Like George III to the American colonists or Czar Nicholas II to the Russian revolutionaries, Jones is the embodiment of the tyranny against which the animals rebel — and with good reason. An inept farmer and slovenly drunkard, Jones cares little for his Manor Farm and the animals who live there. The novel’s first paragraph describes Jones forgetting (out of drunkenness) to shut the popholes for the hen-houses but remembering to draw himself a glass of beer before “lumbering” off to a drunken sleep. The fact that the rebellion is sparked by Jones’ forgetting to feed the animals adds to the overall impression of him as an uncaring master. For the remainder of the novel, he is portrayed as an impotent has-been, unable to reclaim his own farm and idling in a pub until his eventual death in an inebriates’ home.
Long after Jones has been driven from the farm, the pigs invoke his name to scare the other animals into submission. Squealer’s question, “Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?” elicits a knee-jerk reaction in the animals, who fail to realize that the spirit of Jones has returned, despite the farmer’s physical absence.