Animal Farm- 17 August 1945

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Animal Farm

• an allegorical novel by George Orwell, published in England on 17 August 1945

• According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalin era in the Soviet Union.

• He criticizes Stalin’s cult of personality and his reign of terror

• his aim was to "to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole"

• Orwell wrote the book from November 1943–February 1944, when the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union was at its height and Stalin was held in high esteem in Britain among the people and intelligentsia, a fact that Orwell hated.

Plot Summary:

Old Major, the old boar on the Manor Farm, calls the animals on the farm together for a meeting, during which he compares the humans to parasites and teaches the animals a revolutionary song, 'Beasts of England'. When Major dies, two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, assume command and consider it a duty to prepare for the Rebellion. The animals revolt and drive the drunken and irresponsible Mr Jones from the farm, renaming it "Animal Farm". They adopt Seven Commandments of Animalism, the most important of which is, "All animals are equal".

Snowball attempts to teach the animals reading and writing; food is plentiful, and the farm runs smoothly. The pigs elevate themselves to positions of leadership and set aside special food items, ostensibly for their personal health. Napoleon takes the pups from the farm dogs and trains them privately. Napoleon and Snowball struggle for leadership. When Snowball announces his plans to build a windmill, Napoleon has his dogs chase Snowball away and declares himself leader.

Napoleon enacts changes to the governance structure of the farm, replacing meetings with a committee of pigs, who will run the farm. Through a young pig named Squealer, Napoleon claims credit for the windmill idea. The animals work harder with the promise of easier lives with the windmill. When the animals find the windmill collapsed after a violent storm, Napoleon and Squealer convince the animals that Snowball destroyed it. Once Snowball becomes a scapegoat, Napoleon begins purging the farm with his dogs, killing animals he accuses of consorting with his old rival. 'Beasts of England' is replaced by an anthem glorifying Napoleon, who appears to be adopting the lifestyle of a man. The animals remain convinced that they are better off than they were when under Mr Jones.

Mr Frederick, one of the neighbouring farmers, attacks the farm, using blasting powder to blow up the restored windmill. Though the animals win the battle, they do so at great cost, as many, including Boxer the workhorse, are wounded. Despite his injuries, Boxer continues working harder and harder, until he collapses while working on the windmill. Napoleon sends for a van to take Boxer to the veterinary surgeon, explaining that better care can be given there. Benjamin, the cynical donkey who "could read as well as any pig",[8] notices that the van belongs to a knacker, and attempts a futile rescue. Squealer reports that the van was purchased by the hospital and the writing from the previous owner had not been repainted. He recounts a tale of Boxer's death in the hands of the best medical care.

Years pass, and the pigs learn to walk upright, carry whips, and wear clothes. The Seven Commandments are reduced to a single phrase: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". Napoleon holds a dinner party for the pigs and local farmers, with whom he celebrates a new alliance. He abolishes practice of the revolutionary traditions and renames the farm "The Manor Farm". The animals, overhearing the conversation, notice that the faces of the pigs have begun changing. During a poker match, an argument breaks out between Napoleon and Mr Pilkington, and the animals realise that the faces of the pigs look like the faces of humans, and no one can tell the difference between them....
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