George Orwell’s story is set on a farm named Manor Farm. The owner of this farm was Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was a farmer who worked his animals very hard. Mr. Jones would spend his night’s drinking; due to his drinking, he would sometimes forget to feed his animals. While his animals often went without food, Mr. Jones would have feasts. The animals did not appreciate this treatment and lifestyle. The animals decided to do something about the way they lived. The animals wanted to get out from under the control of the farmer, Mr. Jones.
There was a dream, or vision, instilled into the animals of a better life. This life was built around the idea of revolting against Mr. Jones and living a better life. This dream was not only this idea of revolting against Mr. Jones, but the dream was also to revolt against all humans and being free of their control. The pig that had this vision was Old Major. At the beginning of the story, Old Major calls all the animals together to speak to them. Old Major tells the animals of his dream and vision for the animal population. The animals would finally be free of the human’s control. He told them that it would not be an easy task. In order to make this dream and reality was through hard work and unity. Old Major taught them a song called Beasts of England. This song quickly became their anthem and inspiration. A few short days later Old Major drew his final breath and died.
After Old Major’s death, someone had to lead the animals and carry-out Old Major’s vision and dream. Three pigs: Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer took it upon themselves to make Old Major’s dream a reality. They transform old Major’s vision and ideas to create their own philosophy called Animalism. They quickly take action, formulate a plan, and put their philosophy into effect. One night the animals gathered together to run off Mr. Jones. The animals were now in control of the farm and they rename Manor Farm to Animal Farm. When Mr. Jones returns to take back his farm, the animals defeat him and drive him off. This event was remembered as the Battle of Cowshed.
Animal Farm seemed to be running smoothly at the beginning. Snowball began teaching the animals how to read. Napoleon took a litter of puppies and trained as well as brainwash them for his own purposes. As time passed Napoleon and Snowball began to disagree on how the farm should be run and what the future of the farm would look like. The two pigs were not skilled in sharing the power. Snowball devised a scheme to build a windmill to aid in the efficiency of the way the farm was run and to bring electricity to the farm. The reason for the windmill was to make life on the farm easier and require less work from the animals on the farm. Napoleon does not see the need for the windmill because he thinks that the problem on the farm is food production. Napoleon urinates on Snowball’s plans for the windmill. Napoleon orders his dogs to run Snowball off the farm.
Napoleon is now in charge and he quickly takes action. He forbids meetings other than coming together on Sunday to salute the flag, sing Beasts of England, and receive their work orders for the week. Napoleon also announces that all decisions about the farm will be made by the pigs. Napoleon eventually changed his mind about the windmill and forces the animals build it. Boxer, the horse, works day and night on building the windmill. Boxer was the animal that devoted his time and life to working toward Old Major’s vision for the animals. One night the windmill was found destroyed by lightning but Napoleon placed all the blame upon Snowball. He claimed that snowball had returned to sabotage the farm. Napoleon took all the animals that opposed his rule and stipulations and left them to the mercy of his dog’s teeth.
Napoleon now forbids the singing of Beasts of England because he is afraid that the animals might take action and revolt against the pigs. Instead of Beasts of England Napoleon introduces a new song, Comrade Napoleon. Napoleon is now acting more and more like a human, sleeping in the house, drinking, and making trade deals with other farmers (humans). After a trade deal went bad the men in the area came and attacked the farm and blew up the windmill. In this battle, Boxer was severely injured. After the battle, Boxer fell while working on the rebuilding of the windmill due to his injury; Therefore, Napoleon sold him to a glue factory before any of the animals realized. Squealer lies and tells the animals that Boxer had died in peace after Napoleon sent him to get treatment. It was the most afflicting sight I have ever seen! (Orwell pg 48) He also tells the animals that with his dying breath, Boxer praised the rebellion.
As the years go by on the farm, they become more like humans every day. They have now begun walking upright and even wearing clothes. Now the commandments, that were painted on the side of the barn at the beginning of the rebellion, have been replaced with more of Napoleon’s propaganda. ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS, (Orwell pg 51-520 was the new saying that had replaced the old commandments. The sheep have begun chanting, Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! (Orwell pg 51) At the end of the book, the pigs were gathered in the house and the other animals were outside peering in the window and what they saw was not quite like anything they had ever seen before, they saw the pigs but their faces looked as if they were humans.