Important Quotes from Animal Farm

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  • 0:24 Old Major's Speech
  • 1:45 Freedom
  • 2:41 Inequality
  • 3:01 Fear of Safety
  • 3:48 Broken Promises
  • 5:17 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'll review some of the significant quotes from the novel 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell. Through the progression of the story, you'll see how slight changes in word choice changed Animalism overtime.

The Tyranny of Man and Animal Farm

In the George Orwall novel, Animal Farm, the animals join forces with one another to overthrow the tyranny of Man and establish Animal Farm as their own. But they soon find that they have traded one set of problems for another. In this lesson, we will review some important quotes that show the evolution of animalism, the philosophy of Animal Farm, over the course of the novel.

Old Major's Speech

Are all of the animals craving change? In the beginning of the story, the animals aren't exactly happy, but for the most part, aren't miserable, either. Except for a couple of missed meals due to Mr. Jones' rapidly developing drinking problem, the day's work and regular meals follow a structured routine. It's not until a well-respected pig, Old Major, gathers the animals together a few days before his death to tell them there is a better way, that the animals realize their dissatisfaction with their current situation. Old Major put it this way:

  • 'Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever.' (Old Major)

The animals have never thought about running a farm themselves, but is it possible? Do animals really need Man as much as Man needs animals? Old Major suggests that someday, the animals will rise and overcome, when he says:

  • 'All the habits of Man are evil. And above all, no animal must ever tyrannize over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal.' (Old Major)

Old Major and the other animals agree to some basic principles to guide animal behavior, that if followed, would make sure a new government run by animals would not deteriorate into something no better than what they already have.


Once the dreams and hopes for the future set in, the animals are quick to notice any perceived unfair treatment from Mr. Jones. After he forgets to feed them, the animals help themselves, and as a result, are punished. And thus, the time had come for the Rebellion to take place, and they run Mr. Jones off the farm and claim it as theirs. At first, the narrator tells us it was everything they dreamed it would be.

  • 'The animals were happy as they had ever conceived it possible to be. Every mouthful of food was an acute positive pleasure, now. . .' (Narrator)

However, the animals do not work any less. As a matter of fact, they work harder, but because of their sense of freedom, they don't mind working hard. The narrator explains it this way:

  • 'All that year the animals worked like slaves. But they were happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything that they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings.' (Narrator)


Soon, it became apparent that the animals were not benefiting equally from all of their hard work. The narrator tells us that:

  • 'Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer - except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs.' (Narrator)

The pigs had emerged as the leaders, with the dogs as their enforcers.

Fear of Safety

Although it seems unfair, no one says anything because they are afraid of what might happen to them if they do. As Clover explains:

  • '. . .they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.' (Clover)

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