Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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In Chapters 5-7 of Animal Farm, what causes the animals to struggle with breaking up the stones for the windmill, and what is the outcome?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One of the main problems the animals run into when constructing the windmill is how to break the massive pieces of limestone into suitable sizes. Initially, the animals thought there was no way to break up the stone without the use of picks and crowbars, which were impossible to use because no animal could stand on their hind legs or correctly wield the human tools. Eventually, the animals decided to use the force of gravity to break up the stone by hauling large slabs of limestone to the top of the quarry and letting them tumble down to the bottom of the quarry, where the slabs would break into smaller pieces. Once the limestone was broken into smaller pieces, they would load the stone into carts and haul it back up the quarry.

The only issue with this method is that it is arduous, taxing work, which exhausts Boxer, who does the majority of the heavy lifting. The animals are able to retrieve the necessary limestone to build the windmill, and they eventually finish construction. However, Boxer uses all of his energy hauling the stone and eventually exhausts himself.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At first, the animals could find no way to break up the stones into smaller pieces. Picks and crowbars seemed to be the most logical tools, but they were useless to the animals, who had no hands and could not stand on their hind legs. However, a solution was finally discovered. Large boulders were in abundance on the farm, so, with much effort, the animals attached ropes to them and dragged them

... to the top of the quarry, where they were toppled over the edge, to shatter to pieces below.

The smaller pieces were then transported by the horses in carts and pulled to the site where the windmill would be constructed; old Benjamin and Muriel both helped, and the sheep "dragged single blocks." The work was painstakingly slow, and sometimes the boulders did not break. Boxer, of course, was the hardest worker of all, always reminding the other animals that "I will work harder" and "Napoleon is always right."

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