Animal Farm: Plot Summary

Animal Farm: Plot Summary
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  • 0:03 ''Animal Farm''
  • 0:37 Battle of the Cowshed
  • 1:14 Snowball vs. Napoleon
  • 1:51 Animals vs. Animals
  • 2:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
This lesson details the plot summary of George Orwell's dystopian novel, 'Animal Farm.' See how Orwell used farm animals as allegories to describe what happened in the early years of the Soviet Union, then test yourself with a quiz!

Animal Farm

'Oh those poor animals on Mr. Jones's Manor Farm. They work all day and don't get any respect. In fact, it's like they exist solely to strive for him.'

That's how George Orwell's Animal Farm begins; a work that, through the extensive use of allegory, compares a small farm to the last years of Imperial Russia and the first years of the Soviet Union. One of the oldest pigs on the farm, Old Major, calls the animals together. In order to improve their lives, he convinces them to get rid of the farmer, Mr. Jones.

Battle of the Cowshed

Old Major dies, leaving two other pigs in charge, Snowball and Napoleon. United in their common cause, they work to drive Mr. Jones off his land. The farmer flees his property, while the animals celebrate their success. However, Mr. Jones refuses to accept defeat and eventually returns with more humans.

The pigs convince the rest of the animals that the humans have joined Mr. Jones out of fear. If they can't take back Manor Farm, other animals on other farms may revolt against their owners. Snowball leads a masterful charge at the Battle of the Cowshed, and the animals emerge victorious.

Snowball vs. Napoleon

For a while, the animals enjoy a bit of a utopia, not unlike the early days of Soviet progress. They all work together towards common goals, as outlined in their Seven Commandments, which state that all animals are equal. Snowball even goes as far to teach the animals to read and write. However, Napoleon is jealous of his colleague's success and begins to train the dogs to be loyal only to him.

When Snowball wants to build a windmill to increase productivity, the dogs attack and drive him out. Napoleon then claims that the windmill was his idea all along and that Snowball was an enemy to the animal cause.

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