Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Animal Farm: Chapter IX - Summary


Boxer’s split hoof, an injury from the battle, taxes him; still he will not let it deter him from rebuilding the windmill before he reaches retirement age. When they first formedAnimal Farm, the animals had agreed on fixed retirement ages and pensions. The winter is bitter again. Rations, save the pigs’ and dogs’, are reduced--“readjusted,” as Squealersays. To appease the animals, Squealer reads the animals more statistics to make them believe that their lives are better than in the days of Mr. Jones’s rule. The animals are overworked, underfed, and cold, but they are happy to believe Squealer.

Thirty-one young pigs now live on the farm, all of them parented by Napoleon. He makes plans to build them a schoolhouse and discourages them from interacting with other types of animals. He also instates two rules of pig superiority: other animals must stand aside on the path to let pigs pass, and pigs are allowed to wear green ribbons on their tails on Sundays. Napoleon also awards himself the privilege of eating sugar. Still, times are hard on the farm, and the animals struggle to make ends meet. The chickens are forced to lay six hundred eggs per week to sell in town and can barely keep any for hatching. Rations are reduced again, and the animals are not allowed lanterns in their stalls anymore in order to save oil. Meanwhile, the pigs seem to be flourishing.

Towards the end of winter, the animals smell a new scent in the wind, which they discover is from the barley Napoleon has begun to cook. Soon after, the pigs announce that all barley is reserved for them. Each pig gets a pint of beer added to his rations, with Napoleon getting half a gallon. To distract the animals from their hardship, Napoleon increases the amount of propaganda on the farm. This includes songs, speeches, poems, statistics, marches, and his newly created Spontaneous Demonstrations, in which the animals celebrate their victories. The animals enjoy the Spontaneous Demonstrations, which remind them of their freedom and self-sufficiency.

In April, Napoleon declares Animal Farm a Republic, and the animals elect Napoleon unanimously as president. His new propaganda claims Snowball was not a covert human collaborator, but an open one who charged into battle on the human side yelling, “Long Live Humanity!” (119). In mid-summer, Moses returns from a long absence. His stories of Sugarcandy Mountain return with him. The other animals enjoy the stories, with the exception of the pigs. Boxer and the other animals work feverishly to complete their tasks, which now include building the schoolhouse for the young pigs. One day, Boxer overworks himself so much that he collapses, unable to get up. In his sickly state, he expresses a wish to retire early along with Benjamin. The animals fetch Squealer, who relays Napoleon’s decision to send Boxer to the veterinary hospital in Willingdon.

Over the next two days, Boxer lies in his stall and takes doses from “a large bottle of pink medicine” that the pigs send from the farmhouse. He expresses his wish to spend his final years learning the rest of the alphabet. One afternoon, a van comes to take Boxer away. It has “lettering on its side and a sly-looking man in a low-crowned bowler hat sitting on the driver’s seat.” The hopeful animals wish Boxer goodbye, but Benjamin breaks their revelry by reading the lettering on the side of the van: “Alfred Simmons, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied” (123). The animals panic and try to get Boxer to escape. He tries to get out of the van, but he has grown too weak to break the door. The animals try to appeal to the horses drawing the van, but they do not understand the situation.

Boxer never returns, but three days later the pigs announce that he died in the hospital despite receiving the best care. Squealer claims to have been present at Boxer’s death, a tale he relates emotionally to the other animals. He claims that Boxer’s last words were, “Forward, Comrades! … Forward in the name of the Rebellion” and “Long live Animal Farm! Long live Comrade Napoleon! Napoleon is always right” (125). Squealer also claims that the van belongs to the veterinarian, who had recently bought it from the horse slaughterer and had not yet managed to paint over the lettering. These stories satisfy the animals. The next Sunday, Napoleon promises to honor Boxer with a special wreath and a memorial banquet. On the day the banquet is to be held, a large crate arrives at Animal Farm. That night, the pigs are rowdy inside the farmhouse and do not wake up until noon the next day. The animals hear a rumor that the pigs had bought a case of whisky.

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