Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Animal Farm: Chapter VI - Summary

The animals work sixty-hour weeks all spring and summer in order to build the windmill, but none begrudges the extra labor. In August, Napoleon instates “strictly voluntary” labor on Sundays: animals may choose not to come, but they will have their rations reduced by half. There are plenty of building materials on the premises, and the animals discover that they can break limestone into pieces by using the force of gravity. However, the process of dragging boulders to the top of the quarry and throwing them down is very taxing. Boxer compensates by picking up the other animals’ slack, for which they admire him.

Shortages begin to occur. The animals require things, such as iron for horseshoes and machinery for the windmill, that they cannot produce on the farm. To provide a solution, Napoleon opens trade with the neighboring farms and says that the animals may need to sell some of the hens’ eggs in the nearby town of Willingdon. He makes sure to stress the fact that the windmill should be the animals’ first priority. The other animals are “conscious of a vague uneasiness” because the Seven Commandments forbid trade with humans and the use of money. Napoleon assures the animals that they, at least, will not have to make contact with human beings. He has already set up an agreement with a solicitor in town named Mr. Whymper, who will act as their intermediary to the human world.

After the meeting, Squealer assures the animals that trade and the use of money are allowed after all—that no resolution against those activities has ever been passed. He convinces them that their memory of such a resolution is mistaken. Mr. Whymper visits the farm every Monday to get his orders. Meanwhile, in the human world, humans are more opposed than ever to Animal Farm’s existence. They hope that the windmill will fail and the farm will go bankrupt. Still, they secretly admire Animal Farm’s efficiency, which they have begun to call by its new name. They even stop valorizing Mr. Jones, who has moved away.

One day, the pigs move into the farmhouse. The other animals again feel uneasy, remembering faintly a resolution that forbade such an action. Again, Squealer convinces them that they are mistaken. Napoleon, whom Squealer now calls “The Leader,” should be granted the honor of living in a house. Furthermore, the pigs need a quiet workplace. Squealer’s lies satisfy some of the animals. But Clover decides to investigate when she learns that the pigs have taken to sleeping in beds. She tries to read the Seven Commandments on the barn wall, but she cannot. Muriel is able to read it for her. One resolution has been changed to: “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets” (79). At this point, Squealer approaches and denies that there was ever a rule against beds—only sheets. As usual, he justifies the pigs’ actions by threatening Mr. Jones’s return. Soon after, the pigs award themselves the additional privilege of waking up an hour late.

By autumn, the windmill is half finished. One night in November, violent winds ravage the farm and destroy the windmill. Napoleon quickly blames the destruction on Snowball. He sentences Snowball to death and offers half a bushel of apples and the title of “Animal Hero, Second Class” to any animal that detains him. There is a track of pig footprints leading to the hedge, which Napoleon attributes to Snowball. Then Napoleon rouses the animals to action, saying, “Forward, comrades! Long live the windmill! Long live Animal Farm!” (83).

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