Animal Farm is a short book, but there is a lot to it. Here is a list of the top ten facts.
1. It is a fairy tale. This means it is short and has a lesson.
2. It is an allegory of the Russian Revolution. This means that some events and characters are based on real events.
3. An old pig named Old Major has a dream and calls the animals to listen to it. The dream is for a society with no humans, where the animals answer only to themselves and run the farm on their own. Old Major dies shortly after, but the animals are interested.
Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. (ch 1, p. 2)
4. The farmer, Jones, is very neglectful. He does not run his farm well, and the animals are not well taken care of. One day, the cows have not been milked and the animals have not been fed, so they overthrow him and drive the humans out and take over the farm. They rename it Animal Farm.
5. The animals reduce the teachings of Animalism to seven commandments. The last one is: “All animals are equal” and the sixth says that no animal should kill another. There are also commandments against human-like activities like sleeping in a bed, wearing clothes, and drinking alcohol.
6. The humans try to take back their farm, but the animals drive them out. Shortly after, the rivalry between Napoleon and Snowball reaches a head and Snowball is driven out. Squealer continues to act as propaganda minister. Napoleon begins training the puppies as a private security force.
7. The pigs begin to take more and more control over the farm. As they do, they change the commandments one at a time and tell the other animals that they remember wrong. The changes give the pigs more comfort and power, and allow them to act more human.
8. Napoleon puts the animals to work on the concept of the windmill, which is supposed to make their lives better by producing electricity. The windmill is destroyed several times. Boxer continues to the hardest worker.
His answer to every problem, every setback, was `I will work harder!' which he had adopted as his personal motto. (ch 3, p. 11)
9. The pigs begin trading with humans, making deals with Pilkington and Frederick. At one point they are tricked, but Napoleon tells the animals it is part of his plan.
10. The pigs begin to act more and more like humans. Napoleon makes a show of killing several animals he claims are in league with Snowball. All commandments are changed to one.
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS (ch 10, p. 51)
The pigs begin walking like humans. They have been wearing clothes and living in the house. The men come to visit and the animals can’t tell which is which.
All page numbers from: http://msxnet.org/orwell/print/animal_farm.pdf