What happens in Animal Farm by George Orwell, chapter by chapter?
An old pig named Old Major shares with the animals his vision of a farm without humans.
Farmer Jones and his men get drunk one time too many, and the animals expel them. The animals reduce Old Major’s ideas to the Seven Commandments of Animalism.
THE SEVEN COMMANDMENTS
1. Whatever goes upon two 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. (Ch. 2)
The animals call each other comrades. They organize each other, but the pigs gradually develop as being in charge.
The animals bring the harvest in themselves, priding themselves on their efficiency. Almost every animal helps. The pigs supervise. The pigs begin teaching themselves and some of the smarter animals to read. They also save the milk and apples for themselves, which surprises the other animals because they thought these goodies would be shared equally. The pigs say they are the brainworkers so they need them.
The humans are frightened of what is happening and try to retake Animal Farm. The animals win, but have some losses. Boxer is sad because he accidentally kills a man.
Mollie doesn’t like that she has no sugar or ribbons. The others warn her against talking to humans, but she prefers them and runs off to another farm. Snowball has been designing a windmill to electrify the farm. Napoleon and a some of the other animals are against it, dividing the farm. A group of dogs secretly working for Napoleon comes in and run Snowball out, and Squealer, Napoleon’s mouthpiece, tells the animals that he was in league with Jones, and Napoleon was never really opposed to the windmill.
The animals work hard on the windmill, but do not seem to be getting anywhere. The pigs announce that Mr. Whymper, a human, will be a go-between for Animal Farm with neighboring farms so they can trade. The animals are surprised, but Squealer explains that they are doing nothing against the commandments. Then they learn that the pigs are sleeping in beds, and the commandments are changed to add a prohibition against sheets, not beds. The windmill is destroyed, and Snowball is blamed.
It is winter, and food runs short. The pigs demand that the hens give up some of their eggs to sell. The hens go on strike, but Napoleon has some of them killed by the dogs and the others fall into line. Snowball is supposedly still at work being a spy for humans. A string of confessions of animals like hens and sheep leads to executions for those supposedly in league with Snowball.
The animals remember that there was a commandment against an animal killing another animal, and find the commandment changed to add “without cause.” As with the other changes, the animals assume they just misremembered. Napoleon is rarely seen without his retinue of dogs, and is spoken of with titles and respect. The animals sell some wood to a neighbor, Fredrick, and are paid with counterfeit bills. The next day, there is another attack on the farm. The animals win, but it is a hard fight. The pigs celebrate with whiskey.
Boxer was injured, but is not allowed to retire. Food is still tight. When Boxer cannot work anymore, the pigs claim he is going to a hospital when he is really sent to a slaughterhouse. Squealer tells them the vet is using a van he bought from a slaughterhouse, and just didn’t change the lettering. Boxer had excellent medical care and died happy.
Years pass, and the animals just come to accept the tyranny of the pigs. The pigs begin walking on two legs and carrying whips. The commandments are replaced with one statement.
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS (Ch. 10)
The pigs invite the humans over for a card game, and the animals outside can’t tell the difference between them and the humans.