Short Summary of the Book
Old Major, aging boar, convinces animals of Manor Farm to rebel against farm’s owner, reclaim their rights, & establish their equality.
Old Major dies & succeeded by pigs Snowball & Napoleon, who rally animals & drive all humans off farm.
Pigs produce seven commandments to ensure equality on Animal Farm, but soon begin to award themselves special privileges.
After power struggle, Napoleon drives Snowball off farm. He relies on fear & propaganda to keep animals working on windmill project.
- Life for all animals but pigs becomes brutal; the pigs kill dissenting animals, stand on two legs, drink alcohol, & move into Mr. Jones’s house.
“Four legs good, two legs bad.” - Chapter 3, pg 37
"Nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars" - Chapter 5, pg 54
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" - Chapter 10, pg 114
"All men are enemies. All animals are comrades" - Chapter 1, pg 9
"They were always cold, and usually hungry as well" - Chapter 7, pg 71
"The animals looked from pig to man, and from man to pig but already it was impossible to say which was which" - Chapter 10, pg 118
"Jones would come back" - Chapter 3, pg 39
"Jones will sell you to the knacker" - Chapter 1, pg 17
"Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland" - Chapter 1, pg 19
"Four legs good, two legs better" - Chapter 10, pg 113
Power Corrupts - allegory of Russian history, link between power & violence
- Major's speech describes animals' suffering & presents vision of fairer society.
- Napoleon uses sheep to silence Snowball.
- Napoleon murders his opposition.
Equality - Division & hierarchy among animals, different levels of intelligence - some dependent on leaders
- Major's speech describes inequality of animals' lives.
- Pigs take milk & apples for themselves.
- Animals told that there will be no more debates.
Dictatorship and rise to power - slow descent into tyranny, use of fear, manipulation & control
- Napoleon's dogs drive Snowball from farm.
- Snowball said to be visiting & sabotaging farm at night.
- Napoleon carries whip in trotter.
- History rewritten - rewrites Battle of Cowshed to glorify Napoleon's supposed bravery.
- Dictators can harness mobs to drown out opposition - sheep.
Education and learning - Proverbial saying 'knowledge is power', pigs clever - take control
- Animals learn to read.
- Snowball has ideas for 'innovations & improvements' for farm.
- Animals sing Beasts of England as 'substitute for words they can't find.
- Seven slogans/commandments.
Language and power - manipulation, dishonesty, different versions of the truth
- Squealer justifies theft of milk & apples.
- Squealer defends Napoleon's decision to end debates.
- Squealer explains pigs' work.
Propaganda - manipulation, control
- Squealer reads out invented statistics that animals cannot understand.
- Squealer refers to written evidence that animals cannot read.
- Squealer explains that milk is good for pigs (also good for other animals).
- was a socialist
Karl Marx and Communism
- Major's speech - Marx's theory
- Marx believed capitalist society workers exploited by people they work for - animals & man
- stated that workers would overthrow capitalists - animals overthrow Jones
- Lenin adapted Marx's ideas to form his own brand of communism
Allegory of Russian History
- Major's speech - what an ideal socialist govenment could look like
- communist party (under Lenin) took power & killed Tsar's family.
- after revolution, Trotsky & Lenin established communist society.
- forces loyal to Tsar saw a threat to their own power & invaded Russia. Lost.
- after Lenin's death, Trotsky & Stalin struggled for power. Trotsky forced to leave SU.
- starvation & famine, helps eliminate opposition.
- Stalin had complete control. Propaganda to convince people only he could protect them.
- under Major, animals revolt against Jones & drive them away from farm.
- pigs try to create Major's ideal society & change Manor Farm to Animal Farm.
- Jones & men try to recapture farm in Battle of Cowshed.
- Napoleon & Snowball disagree on every issue. Snowball driven from farm.
- animals suffering from hunger, pigs well fed.
- Napoleon used terror & propaganda to become dictator.
Secret Police - nine dogs, show trails & executions.
Key Traits of Totalitarianism
- State control of Individuals
- Methods of Enforcement
- Modern Technology
- State Control of Society
- Dictatorship & One-Party Rule
- Dynamic Leader
Maxim - saying/motto.
Allegory - story with hidden meaning, typically a moral/political one.
Fable - short story conveying a moral.
Propaganda - information, especially of biased/misleading nature, used to promote political cause/point of view, advertisment.
Dictatorship - government by a dictator (one leader).
Irony - full significance of character's words/actions clear to audience/reader but unknown to character.
Communism - theory/system of social organization where property is owned by community & each person contributes & receives according to ability & needs.
Socialism - political theory advocating state ownership of industry.
Fascism - political theory advocating authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy).
Conflict - open clash between two opposing groups (or individuals).
Rhetoric - using language effectively to please or persuade.
Capitalism - economic system based on private ownership of capital.
Anthropomorphic - description of animals seen to behave as humans.
Imperative - verbs used to give orders/instructions.
Oxymoronic - phrase/group of words that contradict each other.
Pathos - moment that makes us feel pity/sorrow.
Register - style of language.
Satire - literature that targets an issue, institution/idea.
Symbolism - using object/person to represent something else.
Utopia - imagined perfect place/society.
Indoctrination - brainwashing someone into believing a particular opinion.
Proletariat - lower/working class, only possession was value of their work.
Spin doctor - propagandist, who advises/offers favourable interpretations of policies/events.
Subversion (subversive) - act of attempting to destroy something, particularly government, often in secret.
Totalitarian - government with absolute control over its citizens' lives & does not allow them to raise any opposition. Most dictatorships are totalitarian.
Tyrant (tyranny) - person who governs in an unjust & violent way.
Ideology - set of beliefs, ideas & principles held by particular social group.
Autocracy - system of government by 1 person with absolute power.
Situational irony - difference between what is expected to happen & what actually happens.
Dramatic irony - when audience more aware of what is happening than a character.
Double speak - confused & manipulated. Believing in 2 contradictary things. Serves to distort.
Testimonial - respected person gives product stamp of approval hoping intended audience will follow their example.
Plain folks - convice audience spokesperson is someone that can be trusted & has their interests at heart.
Card stacking - only presenting information that is positive. Omits important information.
Bandwagon - appeal to subject to follow crowd, others doing it. Convince subject that one is on winning side as more people on it.
Lesser of two evils - presenting idea as less offensive option. Convince people for need of sacrifices/justify difficult dicisions. Adds blame on an enemy.
Simplification - reduces complex situation to clear-cut choice involving good & evil.
Name calling - creates fear, creates unfavourable opinion/hatred against a group/belief/idea.
Glittering generalities - demands approval without thinking, simply because important concept involved.
Glittering generalities - include words like honour, glory, love of country & freedom.
Transfer - employ symbols (waving flag) to stir emotions & win approval.
Repetition - drums message into head. Eventually accept message without realising it.
Fear - fear something bad will happen unless do what is suggested to them.
Red herring - attempt to change subject/divert arguement to mislead audience. Draws one's attention away from real subject.
Symbols - use of words, designs, place, ideas & music to symbolise ideas & concepts.
Faulty cause and effect - claim use of product, idea/policy creates positive result without any supporting evidence.
Compare and contrast - lead audience to believe that 1 product, idea/policy better than another without real proof.
Slogans - catchy slogans/phrases easily remembered in place of complicated/more accurate explanation.
Extra Propaganda Techniques
Logos - arguement by logic.
Pathos - arguement by emotion.
Ethos - arguement by character. Employs personality, repetition & ability to look trustworthy.