Animal Farm Plot Summary
The story is set on the Manor Farm, owned and operated by Mr. Jones.
One night the prize boar, Old Major, tells all the other farm animals he has realized that the misery of their daily lives is all due to the tyranny of human beings, and that if they work to overthrow the humans their lives will become easy and comfortable.
After Old Major dies, the pigs (led by the two boars Snowball and Napoleon) start teaching his ideas (which they develop into a system of thought called Animalism) to the other animals. A few months later, Mr. Jones gets drunk and forgets to feed the animals, who become so hungry that they rebel and drive the human beings off the farm. They rename the farm 'Animal Farm' and write the Seven Commandments of Animalism up on the wall of the barn. Jones comes back with a group of armed men and tries to recapture the farm, but the animals, led by Snowball, defeat the men.
Snowball and Napoleon argue constantly over plans for the future of the farm, never able to agree - especially over a windmill which Snowball wants to build to provide the farm with electric power, and which Napoleon ridicules. Napoleon calls in nine dogs whom he has specially trained and they chase Snowball off the farm. Squealer, the very persuasive pig who relays most of Napoleon's decisions to the other animals, tells them that Snowball was a traitor in league with Jones, and that the windmill was really Napoleon's idea anyway and will go ahead.
The animals work hard - work on the windmill is slow and they rely heavily on Boxer the cart-horse, who is very strong and hard-working. Napoleon begins trading with nearby farms, and the pigs move into the farmhouse and sleep in the beds there - even though sleeping in beds like humans was forbidden by the original principles of Animalism.
The winter is difficult - the animals have little food. Napoleon and Squealer blame Snowball for everything that goes wrong on the farm, from bad crops to blocked drains. Then Napoleon's dogs attack four pigs, who then confess to plotting with Snowball and start a series of confessions of various 'crimes' from other animals - all of those who confess are slaughtered by the dogs, leaving the survivors shaken and miserable.
The windmill is finally completed and to get money to buy the machinery for it, Napoleon decides to sell a pile of timber - after wavering between the two neighboring farmers Pilkington and Frederick, he sells it to Frederick only to discover that he has been paid with worthless forged banknotes. Frederick and his men then come on to the farm and blow the windmill to pieces with explosives, although the animals manage to drive them off the farm again after a bloody battle. A few days later the pigs find a case of whisky in the farmhouse cellar and get drunk.
Boxer is injured while working on repairs to the windmill, and Benjamin notices that the van Napoleon calls to send him to the vet, has 'Horse Slaughterer' painted on the side. After Boxer has 'died in hospital' under care of the vet, the pigs mysteriously find money to buy another case of whiskey.
After many years, life is just as hard as it ever was. The pigs start walking on two legs. None of the old Commandments are left on the barn wall. A group of human farmers come to see the farm, they quarrel with the pigs over a game of cards - and the animals discover they can no longer tell which is human and which is pig.