Character of Mr Jones in Animal Farm
The only human in the story who is drawn by the novelist is Mr Jones, the original owner of Manor Farm. His neighbours, Frederick and Pilkington, remain simply vague house figures, and we are given only a very brief description of Mr. Whymper, the Solicitor agent.
Mr Jones is an alcoholic who had once been a capable farmer but when he lost money in a law suit, he took to drinking more than was good for him. For all his troubles he draws consolation from the bottle. He spends most of his time in the pub at Willingdon and allows his four men to carry on the work as they like. Even when he is at home he idles away his hours lounging in his Windsor chair in the kitchen, reading newspapers and drinking heavily. The raven, Moses, is his pet and he feeds it now and then with pieces of bread soaked in beer.
It is his drunken carelessness that provokes the rebellion which converts his Manor Farm into Animal Farm. One night he is so heavily drunk that the does not bother to shut the pop holes. He lurches into the house precariously with a lantern, throws off his shoes at the back door, takes a final nightcap and stumbles into the bed. His wife who cares even less about the management of the farm is already snoring. He is not at all aware of the historic meeting at the barn addressed by the old Major till all at the animal sing in chorus “Beasts of England.” That noise wakes him up. He thinks that perhaps a fox had got among the animals and was scaring them. He jumps out of bed, seizes a gun and fires shots into the darkness of the night. The random shots hit the barn wall. That disperses the animals. Mr Jones goes back to sleep ignorant of the seeds of revolt that have been sown among the animals of his farm.
His men are all idlers. Since the master has become careless, they let weeds grow in the fields, neglect the hedge and do not bother to feed the animals properly or repair the damaged roof. One Midsummer even Saturday, Jones gets dead drunk at Willingdon. He returns to the farm only on Sunday afternoon. His men avail themselves of their master’s absence. After the morning milking of the cows they go out hunting rabbits without caring to give the animals their usual feed. Jones returns to the farm only to go to sleep on the drawing room sofa. He covers his face with a newspaper and snores.
Evening comes and Mr Jones is still asleep and his men idle. The hungry animals can stand it no longer. They break in the store. The noise wakes up Jones. The men, too, rush in. They lash the animals with whips. But the hungry and angry animals turn on them and butt, kick and gore. Jones and his men have never dreamt that the animals whom they usually beat the badger will react so violently. They get nervous and take to their heels. The animals chase them out of the five barred gate into the road. Mrs. Jones witnesses the scene from the window of her room and slips out through a back wicket-door. In a moment almost by accident and without pre-planning the animals have expelled Jones and his men. Mr Jones loses his farm.
For a time he is content to sit in the Red Lion inn at Willingdon and complains to anyone who would listen to the “monstrous injustice” he has suffered by being turned out of his own property by a pack of good for nothing animals. Eventually, with the support of his neighbours, he makes an attempt to recover the farm, is outwitted by Snowball and Boxer, and moves to another part of the country where he dies in an inebriate’s home.
Between his final defeat in the Battle of the Cowshed and his death, Mr Jones plays no active part in the story, but his memory is kept alive by the pigs who hold the return of Jones as a constant threat over the animals heads to secure their docile acceptance of even the most vigorous hardships or set-backs. As the years pass, Jones and all he stood for fade from the animals, memories, so that they no longer have any basis of comparison between their present condition and what things had been like previously
Mr Jones represents the pleasure-loving, indolent aristocracy of Tsarist Russia, some of whom oppressed and ill-treated their workers abominably, thus creating the discontent on which Cummunism could work.