Key Plot Points

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Last Updated on July 8, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 879

Revolutionary Ideas Spread (Chapter 1): Old Major, a senior pig on Manor Farm, calls all the animals together to share a vision he’s had in a dream. In his dream, animals govern themselves, freed from the burdens of their human overlords who reap the products of animal labor without ever working themselves. Inspired to take control of their lives and the farm, the animals sing their new anthem, “Beasts of England,” in chorus. 

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The Animals Revolt (Chapter 2): Upon Old Major’s death, the other pigs on the farm name the ideology he put forward: Animalism. When Mr. Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, forgets to feed the animals, the animals break into the store-shed to feed themselves. Mr. Jones and his men try to take control of the animals and the animals attack, running the humans off the farm. The animals rename the farm “Animal Farm” and write the Seven Commandments of Animalism on the barn for all to see. 

The Pigs Claim Milk and Apples for Themselves (Chapter 3): The animals cooperate to keep Animal Farm running and collectivize their resources. The pigs argue that they are owed all the milk and apples the farm produces, saying that they are completing the challenging mental rigors of running the farm and need the additional nutrition. Convinced, the animals vote in favor of this arrangement. 

The Battle with the Neighbors (Chapter 4): Neighboring human farmers Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick learn about the revolution on Animal Farm and fear that the revolution will spread to their animals. The neighbors attack, and a battle ensues. Snowball, one of the most tactically minded pigs on the farm, leads the animals in battle and awards himself the prize “Animal Hero, First Class.” 

Napoleon Exiles Snowball (Chapter 5): Conflict brews between Snowball and another large, dominant pig on the farm, Napoleon. The two argue about whether or not the animals should build a windmill. While Napoleon initially rejects the idea, Snowball persuades the others with an eloquent speech. Before an official vote can take place, Napoleon has his dogs run Snowball off the farm. With Snowball gone, Napoleon takes credit for planning the windmill. 

Life Under Napoleon (Chapter 6): Napoleon works the animals at a gruelling pace in order to build the windmill and keep themselves fed. Some of the animals start to notice that the pigs are breaking some of the early tenets of Animalism, such as sleeping in beds. Napoleon blames any problems that arise on the farm, such as the wind that knocks over the burgeoning windmill, on Snowball. Some animals notice that the Seven Commandments of Animalism are not written exactly as they remember. 

Slaughter in the Yard (Chapter 7): A brutal winter causes famine on the farm, and rebellion develops when the hens learn their eggs will be confiscated by the pigs. Napoleon uses his dogs to starve the hens, and nine die. When Napoleon calls a meeting saying that he knows there have been animals on the farm maintaining an alliance with Snowball, some animals come forward and confess. Napoleon has the confessors slaughtered by his dogs. 

Cheated by the Neighbors (Chapter 8): As shortages on Animal Farm continue, Napoleon decides to trade with the neighbors. Refusing to accept a check from Mr. Pilkington, the animals accept cash from Mr. Frederick, only to find out after the transaction that the cash is fake. The humans attack again, using dynamite to destroy the windmill the animals were rebuilding. The animals attack the humans and successfully drive them away. The pigs claim victory, but the other animals only see the loss of life and the windmill. The pigs celebrate by wearing human clothes and drinking alcohol . Muriel later observes that the animals must have remembered the Fifth Commandment of Animalism incorrectly, for it now reads “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.” 

Boxer Is Sent to the Glue Factory (Chapter 9): Since the revolution, the most reliable and hardest working animal on the farm has been Boxer, a large and powerful horse. Now, years after the revolution, Boxer is in decline and looking forward to retirement on the farm. Instead, the pigs arrange to sell him to a local slaughterer and glue producer. The other animals read the letters on the slaughterer’s carriage too late, and Boxer fails to escape. Squealer and Napoleon persuade the animals that Boxer went to a hospital but died despite the doctor’s best efforts. The animals learn that the pigs have somehow acquired money to buy whiskey. 

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others (Chapter 10): Years pass and the farm continues to change. The animals are shocked to see Squealer, then other pigs, walk on two legs. As supplies on the farm continue to be depleted, Napoleon and the pigs argue that their survival necessitates an alliance with the nearby farms owned by humans. Clover has Benjamin read her the commandments, but only one remains: All Animals Are Equal But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others. In the end, the pigs change the farm’s name back to Manor Farm, wear clothes, walk on two feet, and cavort alongside the human owners of neighboring farms. The animals can no longer tell the difference between the humans and the pigs. 

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Historical Context