Boekverslag : George Orwell - Animal Farm
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Animal Farm

The author

George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Blair) was born in India in 1903. He studied in England and then served in the Indian Civil Police in Burma, where he learned to hate Colonialism. After seven years he returned to Europe. He was wounded in the Spanish Civil War and spent the rest of his life in England, where he died of tuberculosis in 1950. Orwell was a socialist but detested extreme political view-points. His most succesful publications, Animal Farm & Nine-teen Eighty-four (1948), are meant to be warnings against totalitarian regimes and dictatorship.

Explanation of the title and the connection of the title with the book

Everything what happens in the book is on the Animal Farm, so that explanes the title.

Information about the book

First edition: 1960

Fifth edition: 1963

Main characters

Farmer Jones

The animal-revolution has taken him away from his Manor Farm.


The animal who tells the other animals about the Rebellion


An animal who first was a good one, but when Napoleon became the leader he said that Snowball was a bad animal.


The later dictator of the Animal Farm.

Other characters

-The other animals on the farm


Animal Farm is a beast fable, a story in which animals talk and act like certain types of human beings, and which teaches a moral lesson.

Animal Farm is also an allegory, a story that has two levels. Apart from the story about the animals on their farm there is a deeper level, namely about dictatorship. There are also many parallels between the story and the history of the Russian Revolution.

A short summary per chapter

Chapter I

Mr Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, is always drunk and treats his animals badly. Major, an old pig, tells the other animals to start a rebellion. It is the only way to change their miserable life. He teaches them the words of the song "Beasts of England," a song about the time when England will belong to the animals.

Chapter II

Old Major dies but the other pigs prepare the animals for the great day. The Rebellion takes place one day when Jones and his men forget to feed the animals. The animals break into the store shed where their food is kept and chase Jones and his men off the farm. The pigs change the name Manor Farm into Animal Farm and paint Seven Commandments on a wall. The Seven Commandments were:

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.

Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.

No animal shall wear clothes.

No animal shall sleep in a bed.

No animal shall drink alcohol.

No animal shall kill any other animal.

All animals are equal.

Chapter III

Now the farm is theirs, the animals do not mind working hard. During their Sunday meetings it becomes obvious that there is a strong rivalry between the two pigs Snowball and Napoleon.

Chapter IV

Jones and his neighbours are afraid of rebellions on other farms and try to recapture Animal Farm. But they are driven off, thanks to Snowball's battle plan. The animals win the Battle of the Cowshed !!

Chapter V

The differences between Snowball and Napoleon dominate the Sunday meetings. Snowball wants to build a windmill, but Napoleon is against that plan. When Snowball is about to win the argument, Napoleon suddenly produces nine fierce dogs who chase Snowball off the farm. Now Napoleon makes all the decisions alone. The other animals listen to him because they are afraid of the dogs. Squeler, one of the pigs, is always sent to explain the pigs' policies to the other animals.

Chapter VI

The windmill is built after all and the animals have to work even harder than before. They need goods they can't produce themselves and Napoleon begins to trade with to trade with the neighbouring farmers. The pigs move into the farmhouse and sleep in beds, which is against a law of the Seven Commandments.

The windmill falls down in a storm and Napoleon declares that Snowball, their enemy, is to blame. It becomes the custom to blame Snowball for everything that goes wrong on the farm.

Chapter VII

Napoleon keeps the other animals under control with the help of the dogs. The animals are nog longer allowed to sing "Beasts of England" , which is replaced by another song.

Chapter VIII

The pigs change the Seven Commandments one by one so that everything they do is legal. The animals have worked harder than the years before and are worse off (less food) then in Jones' days. But Napoleon, who behaves more and more like a king, tells them that the production of food has increased greatly. Again the farm is attacked by farmers, but the animals succeed in defending their farm again. However, the windmill is blown up and many animals are killed or wounded. During the cold winter the animals have almost nothing to eat.

Chapter IX (last one)

One day Boxer falls ill. The animals are told that he is being taken to a hospital, but actually he is sold to a "knacker." Many years later Animal Farm has become prosperous, but only the pigs and the dogs live in luxury. The other animals have to work hard and are always hungry. Yet they are proud to be on the only farm in England owned by animals. One day they are very much chocked when the pigs suddenly walk on their hind legs, wear clothes and carry whips. The Seven Commandments are replaced by a single commandment: All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

One evening the pigs and six neighbouring farmers, with whom they have a friendly relationship now, have a party. In a speech Napoleon says that all the memories of the Rebellion will be suppressed and that the farm is to be called Manor Farm. The other animals, who are outside looking in through the windows, can no longer see any difference between the pigs and the farmer.
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