Animal Farm

“infobox Book “
name Animal Farm
image caption First edition cover
author George Orwell
country England
language English language
genre(s) Allegorical, social issues
publisher Secker and Warburg
release date 1945
media type Hardback and Paperback
pages 148
isbn 0451526341 (paperback)

Animal Farm is an allegory of the 1917 Russian Revolution and stems from George Orwell’s hatred for Communist Russia and its Bolshevik leaders. It is about the revolution of animals on Manor Farm against Mr. Jones, and the growing disparity between the animals in what was supposed to be an “equal society.” This change is brought about by Napoleon, the leading pig, who accomplishes his power-hungry goals through force.

Character List


Based on Joseph Stalin, Napoleon emerges as the leader after the revolution. He uses military force –  his loyal attack dogs –  to gain and consolidate power for himself.


Based on Leon Trotsky, Snowball is smart and well-spoken, but less devious than his counterpart Napoleon. He challenges Napoleon for power after the revolution but is driven off the farm by Napoleon’s dogs.


A cart horse with great strength and stamina. His work is key in Animal Farm’s early prosperity and the completion of both windmills. He is dim-witted though and believes anything and everything the pigs tell him. His two mottoes are “I will work harder” and “Napoleon is always right.” He overworks himself, and Napoleon claims to send him to the hospital, but in fact, sends him to be turned into glue.


Representing Soviet propaganda, Squealer spreads lies and false statistics to justify the pigs’ monopolization of resources, and reassure them of Animal Farm’s (Manor Farm’s) success and Napoleon’s greatness.

Old Major

Based on both the German father of communism, Karl Marx, and the Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Ilych Lenin. Old Major inspires the animal’s revolution, and teaches all the animals the revolutionary song “Beasts of England.” He dies at the beginning of the book, leaving Napoleon and Snowball to vie for power.


Another cart horse, she repeatedly charges the pigs with breaking one of the “Seven Commandments” (which they do), but blames herself for misreading them.


The tame raven that spreads tales of “Sugarcandy Mountain”, the heavenly place where animals go when they die. Orwell uses Moses to show how Communists use religion to pacify the masses.


Mollie is a vain mare who finds it hard to adjust to her new life after the revolution. She pulled Mr. Jones’s cart before the revolution and loves wearing ribbons in her mane and eating sugar cubes. She eventually runs away from the farm craving humans in her life again. Mollie represents the bourgeoisie that fled from Russia after the Russian Revolution.


An old donkey who refuses to believe that the revolution will make their lives better. He is the only one who comprehends the changes that the pigs make, but does nothing to stop them. The only time he is truly animated against the pigs is when they send Boxer to be made into glue.


Muriel is a goat; her only real purpose in the book is to read Clover the Seven Commandments when Clover suspects the pigs of breaking them.

Mr. Jones

Based on Tsar Nicholas II, Mr. Jones is the unkind owner of Manor Farm (Animal Farm). He is often drunk and indulges himself while his animals are mistreated and go hungry.

Mr. Frederick

Based on Adolf Hitler, Mr. Frederick is the owner of Pinchfield, a neighboring farm. He is very untrustworthy and wants Animal Farm (Manor Farm) for himself.

Mr. Pilkington

Based on the capitalistic governments of the United States and Great Britain, Mr. Pilkington runs Foxwood, another neighboring farm to Animal Farm (Manor Farm), and is a bitter enemy to Mr. Frederick.

Mr. Whymper

Napoleon uses Mr. Whymper to represent Animal Farm (Manor Farm) in human society. He sells the extra grain they make and buys whatever they need at a cost.

Jessie and Bluebell

Two dogs that give birth in the beginning of the novel. Their pups are adopted by Napoleon and trained to be his bodyguards and secret police.


The poet pig who writes songs that glorify Napoleon, he also writes “Animal Farm, Animal Farm” to replace the old song “Beasts of England.”

Chapter Summaries

Chapter One

The chapter opens with the drunk Mr. Jones, proprietor of Manor Farm, stumbling into his house and falling asleep. As soon as the lights turn off, all the animals on the farm, except Moses the tame raven, go to the large barn for a meeting. At this meeting, the prize-winning pig Old Major tells all the animals of a dream he had, where all animals are free from human oppression and live happy and well-fed. He incites the animals to rise up against the humans and have all animals live in harmony, and tells them that they must not adopt any traits of the humans. He then proceeds to teach them the inspirational song “Beasts of England” (see below).

Chapter Two

Three days later, Old Major dies, and all the animals start planning to take over Manor Farm from Mr. Jones and creating a utopia for the animals. The planning falls to the pigs, who are the cleverest of the animals, and two pigs in particular: Snowball and Napoleon. Another pig named Squealer, who is a very eloquent speaker, explains the plans to the animals. They create “Animalism” which are the principles that everyone will live under and take to calling each other “comrade”. Moses takes to tell the animals about a place called “Sugarcandy Mountain” where all animals go when they die, and how fantastic it is. The pigs try very hard to stop this rumor, and with the help of the cart-horses Clover and Boxer, are successful.

The revolution comes very swiftly. Mr. Jones takes to drinking because he has lost money in a lawsuit and forgets to feed the animals. The cows break into the grain store and all of the animals begin to eat when the farmhands find out and start to whip the cows. The cows turn on the farmhands and they, with Mr. Jones, run away in fear. After winning the battle the animals all take double portions of food, destroy the objects of their oppression (i.e. whips, bits, harnesses), and sing “Beasts of England” seven times before falling asleep.

The next morning they go into the farmhouse and witness the luxury that Mr. Jones lived in, and decide to keep the house as a museum. Mollie tries to stay in it because she likes to look at herself in the mirror and put on ribbons, but the animals make her leave. The pigs reveal that they have taught themselves how to read, and then change the sign from “Manor Farm” to “Animal Farm”. They also turn the ideals of “Animalism” into seven key commandments and paint them on the wall (below). All of the animals are about to go gather the harvest when the cows begin to complain that they haven’t been milked in days. The pigs milk them and say that the five pails of cream will be attended to. All the animals except Napoleon go out to gather the harvest, and when they come back later that night, the cream is gone.

Seven commandments of Animalism:
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 any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

Chapter Three

The animals work very hard in the fields over the summer, and they have the greatest harvest Manor Farm has ever seen. The pigs figure out ways that the animals can use human tools, and only the cat and Mollie don’t work as much as they could. Boxer does most of the heavy work and takes up the motto “I will work harder”. Benjamin is the only one who seems to see no change in the farm.

The animals begin to raise the flag on Sunday mornings, and hold debates over animal farm issues, in which Napoleon and Snowball have the loudest opinions, and they always clash. Snowball creates many different committees, most of which fail, except the committee to teach all the animals how to read. The pigs can read and write, the dogs learn to read the seven commandments, Muriel can read, Clover knows the alphabet but can’t read, and Boxer only knows up to the letter “D”.

Jessie and Bluebell have pups, and Napoleon takes them under his own care for personal education. The animals find out that the pigs are eating all the apples and milk, but Squealer explains to them that they need it to keep their brains working well and that if they don’t Mr. Jones might come back. This causes all the animals to forgo their apples and milk.

Chapter Four

The pigeons that Snowball has sent have started to spread the rebellion to other farms. Meanwhile, Mr. Jones is continually drunk in Willingdon, complaining about losing the farm. Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick worry about rebellion on their farms, but refuse to work together, spreading lies about Animal Farm instead.

In October, Mr. Jones and farmhands from Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick’s farms come to try to take back Animal Farm by force. Napoleon readies an ambush on the men, and the animals easily defeat them with the loss of only one sheep, who is buried as a war hero. The only one who doesn’t fight is Mollie, who instead hides. Snowball and Boxer are given the medal “Animal Hero, First Class” for their part in the battle. The animals find Mr. Jones’s gun and decide to fire it twice a year, once on the anniversary of the “Battle of Cowshed” (the battle they had just fought), and once on the anniversary of the rebellion.

Chapter Five

Mollie increasingly shirks off her work, and takes treats from farmhands on neighboring farms. She is eventually lured away from Animal Farm by a man who feeds her sugar. She pulls his cart and her name is never spoken of on Animal Farm again.

In the winter Napoleon and Snowball still dominate the meetings. Snowball has the idea to build a windmill so they can make electricity, automating many of the farm chores and bringing them new luxury. Napoleon disagrees and says the animals should worry about themselves now, not in the distant future. He shows his disapproval by urinating on Snowball’s blueprints.

During the meeting to decide whether or not to undertake the windmill project, Snowball gives a very passionate speech, with Napoleon only giving a short retort. Suddenly nine dogs (the dogs Napoleon took from Jessie and Bluebell) run Snowball off the farm, and return to Napoleon’s side. Napoleon then announces that the meetings will now be ceremonial and that the pigs will make all the decisions. Squealer reassures all the animals that Napoleon is taking on a huge burden by taking over all the planning, and that Snowball was chased off because he was a traitor. With the threat of the dogs, this story is easily believed and adopted by the animals.

Chapter Six

The animals work hard to raise enough food and build the windmill. Their rations are cut by the pigs, but since they feel like they are working for themselves instead of Mr. Jones they are still eager to work. They run into a problem trying to figure out how to break the stone into manageable pieces, but remedy this by dropping the stones and having them break.

Although they have a lot of work, they are no less better off than they were under Mr. Jones. The farm is, however, running low on supplies they cannot make themselves, such as paraffin oil and nails. Napoleon says that he is going to engage in trade with humans, and says he has enlisted the services of Mr. Whymper. Mr. Whymper starts visiting the farm, and taking orders from Napoleon.

Meanwhile, there have been rumors that the pigs have been sleeping in beds, which is against the Seven Commandments. Muriel and Clover go to read the commandments, and it says “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets”. Squealer says what the pigs are doing is acceptable because they have taken the sheets off the bed.

A storm breaks out on Animal Farm during this time and topples the windmill. Napoleon blames Snowball for sabotaging it and puts a death sentence on him, offering a bushel of apples to his killer. He then convinces the animals to rebuild the windmill.

Chapter Seven

In winter, the animals work hard to rebuild the windmill, and they run dangerously short on food. They conceal this fact from the other humans, so they won’t think Animal Farm is failing.

Soon after a rumor spreads that Snowball creeps on the farm at night and sabotages things while the animals are asleep. Squealer announces that Snowball is in league with Mr. Fredrick and that he’s been in league with Mr. Jones from the start. Squealer even says that Snowball tried to have the animals defeated at the Battle of Cowshed, which none of the animals can believe, recalling his medal, but Squealer convinces them that it was really Napoleon’s bravery that had saved the day.

Four days after, Napoleon uses the nine hounds to stage a purge of Animal Farm, killing many animals who confess to being “traitorous”. The animals start to sing “Beasts of England”, but Squealer tells them that that song is for the rebellion, and they can no longer sing it. Instead, they sing a new song written by Minimus that glorifies Animal Farm and Napoleon.

Chapter Eight

After the purging of Animal Farm by Napoleon, the animals see that the commandment “No animal shall kill any other animal” now reads “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause”.

A previously unused pile of timber is now up for sale by Napoleon to either Mr. Pilkington or Mr. Fredrick. When one farmer seems ready to buy, the other one is vilified by Squealer and is said to be the hiding place of Snowball, when the other farmer seems to be ready to buy the wood, it changes. Napoleon and Squealer start to vilify Mr. Fredrick when, to the animal’s dismay, he turns out to be the buyer. He pays cash, but the cash turns out to be forged, and Mr. Fredrick with his men attack Animal Farm and destroy the windmill.

The animals chase the men off the farm, but at heavy losses of animal life, and the wounding of Boxer. Afterward, a crate of whiskey is discovered, and the pigs drink and revel with it all night long. The next day the pigs are hungover and there are rumors that Napoleon may die, but he soon recovers. That night the animals see Squealer with a paintbrush, and he has fallen from a ladder on the barn where the Seven Commandments are written. They fail to make a connection, and when the rule “No animal shall drink alcohol” is changed to “No animal shall drink alcohol in excess” they think it must be their memories.

Chapter Nine

Boxer starts to recover from his injury and the animals start rebuilding the windmill, but Boxer doesn’t seem to have the strength he once had. He says he wants to see the windmill started before he retires (which will be soon).

Food grows scarcer and scarcer on Animal Farm, everyone’s rations are cut except the pigs and the dogs. When four sows give birth to Napoleon’s piglets, he demands that they build a schoolhouse for them (even though funds on Animal Farm are dwindling). The animals start having “Spontaneous Demonstrations” in which they march and glorify Animal Farm. Whenever anyone complains the sheep start shouting “Four legs good, two legs bad”.

The government declares Animal Farm a republic, and Napoleon is elected leader (since there were no other candidates). Snowball is even further vilified as openly fighting for Jones at the Battle of Cowshed yelling “Long live Humanity”, the battle was so long ago that the animals easily accept this story.

Moses the raven returns and spreads rumors of “Sugarcandy Mountain” which the pigs officially dismiss, but still let him live on the farm without doing any work. One day Boxer collapses while moving stone from the quarry, and the pigs say they will have him taken to a human hospital to recuperate. Benjamin reads the sign on the side of the cart and all the animals warn Boxer that they are taking him to the glue factory, but he is unable to escape. The pigs claim that the doctors were unable to cure him. Not long after, the pigs buy another barrel of whiskey, but the animals have no idea how they got the money to buy it.

Chapter Ten

Many years go by on Animal Farm, and a new windmill is built. This one is built not for generating electricity, but for milling corn (which is far more profitable). The farm seems richer, but only the pigs and dogs live in luxury. Squealer takes the sheep off to teach them a new chant, and when they come back to their astonishment all the pigs are walking upright, and Napoleon has a whip. Just as some of the animals are about to complain the sheep chant “Four legs good, two legs better!” Only the last commandment remains, and when Clover asks Benjamin to read it, it says “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”. The pigs also start to smoke pipes, read magazines, and listen to the radio.

Napoleon invites many farmers to tour Animal Farm. They praise him for his excellent farm, and Napoleon says they are getting rid of all the old customs, and referring to the farm as “Manor Farm” instead of Animal Farm. Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington get into a fight (since both of them played the Ace of Spades in a card game) and the animals realize they can no longer tell the humans from the pigs.

Important Quotes

“Beasts of England” Song
Soon and late the day is coming,
Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown,
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,
And the harness from our back,
Bit and spur shall rust forever,
Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,
Wheat and barley, oats and hay,
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels
Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,
Purer shall its waters be,
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labour,
Though we die before it break;
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,
All must toil for freedom’s sake.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken well and spread my tidings
Of the golden future time.

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