Animal Farm: Setting the Stage

Old Major

Old Major is Mr Jones’ prize boar. He gathers all the animals together in the big barn to make a speech. He tells the animals that mankind and Mr Jones are the ‘enemy’, it is their fault that the animals’ lives are miserable. He points out how cruel the men are to the animals – consuming without producing. He says that one day a rebellion will come – the animals will overthrow mankind and live in harmony.

Old Major is very intelligent, well-respected, an excellent speaker and an inspiration to the animals. He ends his speech by teaching the animals a song called Beasts of England. It is about a time when animals are free and humans are overthrown. He dies shortly after giving his speech and the other pigs take what they learnt from him and create ‘Animalism’, a set of rules for animals to live by.


(30 points) Analyze Old Major’s rhetoric.  How does his word usage tug at the emotions of the animals?  What are the key words he uses to get them to feel the way he wants? Explain in a coherent, complex 12th grade level paragraph please.

  • “Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems.”
  • “Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own. Almost overnight we could become rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work day and night, body and soul for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you comrade: Rebellion!”




 PJW Video, “Us and Them”

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