Animal Farm Chapter 5 Summary and Analysis
by George Orwell

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Chapter 5 Summary and Analysis


As life on the farm goes on, Mollie becomes more and more difficult. She frequently makes excuses as to why she cannot work, and one day Clover confronts Mollie, saying that she saw one of Mr. Pilkington’s men stroking Mollie’s nose over the hedge dividing Animal Farm and Foxwood. Mollie nervously denies any wrongdoing and gallops away, but Clover, suspecting that not all is right, goes to Mollie’s stall and finds hair ribbons and lump sugar stashed under the hay. A few days later, Mollie disappears from Animal Farm. The pigeons later report that they saw her pulling a small decorated cart for a man who appeared to own a pub. The pigeons observed that Mollie had ribbons in her hair and appeared quite content as the man fed her sugar cubes and stroked her nose. From that day on, Mollie is no longer spoken of at Animal Farm.

By midwinter, the ground on the farm is too hard for planting, so the animals occupy their time with frequent meetings in the barn to plan for the next season. The animals now all accept that the pigs are the only ones who can come up with farm policies, though their proposals must be ratified by a majority vote from all the animals. Snowball and Napoleon continue to disagree, and each develops his own loyal following. Snowball is the more effective orator and is better able to convince animals to side with him during his speeches, while Napoleon is better at garnering support behind the scenes. Napoleon influences the sheep, prompting them to burst into disruptive chants of “Four legs good, two legs bad” during the important moments of Snowball’s speeches. For weeks, Snowball has been developing plans for an electricity-generating windmill by teaching himself about mechanics and electricity from Mr. Jones’s old books. The animals find his elaborate plans very impressive, though they do not understand them. Napoleon opposes the windmill from the start, arguing that the animals must focus on food production instead. He even goes so far as to urinate on Snowball’s plans for the windmill. The animals end up fairly evenly divided on the issue. Snowball claims that the machines powered by the windmill’s electricity would reduce the farm’s workload and allow the animals to work only three days a week. He adds that the electricity could heat the animals’ stalls during the winter. Meanwhile, Napoleon claims that the windmill is a waste of time and that the animals will all starve to death before it is completed. The only animal who does not take a side is the cynical old donkey, Benjamin, who refuses to believe the promises of either Napoleon or Snowball, insisting that “life would go on as it had always gone on—that is, badly.”

Napoleon and Snowball also disagree over the future defense of the farm, though both agree that Mr. Jones is sure to return. Napoleon thinks the animals should gather firearms and learn to use them, while Snowball thinks they should send out more pigeons to try to spread the rebellion beyond their farm. As the two debate various issues, the animals tend to find themselves agreeing with whoever is currently speaking. When Snowball’s plans for the windmill are completed, it is finally put to a vote. Snowball gives an impassioned speech in favor of the windmill, while Napoleon delivers an unusually brief and indifferent argument against it. It is clear that the farm is going to vote in Snowball’s favor when, suddenly, Napoleon gives a “high-pitched whimper” and nine ferocious dogs rush into the barn. The dogs attack Snowball, who only just avoids them. The animals watch as the dogs chase Snowball from the yard until he escapes through a hole in the fence. When the dogs return, the animals realize that they are the former puppies that Napoleon took into the loft.

Napoleon gets on the podium and announces that there will be no more debates or meetings and that farm policy will now be decided by a committee of pigs, over which he will preside. The animals are...

(The entire section is 1,522 words.)