Animal Farm Chapter 2: Summary

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  • 0:04 The Undecided
  • 0:25 Animalism
  • 1:53 The Rebellion
  • 2:36 The Commandments
  • 3:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will review the second chapter of George Orwell's novel, ''Animal Farm.'' Things begin to escalate between the animals and Mr. Jones, and a revolution is imminent. Read on to familiarize yourself with the chapter, and then test your knowledge with a quiz.

The Undecided

''Will there be sugar after the Rebellion?'' asks Mollie, the white mare, who wants to know how an animal revolt will affect her lifestyle. In the second chapter of Animal Farm, Old Major has passed away. It is now up to the other pigs, for they are the smartest animals, to take up the cause and spread the word of Old Major's teachings. Will they be able to persuade the other animals to listen?


Following the death of Old Major, the other pigs take it upon themselves to start planning for the Rebellion even though there is no indication that a revolution is imminent. Napoleon and Snowball emerge as the leaders. They are young boars whom Mr. Jones is breeding for sale. Napoleon is a big and mean-looking Berkshire boar; he does not say much, but he usually gets his way. Snowball, on the other hand, is less forceful, but a great speaker. The third pig, Squealer, who is a slick salesman, holds rank just below Napoleon and Snowball.

These three begin having secret meetings at night--after Mr. Jones has gone to bed--to promote Old Major's teachings in a philosophy called Animalism. Many of the animals, however, like things the way they are. They call Mr. Jones 'Master' and speak out with appreciation for the food that he gives them. Mollie, in particular, loves her beautiful ribbons and sugar cubes. She does not want to give up these perks. Those who do not openly accept the Animalism school of thought are ridiculed and treated as though they are stupid. It doesn't take long for these animals to stop speaking their minds; they opt to follow the crowd instead.

Moses, the tame raven, tells stories about Sugarcandy Mountain, which is a mysterious place, existing somewhere in the sky beyond the clouds, where animals go when they die. The pigs struggle to discredit Moses and his stories; they argue that there is 'no such place' as Sugarcandy Mountain. Boxer and Clover readily accept the teachings of the pigs, though, and pass on the lessons to other animals. They lead the singing of 'Beasts of England' at the end of every meeting in the barn.

The Rebellion

Mr. Jones was a good farmer at one point, but due to personal problems, he drinks too much and does not oversee his workers. At times, no one feeds the animals. It's bad enough that the animals break into the bins and help themselves to food. When Mr. Jones wakes up and sees what the animals are doing, he and his workers whip the animals. This pushes the animals over the edge; they have had enough! They attack Mr. Jones and his workers, driving all of the humans off the property.

The first thing the animals do is burn all the chains, harnesses, knives, and whips. The ribbons that Mollie loves and the hat that Boxer wears to keep flies out of his ears in the summer are also thrown into the fire because they are considered clothes. Every animal gets a double-ration of corn, and 'Beasts of England' is sung into the night.

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