Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis
The animals begin to rebuild the windmill and are convinced that the rumors spread by the humans—that the windmill fell over because its walls were too thin—are only created out of spite. Despite this, the animals now build walls twice as thick as the original eighteen-inch constructions. The work is very demanding, and morale among the animals is low. Though Squealer makes frequent speeches about the “dignity of labor,” the animals are more inspired by Boxer’s tireless contribution. When food runs short, there are periods when all the animals nearly starve. Desperate to conceal this dire situation from the outside world, Napoleon frequently invites Mr. Whymper to visit and instructs the sheep to talk about ration increases within earshot. He also orders that the almost-empty food bins be filled with sand. The sand is then concealed with what little food remains to make the bins appear full. Mr. Whymper falls for these tricks and continues to report to the outside world that Animal Farm is a success.
Napoleon now rarely comes out of the farmhouse and is escorted by his dogs when he does. Rather than addressing the animals himself, Napoleon issues nearly all his orders through Squealer. One day, Squealer announces that Napoleon has arranged to sell four hundred eggs a week, which will pay for enough food to keep the farm going until summer. The hens are outraged and call the seizure of their eggs murder. Several of the hens rebel, retreating to the rafters and laying their eggs there so that they smash upon the floor. In response, Napoleon stops their rations and forbids any animal from giving them food. After five days and the death of nine hens, the rest of the hens give in and return to their nesting boxes. Meanwhile, rumors spread on the farm that Snowball is hiding at one of the neighboring farms. Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick are both anxious to buy a stack of timber from Animal Farm, and Napoleon seems unable to decide who to sell it to.
In the spring, it is announced that Snowball has been visiting the farm at night and causing mischief. From then on, whenever something goes wrong on the farm, the animals believe Snowball is to blame. One day, Squealer announces that the pigs have recently found documents that prove Snowball was in league with Mr. Jones from the beginning and that he conspired to allow the animals to be defeated at the Battle of Cowshed. Confused, the animals point out that Snowball fought bravely and was even awarded “Animal Hero, First Class.” Squealer incredulously asks the animals whether they have forgotten how Snowball turned and fled as soon as the men entered the yard. Squealer claims that the animals were only saved when Napoleon bravely charged Mr. Jones and bit his leg. Hearing Squealer’s graphic description, the animals start to think that maybe that is what happened. Boxer, however, remains unconvinced that Snowball was bad from the beginning until Squealer explicitly tells him that Napoleon has declared it to be the truth.
Several days later, all of the animals are assembled in the yard. Napoleon appears wearing medals (having awarded himself “Animal Hero, First Class” and “Animal Hero, Second Class”), and at his command, his dogs seize the four pigs who have attempted to question some of Napoleon’s policies. The dogs also attempt to attack Boxer, but he easily fends them off with his hooves. Napoleon orders the pigs to confess their crimes, and they admit that they have secretly been taking orders from Snowball and confirm that Snowball has been in league with Mr. Jones the whole time. As soon as the pigs finish confessing, the dogs rip their throats out, and Napoleon asks whether any other animals have confessions to make. The hens who led the egg rebellion, a goose, and three sheep all admit to having committed various crimes, most of them claiming to have been encouraged by Snowball. All who come forward are immediately killed, and when it is over, a pile...
(The entire section is 1,354 words.)