Table of Contents
Animal Farm Chapter 2 Summary
Animal Farm Chapter 2: Old Major dies three nights after his famous speech. Over the next few months, the more intelligent animals start planning for a Rebellion even though they do not know when it would take place or if it would even occur within their lifetimes. Surprisingly, that opportunity presented itself just three months after old Major’s speech. After not being fed for two days due to Mr. Jones’ drunkenness, the animals revolt, kick out the humans and take over the farm, which they rename Animal Farm.
The animals’ entering of the farmhouse is an especially somber occasion as they quietly go from room to room. They unanimously agree that it should be preserved as a museum and never be lived in. The pigs then reveal their ability to read and write and write out, “The Seven Commandments,” which were viewed as the principles of Animalism reduced to a few words. In short, whatever has two legs is a friend, four legs or wings is an enemy, all animals are equal and should not be killed, and clothes, beds and alcohol should never be used. At the end, Napoleon, one of the pigs, deflects focus on excess milk. It soon disappears.
Animal Farm Chapter 2
Three nights after his famous speech, old Major dies.
The animals with more intelligence, viewed by the group as the pigs, take it upon themselves to prepare for a Rebellion even though they do not know if one will even take place within their lifetimes or, if it does, what the circumstances will be surrounding it. Amongst the pigs, Napoleon and Snowball generally take control although Squealer plays a significant role as well.
The pigs teach the others Animalism, which is a system of thought based on what old Major had communicated in his speech. It is not met with widespread acceptance, however, at least not at first. Some wonder why they should care about something that would likely happen after their deaths or was going to occur regardless of what they do. However, what seems to take much of the pigs’ time is dissuading some of the animals from believing what the raven, Moses, is saying. He oftentimes spoke of Sugarcandy Mountain, which is, according to Moses, where all animals go after they die.
Then, to everybody’s surprise, the Rebellion happens. What sparked it was Mr. Jones drinking even more than usual and allowing the farm to fall into disarray. The final straw came when he did not feed the animals for two days. That resulted in the frustrated animals revolting and ultimately driving Mr. and Mrs. Jones and all of the workmen off of the farm. This is followed by celebration, an emotion that is joined by shock at how quickly it happened. They soon destroy everything that had any connection with Mr. Jones.
A double ration of corn is served to everybody, “Beasts of England” is sung for seven straight times and the most restful sleep that any of them had ever had follows.
The next day, the animals tentatively and quietly make their way through the farmhouse. Afterwards, they unanimously decide that no animals should ever live there and that it would be a museum instead. Later that day, the pigs reveal that they had taught themselves to read and write over the past few months and then cross out the sign that says, “Manor Farm,” replacing it with “Animal Farm.”
The revealing of the Seven Commandments, the principles of Animalism simplified, follows. Much of what was written on this wall came from old Major’s speech: those with two legs is an enemy, four legs or wings is a friend, all animals are equal, clothes, beds and alcohol should not be used, and no animal should ever kill another one. All of the animals agree with the commandments.
As Snowball was encouraging them to do the harvest more quickly than was done under Mr. Jones’ watch, the cows voice their displeasure with not having been milked in more than a day. After they are milked, the animals wonder what should happen with the milk. Napoleon stands in front of it, says that they have more important matters to focus on and that it will be taken care of. Later that day, it disappears.
The most significant aspect of this chapter is that this is when the ideas that had been planted in everybody’s head during old Major’s speech in the first chapter are put into practice. How closely would those values be adhered to in the following chapters?
This is also the chapter where we are introduced to the pigs. In the first chapter, all we knew about them was that they sat at the front during old Major’s speech. It quickly becomes clear that they will most likely be leaders throughout the novella as they are said to be the smartest of the group. They also spent the first part of the second chapter learning how to read and write, providing them with another advantage over the rest.
One important aspect of what the pigs were doing during those three months that followed old Major’s death was how secretive many of their plans were including that they were learning how to read and write. If they were so secretive then, who’s to say that they won’t be secretive, perhaps even more so, once in power?
Although the Rebellion was quick and seemingly easy, all of the planning and convincing that went into taking advantage of a moment of opportunity if one was offered had everything to do with it appearing to be easy.
The ease of the Rebellion also showed that when a group of beings come together and rise up against those ruling them, a lot can be accomplished in a short time period. The issue is that a tremendous amount of planning and preparation often has to take place for this to occur.
It’s also interesting that so many buy into the idea of Sugarcandy Mountain. Then again, some would argue that the idea of Sugarcandy Mountain is no more unbelievable than that of Animalism and its seven commandments actually surviving the long haul.
Sugarcandy Mountain is also reminiscent of heaven, a mainstay in many religions around the world. The author might have been thinking of the famous Karl Marx quote, “Religion is the opium of the people,” when he was writing about Sugarcandy Mountain.
The disappearance of the milk at the end of the chapter, presumably at the hands of Napoleon, is a very obvious case of foreshadowing what was to come in the coming chapters. This also shows an almost immediate breaking of one of the commandments, that “all animals are equal.”
Animal Farm Chapter 2 Questions and Answers
At the foot of the orchard.
Napoleon and Snowflake.
He’s a large Berkshire who is known for getting his own way despite not being much of a talker.
He’s more inventive and talkative than Napoleon but doesn’t have quite as much character depth.
Old Major’s speech in the first chapter.
The availability of sugar and ribbons.
His talking about Sugarcandy Mountain so much is distracting the rest of the animals from planning for the revolution.
Mr. Jones drinking for two days and not feeding the animals during that time span.
He lost a lawsuit.
June 20 or 21 (Midsummer Day).
He left with Mrs. Jones.
Napoleon and Snowball.
Holding a piece of blue ribbon against her shoulder and admiring herself with it there.
They were buried.
Turn it into a museum.
They retrieved a spelling book that Mr. Jones’ children had owned from the garbage.
Friend. It was spelled, “Freind.”
They had not been milked in more than a day.
Mix it in the animals’ mash as Mr. Jones had done on occasion.
Attending to the harvest.
It appeared that Napoleon drank it as he stayed behind with it, and it disappeared that day.