In Animal Farm, why does Napoleon order that the hens' eggs be sold, and how does he react when the hens rebel against his orders?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter seven, Squealer announces that Napoleon has accepted a contract through Mr. Whymper for four hundred eggs a week in exchange for grain and meal to keep the farm going until summer, when conditions are easier. The hens raise a terrible outcry when they receive this information and begin to protest that taking their eggs away at this time is murder. Three young Black Minorca pullets stage a rebellion by flying up to the rafters, where they lay their eggs and smash them to pieces by rolling them onto the ground. Napoleon responds by ordering that their food rations be stopped and declares that any animal caught feeding the hens should be punished by death. Napoleon's dogs make sure that the rebelling hens are not fed, and nine hens die of starvation before the others capitulate and go back to their nesting boxes. Napoleon's harsh orders and callous nature depict him as a ruthless tyrant who is willing to kill anyone opposing his political agenda or challenging his authority.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Conditions on the Animal Farm are growing worse. It is winter and food is scarce. In order to make some money to buy food and keep the farm going, Squealer announces that the hens must give up 400 eggs a week. The hens consider this murder so they begin the lay their eggs in the rafters of the barn and smash them on the floor. Napoleon retaliates by refusing the hens food. He tells the other animals that any one caught giving the hens even one pellet of corn will be executed. The hens hold out for five days and are then forced to surrender. Napoleon is able to supply 400 eggs a week to Whymper.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial