Our harvest is more successful than it ever had been under Jones. Everyone is happy to work hard because the produce is returned to us. Boxer seems to possess an air of immortality and unlimited strength. Always, he is seen lending himself where the work is most frustrating. His motto has become ďI will work harder.Ē Everyone works according to his/her abilities and there is no quarrelling, biting, or grumbling. Mollie, the vain, white horse, and the cat shirk work occasionally, but this new arrangement is working out much better than I expected. The physical demands of life now are very similar to those in the days of Jones, but everyone sees the situation in a different light: as free animals supporting ourselves. Every Sunday, we get a day off from work and we attend a flag raising ceremony as well as the weekly meeting. Work for the coming week is planned and the pigs, Napoleon and Snowball being the most active, put forth resolutions and hold debates. Napoleon and Snowball never seem to agree on anything and Snowball has been setting up pointless committees. However, he did give reading and writing classes to all the animals. Again I marvel at the ignorance of these animals. It seems that only the pigs and I can read well, but there really is nothing worth reading, so I have no chance to exercise my skill. Further due to the ignorance of many animals, the Seven Commandments are reduced to one; four legs good, two legs bad; so that every animal can learn it by heart. Napoleon disapproves of Snowballís committees and says that educating the youth is most important. As soon as the two dogs have their puppies, Napoleon spirits them away and keep them in seclusion. That act smacks of something Jones might have done. The milk from the cows and the windfall apples are reserved for the pigs. That fool of a pig Squealer goes about justifying the action with a ridiculous explanation, but everyone except me believes him. I do not consider it worthy to enlighten these animals of the truth of the matter.