Animal Farm

Chapter 1

who is old major?

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Old Major

A prize Middle White boar that the Joneses exhibited under the name “Willingdon Beauty.” He is, “stout … But still a majestic-looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearance” (26). In addition to his laurels in the exhibition world, Major is highly respected among his fellow farm animals. His age is twelve years, which makes him a senior among them, and he also claims to have had over four hundred children. He is the one who calls the meeting in the first chapter to discuss his strange dream. Major claims to “understand the nature of life on this earth as well as any animal now living” (28). Months after his death, the pigs disinter his skull and place it at the base of the flagpole beside the gun. Major symbolizes two historical figures. First, he represents Karl Marx, the father of Marxism. Marx’s political hypotheses about working-class consciousness and division of labor worked infinitely better in theory than in practice, especially when corrupt leaders twisted them for their personal gain. Second, Major represents Vladimir Lenin, the foremost of the three authors of the Russian Revolution and the formation of the Soviet Union. Lenin died during the Soviet Union’s early years, leaving Trotsky (Snowball) and Stalin (Napoleon) to vie for his leadership position.