Author: George Orwell
My Rating: 9/10
This book starts off at a farm, called Manor Farm, where the animals are treated badly by the farmer, Farmer Jones. One day an old pig, named Major, called all the animals together and prophesied that there would one day be a rebellion, and that one day animals would be the masters of themselves.
Old Major dies in the next chapter, and the rebellion happens sooner than expected. Two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, lead the fight. The animals are victorious and kick Jones off his farm. Napoleon and Snowball call a meeting in the barn.
They set up new rules, which they call Animalism, and Seven Commandments.
The commandments are:
1. Whatever goes upon 2 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.
After singing Beasts of England, their song that prophesied the rebellion, the animals go explore Jones’s house and decide that no animal shall go in there, but it will serve as a museum. Napoleon raises some pups until adulthood for his advantage. The animals make a heap of everything that reminded them of Jones and burned it. Mollie, one of the horses, does not want to give up her ribbons, but in the end everyone convinces her too.
The animals rename the farm to
Manor Animal farm. The pigs, namely Snowball, sets up a school for the animals. Most animals, except for Benjamin, a donkey, and Mollie, can’t get past the letter B. All the sheep learn to say is “Four legs good, Two legs bad”.
Snowball has plans to set up a windmill to generate electricity for the farm, but he says it will be hard work, but eventually all the animals vote for Snowball. Napoleon dosen’t like this, and send his dogs chasing after Snowball. Snowball is never seen again. Napoleon erects a government and declares himself leader, but still equal. He chooses Squealer, a pig, as his second in command.
Napoleon then brings Snowball’s plans for a windmill and says it was his idea. Benjamin and Boxer, a older horse, seem to remember that it was Snowball’s idea in the first place, but Napoleon, along with some growling from the dogs, convinces that their memory is wrong. The animals begin to build the windmill, and Napoleon promises living will be living easier.
One night, the windmill falls over, and Napoleon says it is Snowball’s doing. They begin to rebuild the windmill, this time with stronger walls. At the next meeting, Napoleon blames random animals for being in league with Snowball and Jones, and has his dogs kill them. Napoleon replaces Beasts of England with a song glorifying himself, then says that there will be no more meetings.
About this time, the pigs start sleeping in Jones’s house, and in Jones’s beds, to the other animals horror. Benjamin and Mollie go over to the commandments, where it now reads:
4: No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
The pigs, especially Napoleon, take a liking to alcohol, and when Benjamin is pretty sure that there was a rule against that, he goes over to the wall where it now reads 5: No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
Mr Fredrick, one of the farmers on the farm near their farm, rallies the other farmers to attack Animal Farm. Mr Fredrick blows up the windmill with explosives, but the animals win the battle, but with a lot of injuries. Old Boxer is injured, but he keeps telling himself “I will work harder”.
One day, while building the Windmill 3.0 Indestructible Edition, Boxer falls over. Napoleon supposedly calls an ambulance. Boxer is taken away, but Benjamin realizes that he is taken to be killed, as it says on the truck. Squealer tells everyone that the van was just bought by the hospital and the old words had not been painted over yet. The next day Squealer announces Boxer died, his last words being “Long live Napoleon!” and “Napoleon is always right”. That night, the pigs mysteriously came up with some money to buy more whiskey.
Years pass, and the pigs keep altering the rules a bit at a time, just so no one notices. The pigs begin adopting the ways of men. They wear clothes, and the Windmill 3.0 Indestructible Edition is finished.
One day, old Benjamin, Muriel (an old goat who is one of the few animals that can read) and Mollie, the last remaining original animals alive, besides Squealer, Napoleon and the dogs, see something that blows their minds. A pig walking on two legs. They then see all the pigs walking on two legs. The sheep are taken away for a few days. When they have come back, they have now learned, “Four legs good, two legs better!”
The pigs invite Farmer Fredrick over for dinner where they decide to call the farm Manor Farm, and the animals look in the window. Suddenly, they look from pig to man, and from man to pig, and they cannot tell the difference. The next day, they see Napoleon with a whip, and the wall with the commandments now reads “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
I have left out some of the characters, like Mr Whymper, who sells goods that cannot be made on the farm to the pigs, and Mr Pilkington, the other farmer. Or Muriel (a horse) and Moses (the raven).
Basically what I’m saying is, if you have a spare 3 hours, go read the book. It’s really short, and I finished it while coming back from snowboarding at Wolf Creek yesterday.