Old Major calls a meeting of all the animals. We meet all the main characters as they enter the barn. The
pigs rush to the front. Clover and Boxer are careful not to tread on smaller animals. Benjamin doesn’t believe anything he hears but says little. Mollie is vain. So some of the personalities are established immediately.
Old Major, in his speech, points out that no animal knows the meaning of happiness and that all their
hard work and produce goes to benefit man. If man was removed the animals would not have to work so
hard and would have more to eat. He ends the meeting by assuring them that the revolution to remove man
would come eventually and teaches them the song ‘Beasts of England’ which becomes their ‘national anthem’.
Old Major dies in his sleep in early March. The pigs are recognised as being the cleverest animals - particularly Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer. Snowball is a lively, appealing pig, Napoleon is quieter and thought
to be more of a thinker and Squealer is a brilliant talker.
We also meet Moses, the tame raven, who says he knows the existence of a place called Sugarcandy
The revolution happened more quickly than expected. One night Jones the farmer got drunk in the
Red Lion and forgot to feed the animals. One cow broke into the store shed and all the animals started to
help themselves. When Jones and 4 of his farmhands started whipping the animals to get them under control, they turned and butted and kicked, driving Jones off his farm. His wife packed her bags quickly and
The animals destroy everything that reminds them of human domination. They celebrate and the
pigs, who have learned to read and write, paint the 7 commandments on the wall of the barn. The pigs manage to milk the cows, who are rather uncomfortable by this time, and Napoleon guards it while they all go
off to survey their farm. When they return the milk has disappeared.
The pigs have taken charge of the farm which is now called Animal Farm rather than Manor Farm. The harvest is good and everyone works hard knowing that the produce is theirs. Boxer works harder than anyone.
They fly a flag over the farm - green with a hoof and a horn to symbolise their ownership.
Meetings are held every week where the pigs outline their ideas and hold debates. Snowball and Napoleon never agree on what should be done.
Snowball organises lots of committees to make everyone feel involved in the running of the farm but
really the pigs are in control.9 puppies are born and Napoleon takes them aside to rear them himself. It is
announced that the milk and apples are to be reserved for the pigs alone. Squealer is sent to explain that the
reason for this is because the pigs do all the brain work, without which Jones would probably return.
This terrifies the animals and is used frequently to keep them from complaining about the preferential treatment for the pigs.
Pigeons start to spread the word about the rebellion to other farms. We meet the owners of the two neighbouring farms - Foxwood owned by Mr. Pilkington and Pinchfield owned by Mr. Frederick. They fear that
rebellion will spread to their farms so join with Jones to mount an attack on Animal Farm to regain control.
The animals unite to defeat them in the Battle of the Cowshed. All the animals fight except for Mollie who hides.
They later make medals to be presented for bravery. Snowball and Boxer receive Animal Hero 1st
Class medals and a sheep who was killed is posthumously awarded an Animal Hero 2nd Class medal. Nobody seems to notice the irony of dividing animals into classes when they are all supposed to be equal.
Mollie disappears. She cannot bear to live without her ribbons and sugar which the other animals regard asbeing the sweeteners used by man to control them.
The winter is a hard one. Snowball puts forward the idea of a windmill to provide electricity to heat
their stalls and ease their workload. Napoleon disagrees and trains the sheep to bleat ‘4 legs good, 2 legs
bad.’ every time Snowball tries to speak. These two pigs are obviously competing for leadership of the farm
and Snowball is certainly the more popular.
When he appears to be losing the argument, Napoleon calls up the 9 puppies he had taken away
some months earlier. They chase Snowball off the farm and Napoleon assumes complete control.
Squealer convinces the animals that Snowball has always been a traitor, that he was not brave in the
Battle of the Cowshed and that he stole the idea of the windmill from Napoleon himself.
The animals work hard to build the windmill, Boxer being the one who did most of the heavy work. His 2
slogans are introduced - ‘I will work harder’ and ‘Napoleon is always right.’
Napoleon decides to start trading with the neighbouring farms, Foxwood and Pinchfield. He uses a
middleman Whymper to conduct business with them. When the animals see Napoleon ordering Whymper
around, it makes them forget that they are not supposed to deal with humans.
The pigs move into the farmhouse and start to sleep in beds. Commandment 4 has ‘with sheets’
added to it and Squealer convinces the animals that they must have forgotten that bit. Because the other animals never learned to read properly, they believe Squealer and agree that the pigs must have more comforts
than they do if they are to prevent Jones coming back.
A violent storm destroys the windmill. Napoleon blames Snowball and tells the animals to rebuild it
with stronger walls.
There is a severe food shortage but to convince the outside world that all is well, the food bins are filled with
sand and merely topped up with grain. The hens are ordered to give up their eggs for the pigs to sell. When
they stage a small protest by dropping their eggs from the rafters, Napoleon starves them until they give in.
Napoleon is rarely seen in public any more and announcements are always made by Squealer. The
animals are told that Snowball was always in league with Jones and that even now Snowball is plotting with
Jones to overthrow the farm. To prove his point, he makes 4 pigs confess to having secret meetings with
Snowball. They are immediately slaughtered. Then 3 hens, a goose and 3 sheep also confess to similar
crimes and receive a similar fate.
‘Beasts of England’ is banned and Minimus composes another song in praise of Napoleon to replace
it. Napoleon awards himself medals.
The 6th commandment is changed to ‘No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.’ The animals
work harder than ever for less food though the pigs and dogs always have plenty.
Napoleon decides to sell timber to Pilkington. The windmill is finished and called Napoleon Mill.
When Napoleon discovers that Pilkington has paid for the timber with forged notes, he becomes friendly
with Frederick instead. Pilkington then attacks the farm one night and blows up the windmill with dynamite.
When Napoleon is seen in public, he always has a black cockerel walking in front of him like a trumpeter. A gun is fired on his birthday and he eats from the best china dinner service with a food taster to try
his food to make sure it is not poisoned. He no behaves like a king or emperor.
Rations are reduced once again and work on the windmill starts for a third time. Boxer’s ambition is to finish it before he retires so he works even harder than usual.
A school is built for the piglets and they are encouraged to avoid the other animals who now have to
step aside to let them pass.
Despite the food shortage, produce is sold to provide machinery for the windmill and whisky for
Napoleon’s table. The barley is reserved to brew beer for the pigs.
Moses returns to the farm with tales of Sugarcandy Mountain. The animals, now starving and desperate, are more inclined to listen - there may be a better world after death. The pigs view him as dangerous..
Boxer collapses through overwork. Napoleon assures the other animals that he is being taken to ahospital to be cared for but he sells him to a glue manufacturer in return for whisky. When Benjamin points
out that the van in which he was taken away said ’Horse Slaughterer’ on the side, Squealer replies that it
used to belong to the horse slaughterer but now belongs to the vet.
Years later few of the animals are alive who remember the days before the rebellion. The windmill is finished but is used for milling corn to be sold at a profit rather than for electricity to make the animals’ lives
Squealer takes away the sheep for a week. On their return, they bleat ‘4 legs good, 2 legs better’ as
the pigs appear walking on their back legs and carrying whips. The commandments are scrubbed off the
barn wall and replaced with just one - ‘All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.’ The pigs
start to wear clothes and the farm is called Manor Farm once again. One evening the animals look in the
farmhouse window where the pigs and local farmers are drinking and playing cards. As they look from pig
to man and back, it becomes hard to tell which is which.
Boxer represents the hard working man who believes what leaders tell him. He is not clever enough to
work things out for himself so is easily exploited and gullible. He is willing, industrious and honest and
stands for most workers in this country. He is betraysd by those cleverer than him (politicians, factory owners and the like) who are only out for what they can get.
Snowball represents the potentially good leader who is keen to involve everybody in making decisions. He
is lively, inventive and popular but is also too trusting and naive of his colleagues. He doesn’t realise Napoleon is plotting against him so stands no chance.
Napoleon represents a dictator who will stop at nothing to get what he wants (including mass murder.) All
he wants is power, glory and money with no care for anyone else. He is extremely clever in a cunning way
because he knows his own weaknesses - he is a poor speaker and therefore not very popular so he employs
Squealer to speak for him. He also trains the dogs (and pays them well with food) to protect him and rid the
farm of enemies like Snowball.
Squealer represents the propaganda merchant who is a good speaker and could sell fridges to Eskimoes. He
dances around a lot, quotes statistics and generally confuses the less intelligent with long words and scare
stories. He and Napoleon rely heavily on each other. Napoleon needs Squealer to put across his demands in
a ‘nice’ way and Squealer needs Napoleon to provide him with a very comfortable standard of living.
Clover represents the average good woman. She is kind and compassionate if not very clever and she looks
after her ‘man’, Boxer, very well.
Moses represents religious leaders who play upon the hardships of others by telling them that heaven
(Sugarcandy Mountain) awaits them in the next world.
Benjamin represents the quiet intellectual man. He is just as clever (if not cleverer) than the pigs but has no
power. He never believes what they tell him but if he was to make too much of a protest he would be
‘removed’ as he well knows. He can be criticised for not trying to make the other animals realise what is going on.
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