Download Animal Farm Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapter 6 Summary and Analysis

Summary

Over the next year, the animals work hard to build the windmill. Under Napoleon’s direction, they work a sixty-hour week and soon come to work on Sundays as well. To build the windmill, the animals must laboriously drag boulders up a hill and push them over the ledge so that they shatter into more manageable pieces. The project could not be accomplished without Boxer, who begins to work on the windmill in his free time. The focus on the windmill means that some of the regular planting is not accomplished, and as the summer wears on, the animals begin to feel the shortages. Many products, such as iron for the horses’ shoes, dog biscuits, and machinery for the windmill cannot be produced on the farm. In response, Napoleon announces that Animal Farm will begin to trade with the neighboring farms. For the first trade, he plans to sell their wheat crop and possibly some eggs. Napoleon says that the hens should welcome the chance to make a special contribution to the windmill. The animals are uneasy as they seem to remember a prohibition against using money and trade. Squealer comes around, however, and convinces the animals that no such resolution has ever been passed, and since the animals cannot find it in writing, they eventually agree that they must have imagined such a rule.

Every week, Mr. Whymper, the human intermediary between Animal Farm and the outside human world, comes to the farm. His presence makes the animals uncomfortable, but they enjoy watching him take orders from Napoleon. The humans outside the farm still hope that Animal Farm will be a failure, but they have finally stopped referring to it as Manor Farm. Having given up hope of reclaiming the farm, Mr. Jones moves to a different part of the county. There are constant rumors that Napoleon is about to enter into a business arrangement with either Mr. Frederick or Mr. Pilkington (but never both). Around this time, the pigs move in to the farmhouse to—as Squealer claims—have a quiet place to work. The animals are disturbed to hear that the pigs are sleeping in the beds. Clover returns to the wall with the Seven Commandments, remembering a rule against beds. When she asks Muriel, a goat, to help her read the commandments, Muriel tells her that the commandment says “No animals shall sleep in a bed with sheets.” As Squealer passes by, he explains that the commandment never outlawed simply sleeping in a bed and informs Clover that the pigs have removed all the sheets. When he mentions the danger of Mr. Jones returning if the pigs are not well rested, the animals quickly drop their complaints.

By autumn, the windmill is half finished. One night there is a terrible windstorm, and the next morning, the animals are devastated to see that the windmill is in ruins. Napoleon tells the animals that Snowball is responsible for the destruction of the windmill and offers a reward to any animal that captures him. Soon after Napoleon’s announcement, the tracks of a pig are found near the windmill. Napoleon deems this proof of Snowball’s involvement and announces that work must begin immediately on rebuilding the windmill.

Analysis

Despite the increasingly harsh conditions on the farm, the pigs’ effective propaganda leads the animals to believe that they are working for their own benefit: “They grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything that they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings.” Though the animals no longer work for the benefit of humans, they fail to realize that the pigs are becoming increasingly similar to their former human masters. Napoleon’s exploitation of the animals’ labor continues as he forces them to work “voluntarily” on Sundays so they can receive rations. Napoleon and the pigs continue to break the commandments of the farm by engaging in trade, for which they enlist the help of Mr. Whymper. Mr. Whymper represents...

(The entire section is 1,051 words.)