Animal Farm Summary - A novel by George Orwell

 

animal farm book summary

Animal Farm Book Summary

Animal Farm is a novel by George Orwell. Its storyline is metaphorical (or figurative) in nature and starts with a barn meeting which has been called by the farm’s prize-winning boar named Old Major. During the meeting, he tells all the animals about his most unusual dream in which he saw all the animals living together without humans. He tells them that in the dream there were no humans to oppress or control them. He tells them that they should work hard for such an ideal world and to boost the animals he also teaches them a song called ‘Beasts of England’.

But lo and behold! The boardies three days after the meeting. The good thing is that everyone remembers his song (the lyrical remains of his dream). Immediately after his death, three pigs – Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer – draw up a philosophy using Old Major’s ideas & name it Animalism.

Then one night, the animals devise a plan to eliminate the farmer, Mr. Jones. The battle between the animals and the farmer begins and the animals win the battle when Mr. Jones is removed from the farmlands. The animals immediately change the name of the farm to Animal Farm and start their journey to achieving their dream (the dream shared with them by Old Major). Among the rest, the cart-horse named Boxer declares ‘I will work the hardest’ & joins the cause with a lot of zeal.

In the beginning, the farm prospers and all work as one, but as time passes everything begins to change. Initially, it is shown that Snowball takes up the role of teaching the animals while Napoleon takes up the responsibility to acquaint younger ones (mostly puppies) with the ideas of Animalism. Mr. Jones comes again to take control of his property, but he is again defeated by the animals. It is called the battle of the cowshed and after the farmer is vanquished, the animals take away his abandoned gun as a symbol of their victory.

Time goes on and things began to change, the oneness & the fight for equality & freedom begins to vanish. The end starts with the power tussle between Napoleon and Snowball begins. Their fights regarding the future of the farm tend to become a more frequent occurrence and one day all things go downhill quite suddenly. During the meeting, Snowball proposes that they should build an electricity-generating windmill & gives a passionate speech but Napoleon condemns it. Napoleon makes a strange noise after which 9 attack dogs – the ones he had taken stating that he will educate them – enter the barn and attack Snowball. He flees the farm to save his life.

After Snowball's disgraceful exit, Napoleon becomes the unrivaled authority which soon becomes a dictatorship.  Napoleon declares that no meetings will be held in the future and only pigs will have the right to make all the decisions for the farm.

Once Snowball is out of the picture, Napoleon has no qualms to go ahead with the electricity generating windmill and all animals especially Boxer spend their efforts and the energy on completing the project at hand.

Some days later a storm hits the area and all the animals find the windmill overturned after the storm subsides. Many humans from the neighboring farms states that they are not at all surprised for the walls made by the animals were really thin, but Napoleon rebuffs their mutterings & puts all the blame on Snowball. He claims that he is sure Snowball visited the farm in secret and destroyed the windmill.

In order to eliminate animals who Napoleon thinks might oppose him in the future, he starts a great purge. All the animals who Napoleon thinks are involved with Snowball (in reality they are the voices Napoleon fears might rise against him) are executed. He becomes more and more powerful by each passing day and as time passes by he makes sure that history is rewritten with Snowball as the ultimate villain.

With power, Napoleon’s lifestyle also changes. He begins to sleep in a bed like humans, starts drinking whiskey, and in time also establishes trade links with neighboring farmers.

All the Animalistic ideas are ignored yet no one questions Napoleon for Squealer – who now acts as Napoleon’s propagandist – justifies his actions quite convincingly.  Thanks to him, every animal – overworked and inflicted with hunger – thinks that Napoleon does everything keeping in mind the best the interest of all the animals.

One day, the neighboring farmer Mr. Frederick cheats Napoleon in the trade of timber. However, things go downhill when he also blows away the windmill with dynamite and attacks the farm. During the battle, the devoted horse Boxer is wounded severely.  Farmers are defeated by the animals again and Boxer vanishes.

Boxer – Napoleon’s most hardworking and loyal servant – is sold to a glue maker for some money (meant for whiskey), however, animals are given a totally different story. As per Squealer, Boxer is dead; he tells everyone that Boxer died peacefully because of his battle wounds in the hospital.

As time passes, pigs’ power increases, they begin to behave more like humans – like wearing clothes, walking upright and using the whip on animals, etc.

Initially there were 7 principles of Animalism but now there was just one which said “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” In time, Napoleon forms an alliance with a farmer called Mr. Pilkington over dinner one night in order to exploit the labor class of both human and animal communities. Animal Farm’s name is changed back to Manor Farm.

Through the windows, the farm animals stare at the scene and are no longer able to tell the difference between humans and pigs.

 

  

 

 

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