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Now, as it turned out, the Rebellion was achieved much earlier and more easily than anyone had expected.

It's from Animal Farm - Chapter 2. To my understanding, it seems not simply refer to the current time.

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    A quick dictionary search says it is used in conversation to draw attention to a particular statement or point in a narrative.
    – AdrianHHH
    Jan 7 at 9:10
  • In that context, "Now" contributes nothing at all. To test that, what happens when you consider how the Rebellion was achieved other than as expected? AdrianHHH's quick dictionary search speaks of conversation to draw attention to a particular statement or point in a narrative but then what? Jan 7 at 22:47
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This is a discourse marker. It marks a shift in the topic and to highlight a new fact. It is used more often in spoken English, and in this context, it also establishes a spoken style. It is written as if the narrator was having a conversation with you.

There is a great deal of academic analysis of discourse markers in English and comparatively with other languages. You might consider which words are used as discourse markers in your language. An incorrect literal translation of one language's discourse markers to another language is a typical sign of a non-native speaker.

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  • It may be worth elaborating on how "Now" does so in this particular context. Basically: The first few paragraphs of the chapter talk about how the various animals reacted to Major's teachings in the 3 months after Major's death (in March). Then, this sentence transitions into explaining how the Rebellion itself took place (in June).
    – V2Blast
    Jan 7 at 23:29

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