Animal Farm Chapter 4 Summary and Analysis
by George Orwell

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Chapter 4 Summary and Analysis


As the months pass, word of Animal Farm begins to spread throughout the county. Napoleon and Snowball encourage this by sending out pigeons to tell the story of the rebellion and teach “Beasts of England” to neighboring farms. The two farmers on either side of Animal Farm claim to sympathize with Mr. Jones, but each one secretly wonders if he can somehow use the situation to his advantage. Mr. Pilkington is the easygoing farmer who owns overgrown Foxwood Farm, while the tough and shrewd Mr. Frederick owns Pinchfield Farm. Though they despise one another and rarely see eye to eye, they are both very frightened by the thought that the rebellion might spread to their own farms. They deliberately try to spread the word that Animal Farm is plagued by infighting and starvation. After it becomes clear that the residents of Animal Farm are not starving, the men begin to spread rumors that Animal Farm is a hotbed of depraved behavior such as cannibalism and torture. These rumors are not very convincing, however, and word that Animal Farm is a success continues to spread, causing a wave of rebelliousness among farm animals in the county. Soon, animals everywhere are singing “Beasts of England,” much to the chagrin of their human masters.

That fall, Mr. Jones assembles men from Foxwood and Pinchfield and returns to reclaim Animal Farm. The animals have prepared for this, and Snowball, who has been studying the campaigns of Julius Caesar, leads the defense of the farm. The animals attack the approaching farmers in waves, with the birds and geese followed by the goats. Eventually, they lure the men into the yard, where the pigs, cows, and horses launch the main attack. Snowball is injured when he leaps for Mr. Jones, a sheep is killed, and a farmhand is stunned by Boxer’s hooves before the men flee the yard in terror. The animals celebrate their victory, though Boxer is very upset when he believes he has killed the young farmhand. Mollie is noticeably absent but is later found hiding in her stall, having fled when the gun went off. They hold a funeral for the sheep and decide to designate a military decoration—“Animal Hero, First Class”—which is awarded to Snowball and Boxer. The sheep is posthumously awarded “Animal Hero, Second Class.” The animals decide to call the battle the “Battle of Cowshed” and resolve to fire Mr. Jones’s gun twice every year: once on the anniversary of the battle and once on the anniversary of the rebellion.


Snowball’s position as the commander of Animal Farm’s defenses parallels Trotsky’s critical military contributions as the commander of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and the dissolution of the monarchy, Russia fell into civil war as various factions vied for power, the two largest factions being the Red Army (advocating Bolshevik socialism) and the White Army (a more diverse group that included adherents of capitalism, monarchy, and alternative socialism). Led by Trotsky, the Red Army defeated the...

(The entire section is 773 words.)