The setting of Animal Farm is a farm in the English Countryside. The animals start a rebellion because the farmer, Mr Jones, treats then badly. The rebellion fails because the new leaders abuse their power.
One nightgconditions at Manor Farm : the animals get too little food ; they are forced to work and, if they are too weak to work they are slaughtered ; all animals in England are born to a life of misery and slavery and Man steals everything from them ; Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He finally tells them about a song called 'Beasts of England', an old rebellion song predicting a future under animal-rule. Soon afterwards Old Major dies.
In the next three months three pigs, Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer, form the system of 'Animalism' witch is based on the ideas of Old Major. The pig have great difficult in convincing the other animals the 'Animalism' is a good thing.
One day, when Jones has drunk too much as usual, the animals are not fed so they break into the shed where the food is stored. Farmer Jones whips the animals out of the shed but resistance is strong and Jones and his helpers run for their lives.
Mrs Jones leaves too and so all people have been expelled from the farm. The animals return to the farm and destroy everything that reminds them of Mr Jones. The farmhouse is inspected and the animals are amazed at the extravagant luxury. Snowball and Napoleon, who had learnt to read and write from a spelling book they have found, call a meeting and announce the new name of Manor Farm : Animal Farm. The farmhouse is turned in a museum and, later, the principles of Animalism, the Seven Commandments, are announced :
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill another animal.
7. All animals are equal.
These rules will be written on the barn wall for everyone to see. Just before the animals are about start to work, the cows indicate that they would like to be milked. The pigs take care of this task but then there is a problem of what should be done with the milk. After a day's hard work the animals returned to the farm and find the milk missing.
All animals are involved in hay-making, except for the pigs who supervised the activities. The animals are far more efficient than Jones and it is decided that there will be no work on Sundays.
Every Sunday the Meeting is held; it is general assembly at which work is planned and resolutions are put forward by the pigs. There are debates and Napoleon always disagrees with Snowball.
The pigs turn the harness room into their headquarters. Snowball organises the animals into committees like the Egg Production Committee, the Clean tails League, the Wils Comrades, Re-education Committee and the Whiter Wool Movement. His education programme proves difficult to many animals. Napoleon is not interested in Snowball's ideas. He thinks that education should be focused on the young, so he takes nine puppydogs away from their parents to raise them himself.
Gradually the pigs arrange things in such a way that they get more and more privileges : they get the cow's milk and the windfall apples. But Squealer tells the animals the pigs need this extra food in order to be able to do all the thinking.
Snowball and Napoleon send out pigeons to other farms to spread the 'Beasts of England' song. The neighbouring farmers, Frederick and Pilkington, cannot stand eachother but they are united in the fear that the revolution might spread to their farms. They spread lies about the situation on Animal Farm but this all does not prevent a wave of rebelliousness from spreading all over Britain.
One day in October Jones and some others come to recapture the farm. Defensive operations are lead by Snowball and due to excellent strategy the animals are victorious. Boxer, the hardworking horse, is sad, however, because he seems to have kills a boy. Snowball does not see his problem for he says, "War is war, the only good human being is a dead one." One sheep is killed and Snowball gets slightly hurt but Molly, the pretty but foolish mare, is missing. When she is found hiding in the manger, the boy, who was not dead but only stunned, receives a covers and runs off. The dead sheep posthumously receives a decoration. Boxer and Snowball are also decorated for their feats in the 'Battle of the Cow-shed'.
Some time later Molly disappears and pigeons report that she draws the cart of one of the neighbours and that she is enjoying her new life.
A new controversy between Napoleon and Snowball arise sover the plans to build a windmill to generate electricity. Most animals are impressed with the plans witch have been drawn on a shed floor. Napoleon comes, urinates over the plans and leaves. This leads to the farm divided into two groups : Snowball's party which is convinced that the windmill will cut their working-week to three days and Napoleon's party which is interested in the growth of food-production. Benjamin, the donkey, does not commit himself to either party because he believes that neither ideology will do any good for the animals. Another difference of opinion arises over the question of how to defend the farm against new attacks from Jones. Napoleon wants to get guns but Snowball only wants to stir up rebellion at other farms.
When it comes to a vote on the windmill, Napoleon has set of fierce-looking dogs that chase Snowball off the farm. Everybody realises that the dogs must be the puppies that were raised by Napoleon in secret. Afterwards Napoleon announces that no more Meeting will be held and that everything will be decided by the pigs. All animals are shocked but they take no action. Squealer goes round the farm explaining the new policy. He says that Snowball was a criminal and that loyalty is more important than his bravery in the Battle of the Cow-shed. As a result of this explanation Boxer changes his maxim 'I will work harder' into 'Napoleon is always right'. Everybody is surprised to hear that the windmill is to be built after all. Squealer explains that it was in fact Napoleon's idea and that he had only spoken against it in order to get rid of Snowball.
Meanwhile life at the farm gets harder : there is less sparetime, food is rationed there is a sixty-hour working-week. Napoleon gets harder and harder for the animals. Everything is just for him, and the other animals get less food than before. One day Boxer, the hardworking horse, felled of the mountain and he doesn't get better, so Napoleon says that he'll rescue Boxer by sending him to a hospital, but when the van came, Benjamin the donkey saw what was written on the side of the van it said "Horse Slaughterer" so the animals gave a cry of horror, but Boxer can't come out. After three days Squealer announced that Boxer died in the hospital. He explained the "Horse Slaughterer" by the fact that the veterinary surgeon bought the van from the knacker, but forgot to paint the new name on it.
Years passed and one day the pigs came out, walking on their hind legs !! When the animals wanted to see one of the Commandments, there was just one Commandment painted on the wall :
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.
One day the farmers came and visit the farm, the animals looked through the windows and didn't see any difference between the pigs and the farmers.
-Mr Jones was the owner of the farm, but the animals overwon him, so he left. Once he tried to get his farm back. but the animals won again.
-Old Major he tells the animals the principles of Animalism, so he unchained the whole rebellion, but he dies before the rebellion starts.
-Snowball he starts the rebellion and is the leader, he's a good leader.
-Napoleon is the other leader but chases Snowball away after a while, he is a bad leader.
-Squealer was a sort of messager of Napoleon.
-Boxer was a very hard working but stupid horse, he said all the time "I will work harder" and after a while "Napoleon is always right", but he dies too.
-Clover was Boxer's 'wife'.
-Benjamin was a donkey and he kept himself to himself, he was a friend of Boxer.
I don't like Napoleon because he abuses his power, I don't like Squealer either because he walks after Napoleon and does everything Napoleon sais.
I do like Snowball, he wanted to work out Animalism on the right way.
When the windmill was ruined.
"In the morning the animals came out of their stalls to find that the flagstaff had been blown down and an elm tree at the foot of the orchard had been plucked up like radish. They had noticed this when a cry of despair broke from every animal's throat. A terrible sight had met their eyes. The windmill was ruins. With one accord they dashed down to the spot." (p. 54)
The animals worked their buds out for the windmill, and then it's broken, that's sad. When some animals are executioned by Napoleon.
"The three hens who had been the ringleaders in the attempted rebellion over the eggs now came forward and stated that Snowball had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey Napoleon's orders. They too were slaughtered. Them a goose came forward and confessed to having secreted six ears of corn during the last year's harvest and eaten them in the night. Them a sheep confessed to having urinated in the drinking pool-urged to do this, so she said, by Snowball - and two other sheep confessed to having murdered an old ram, an especially devoted follower of Napoleon, by chasing him round and round a bonfire when he was suffering from a cough. They were all slain on the spot. And so the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon's feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since the expulsion of Jones" (p.64)
In the seven Commandments stood that no animals should kill another animal, so why can Napoleon kill another animal without being punished ?? Because he is the leader and the animals aren't smart or brave enough to stand up against him. This is scary, 'cause with people is it the same way. Napoleon tries to make the animals respect him, but they don't, they only are afraid of him.
When Boxer is taken to the knacker's.
"The animals crowded round the van. 'Goodbye, Boxer' they chorused,'goodbye !' 'Fools! Fools !' shouted Benjamin, prancing round them and stamping with his small hoofs. 'Fools! Do you not see what is written on the side of that van ?' That gave the animals pause, and there was a hush. Muriel began to spell out the words. But Benjamin pushed her aside and in the midst of a deadly silence he read : '"Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-meal. Kennels Supplied." Do you not know what that means ? They are taking Boxer to the knacker's!' " (p. 90) It's weird that Napoleon send Boxer to the knacker's, Boxer, the one who always worked the hardest and said that Napoleon was always right !! This is a sign of Napoleon's coolness.
When and where ?
The story plays in England, I don't know exactly which time it is, but I think in the time that the Russian revolution was playing. It isn't important where or when it happened, it could happen even right here or in the USA, only now, we have more powerful weapons to keep the animals in control, in that time the animals were less controlled.
At the end, the animals could not see the difference between the pigs and the farmers, this is a very open end, because Orwell doesn't tell how the animals live forward, do they live forward under Animalism or do they get a farmer above ?? I think that a other end was more logic, but on the other side is this end good, because Orwell wrote the book in 1945, at that time the Soviet Union was still communist so he could not give it the right end. I would like the end more when it was a closed end, when the animals chased the pigs away or when the run away to live on a decent farm.
What it is really about
I think that the book is really about communism, Old Major is Karl Marx, he wrote the communism but died before the Russian Revolution took place. Snowball is Lenin, who wanted to make the communism work on a nice way, without killing or forcing people to do things they don't want to. He wanted to run the communism with deliberation. Napoleon is Stalin who killed all around himself without any reason, he made people work with empty stummy's, when they didn't work along, he kills them. Also the way the animals work is lead away from the communism, everything together and everybody gets the same reward, whatever he does. Some bad things from the communism came out also. Some animals don't work 'cause they'll get their reward anyway. Some animals like the old system better and leaves the farm (Russia).
The book is also really about the way people live with power. Snowball didn't abuse his power, but Napoleon did. He forced people to work and manipulated them. He abuses his knowledge towards the other animals who doesn't have his knowledge, he lies to them about things that they need to know.
In the beginning I thought that the book was very stupid and dull, but when I read along the book was getting better. There were more things I understood and it was getting easier to read.
To other people I would say that, if you like reading in English, you can read it because you don't have anything else to do, but don't sit for it, 'cause it isn't that good !
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