Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis
After the executions, some of the animals remember that there is a commandment against killing other animals. When they check the wall, however, they find that the commandment reads “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” The animals spend the next year rebuilding the windmill, and at times, it feels like they work longer hours than they ever did under Mr. Jones. Squealer frequently announces figures showing that production has increased dramatically. Since the animals can no longer clearly remember what life was like under Mr. Jones, they have no reason to dispute Squealer’s claims. Napoleon now gives all of his orders through the other pigs and only leaves the farmhouse with great ceremony. The animals, encouraged by the pigs, now refer to Napoleon with titles like “our Leader, Comrade Napoleon” and frequently attribute any good things that happen on the farm to him. Minimus composes a poem glorifying Napoleon entitled “Comrade Napoleon,” while Squealer paints a gigantic portrait of Napoleon on the barn wall.
Napoleon continues to negotiate with both Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington for the sale of the timber. The animals much prefer Mr. Pilkington because it is rumored that Mr. Frederick is planning an attack on the farm. Meanwhile, Napoleon executes three hens who confess to planning to assassinate him, and he increases his personal security. Rumors spread that Napoleon will indeed sell the timber to Mr. Pilkington, as they have developed a friendlier relationship. The animals still distrust any human, but they are glad that they are not doing business with Mr. Frederick, who they have heard is sadistic and abusive toward his animals. Napoleon announces that he never had any intention of selling to Mr. Frederick and, respecting his forthcoming agreement with Mr. Pilkington, stops sending out pigeons with messages of rebellion to Foxwood Farm. Furthermore, the pigeons’ slogan of “Death to Humanity” is replaced by “Death to Frederick.” Meanwhile, the animals finally finish the windmill, which Napoleon announces will be named “Napoleon Mill.” The animals are utterly exhausted but also excited by the difference that the windmill will make in their lives.
The animals are then shocked to learn that Napoleon has actually sold the timber to Mr. Frederick. The pigeons are now told to avoid Pinchfield Farm, and their slogan is changed to “Death to Pilkington.” Napoleon tells the farm that the rumors about Mr. Frederick’s plan to attack and his cruelty are merely exaggerations and were probably spread by Snowball . Meanwhile, the pigs applaud Napoleon’s cunning in pretending to favor Mr. Pilkington to make Mr. Frederick drive up his price. Napoleon demands that Mr. Frederick pay him in five-pound notes, which he then displays on a china dish for the animals to view. A few days later, Mr. Whymper meets with Napoleon, and the animals hear a roar of rage. Word soon spreads that Mr. Frederick paid Napoleon in forgeries and took the timber for nothing. Enraged, Napoleon calls for Mr. Frederick’s death and warns the animals that they should expect an attack. The next morning, Mr. Frederick and his men come into the yard and use guns to force the animals to retreat to the farm buildings. Trapped, the animals watch helplessly as the men begin to drill a hole in the base of the windmill. It is Benjamin who first realizes that they intend to fill the hole with blasting powder. In a few moments, there is a tremendous explosion and the windmill is gone. Furious and no longer cognizant of the danger, the animals rush out and attack the men. The men are injured and driven away, but not before several animals are killed and nearly all of them injured. Squealer and the pigs try to convince the animals to celebrate their victory, but the animals see their dead comrades and the spot where the windmill once was and feel there is little to celebrate. After Napoleon gives a speech about the battle, the...
(The entire section is 1,368 words.)