Short summary - Animal Farm. A Fairy Story - George Orwell

British literature summaries -

Short summary - Animal Farm. A Fairy Story
George Orwell

Mr. Jones owns the Manor Farm near Willingdon in England. The old hog Major collects at night in a large barn all the animals that live here. He says that they live in slavery and poverty, because a person appropriates the fruits of their labor, and calls for rebellion: you need to free yourself from a person, and the animals will immediately become free and rich. Major sings the old song "Beasts of England." Animals together pick up. The preparations for the uprising are undertaken by pigs, who are considered the most intelligent animals. Among them, Napoleon, Snezhok and Squeal stand out. They turn Major’s teachings into a harmonious philosophical system called Animalism and expound its foundations to others in secret gatherings. The most loyal students are the draft horses Boxer and Clover. The rebellion comes earlier than you might expect, as Jones drinks, and his workers completely abandoned the farm and stopped feeding cattle. The patience of animals comes to an end, they pounce on their tormentors and drive them away. Now the farm, the farmyard Manor belong to animals. They destroy everything that reminds them of the owner, and his house is left as a museum, but none of them should ever live there. The estate is given a new name: "Animal Farm".

The principles of Pig Animalism reduce to the Seven Commandments and write them on the wall of the barn. According to them, now and forever, animals are obliged to live in the "Farmyard":

  1. All two-legged are enemies.
  2. All four-legged or with wings are friends.
  3. Animals must not wear clothing.
  4. Animals should not sleep in bed.
  5. Animals should not drink alcohol.
  6. Animals should not kill other animals for no reason.
  7. All animals are equal.

For those who cannot remember all the Commandments, Snowball reduces them to one: «Four legs are good, two legs are bad.»

Animals are happy, although they work from dawn to dawn. Boxer works for three. His motto is: «I will work even harder.» On Sundays, general meetings are held; pigs always put forward resolutions, the rest only vote. Then everyone sings the hymn "The Beasts of England." Pigs do not do work; they lead others.

Jones and his workers attack the Animal Farm, but the animals fearlessly defend themselves and people retreat in panic. Victory delights animals. They call the battle the Battle of the Cowshed, establish the Order "Animal Hero" of the first and second degree and reward the distinguished ones in the battle of Snezhka and Boxer.

Snowball and Napoleon are constantly arguing at meetings, especially about the construction of a windmill. The idea belongs to Snowball, who himself performs measurements, calculations and drawings: he wants to connect a generator to the windmill and supply the farm with electricity. Napoleon objects from the very beginning. And when Snezhok convinces the animals to vote at a meeting in his favor, at the signal of Napoleon, nine huge ferocious dogs burst into the barn and pounce on Snezhka. He barely escapes, and no one else ever sees him. Napoleon cancels any meetings. All issues will now be decided by a special committee of pigs, headed by himself; they will sit separately and then announce their decisions. The menacing growl of dogs drowns out objections. The boxer expresses the general opinion with the words: "If this is said by Comrade Napoleon, then this is correct." Henceforth, his second motto is:

Napoleon announces that the windmill should still be built. It turns out that Napoleon always insisted on this construction, and Snowball just stole and appropriated all his calculations and drawings. Napoleon had to pretend that he was against, because there was no other way to get rid of Snezhka, "who was a dangerous person and had a bad influence on everyone." The explosion that rang out one night destroys a half-built windmill. Napoleon says that this is Snezhka’s revenge for his shameful exile, accuses him of many crimes and announces the death sentence. He calls for immediate recovery of the windmill.

Soon Napoleon, collecting animals in the yard, appears accompanied by dogs. He makes the pigs who once objected to him, and then several sheep, chickens and geese admit to a secret relationship with Snezhka. Dogs immediately gnaw their throats. Shocked animals mournfully begin to sing "Beasts of England", but Napoleon forbids the performance of the anthem forever. Moreover, it turns out that the sixth Commandment reads: «Animals must not kill other animals for no reason.» Now it is clear to everyone that traitors who themselves pleaded guilty needed to be executed.

Mr. Frederick, who lives next door, with fifteen armed workers attacks the Animal Farm, they injure and kill many animals and blow up a newly built windmill. Animals repel the attack, but are themselves bloodless and exhausted. But, listening to the solemn speech of Napoleon, they believe that they won the greatest victory in the Battle of the windmill.

Boxer dies from overwork. Over the years, fewer and fewer animals remain who remember life on the farm before the Rebellion. The Farmyard is gradually becoming richer, but everyone, except pigs and dogs, continues to starve, sleep on straw, drink from a pond, work day and night in the fields, suffer from cold in winter, and heat in summer. With the help of reports and summaries, Shrieker invariably proves that life on the farm is getting better every day. Animals are proud that they are not like everyone else: they own the only farm in the whole of England, where everyone is equal, free and works for their own benefit.

Meanwhile, the pigs move to Jones' house and sleep in bed. Napoleon lives in a separate room and eats from the ceremonial service. Pigs begin to trade with people. They drink whiskey and beer, which they themselves brew. They demand that all other animals give way to them. Having broken the next Commandment, the pigs, using the gullibility of animals, rewrite it in the way that suits them, and the only commandment remains on the wall of the barn: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." In the end, the pigs pull on Jones' clothes and begin to walk on their hind legs, under the approving bleating of the sheep, trained by Screech: "Four legs is good, two legs are better."

People from neighboring farms come to visit pigs. Animals look in the living room window. At the table, guests and hosts play cards, drink beer and pronounce almost identical toasts for friendship and normal business relations. Napoleon shows documents confirming that from now on the farm is a joint property of pigs and is again called the Farm Manor. Then a quarrel flares up, everyone shouts and fights, and it is no longer possible to make out where the man is and where the pig is.