Summary | Animal Farm by George Orwell

The story starts out when a boar named Old Major gathers all of the animals of Manor Farm in the barn. He tells him of the vision he had in his dream where all animals were united, without humans controlling their lives. He speaks to the other animals about how they need to strive for the utopia that he saw in his dream. Old Major then taught the farm animals how to sing the hymn “Beasts of England”, in which his prophecy was drawn.  The animals treated Old Major’s dream with high regard. But after the three nights that followed, Old Major died. Three pigs named Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer took Old Major’s vision and made it into an ideology called Animalism. One night, the farm animals drove away from the Jones – the farm owner – out of the land. The animals were then renamed Manor Farm into Animal Farm. The stout horse named Boxer was especially devoted to the farm, using his strength for the good of the animals which lived there. In fact, he made his own maxim “I will work harder” to show his true commitment to the farm.

Everything worked out then in Animal Farm. The pig named Snowball taught the animals how to read, and Napoleon took a group of young puppies and taught them the principles of Animalism. Later on, Jones made an attempt to retake his farm, but he failed. And they called this battle as the Battle of the Cowshed, and they took the gun Jones left to make it serve as the reminder of this battle. As time passed by, Snowball and Napoleon began showing signs of wanting to seize power over Animal Farm. Both of them tried to gain influence over the other animals to join their sides.

When Snowball proposed a plan to build a windmill, Napoleon refuted the plan and insisted that it would just be a waste of time. At a gathering to choose whether to take the project or not, Snowball gave a convincing speech.

And although Napoleon only gave a few words, he made a noise to signal the nine dogs to chase snowballs away from the farm. And so, Napoleon took the role as the leader and declared that there will no longer be meetings. And from then on, pigs alone will be the ones to decide what everyone should do.

It was no sooner that Napoleon changed his mind about the windmill. The animals began working on the construction and everyone devoted themselves to seeing it standing. One day, after a terrible storm, the animals saw their building collapse. The neighboring farmers spread the word that the walls which the animals built were too thin. But Napoleon was convinced that the wall the animals made were strong, and this was but the work of Snowball who came at night to topple the windmill.

Napoleon then staged a purge where animals who purportedly played a part in Snowball’s supposed scheme was executed by the dogs. With Napoleon’s authority undisputed, he began to mount his power over Animal Farm. He even altered the past, making Snowball look like the enemy.

Napoleon also began acting like a human being. He slept in a bed in Jones’ farmhouse, drank alcohol, and engaged in commerce with the neighboring farms.

The early Animalist principle sternly prohibited such activities, but Squealer, Napoleon’s right-hand, defended Napoleon’s every action. Squealer even convinced the other animals that the things which Napoleon did were for the good of all, even though it was very much the opposite.

Frederick, a neighboring farmer, tricked Napoleon into buying timber, and he then attacked the farm and destroyed the windmill. After the destruction of the windmill, the animals began to rally and fought back fervently, in which Boxer was greatly wounded. The animals began to chase the farmers, but Boxer’s own wounds wore him off. And later on, when they began to rebuild the windmill, Boxer fell while dragging stones to the top of a hill. He saw that his time was near its end. The next day, Boxer was nowhere to be found.

Squealer said that Boxer died peacefully after being sent to the hospital, with praises of the Rebellion as his last words. But what truly happened was that Napoleon sold Boxer to a glue maker so that he can have the money to buy more whiskey.

As the years went by, the pigs became much more human-like. They began to walk on two legs, wore human clothes, and even carried whips. Eventually, the seven principles of Animalism, referred to as the Seven Commandments, was changed to one, which was “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Napoleon invited the neighboring farmer – whose name was Pilkington – for supper and professed his agreement against the working classes of both the animal and human communities. He also changed the name of Animal Farm back to its original name, Manor Farm, agreeing with Pilkington that this name was the proper one. The farm animals were peeking through the farmhouse windows, and they could no longer tell which the pigs were and who the humans were.