Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Animal Farm; Chapter VII - Summary


The animals work to rebuild the windmill through a bitter, stormy winter, well aware that the human world is watching and hoping for their failure. Because of increasing food shortages, the animals begin to go hungry. Knowing that the humans must not hear ofAnimal Farm’s hardships, Napoleon enlists the sheep to comment about their increasing rations when within earshot of Mr. Whymper. He also has someone lead Mr. Whymper past the food bins, which are filled with sand and topped with grain to look full.

Napoleon appears in public less and less, and when he does, six fierce dogs act as his guards. As there is need for more grain, he has Mr. Whymper arrange a contract to sell four hundred eggs per week. The hens rebel by laying their eggs in the rafters so that the eggs smash on the floor. Napoleon stops the hens’ rations and makes feeding a hen punishable by death. Nine hens die, supposedly of coccidiosis, during the five-day strike, after which the hens surrender.

Napoleon negotiates with Mr. Frederickand Mr. Pilkington, who wish to buy Animal Farm’s supply of timber. A rumor begins circulating among the animals that Snowball is sneaking into the farm at night and causing mischief. From then on, the animals attribute any misfortune to Snowball’s interference. Napoleon arranges a public investigation of Snowball’s activities. He surveys the farm and claims to smell Snowball’s scent everywhere. The animals are terrified. That evening, Squealer tells the animals that Snowball now belongs to Mr. Frederick, with whom he is plotting to overtake Animal Farm. He claims that Snowball was collaborating with Mr. Jones from the very beginning and claims to have supporting evidence. Squealer also claims that Snowball intended to get the animals killed in the Battle of the Cowshed. When the animals, including Boxer, protest, Squealer invents yet another lie. He claims that Napoleon cried, “Death to Humanity!” during the battle and bit Mr. Jones in the leg. Boxer continues to protest until Squealer tells him that the news is directly from Napoleon. Boxer replies, “If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right” (91). Before leaving, Squealer gives Boxer a nasty look and warns the animals that Snowball’s secret agents are lurking among them.

Four days later, Napoleon calls an assembly. He wears the medals of “Animal Hero, First Class” and “Animal Hero, Second Class,” which he has awarded himself. Napoleon’s dogs drag out of the crowd the four pigs that had opposed the cessation of Sunday meetings. The dogs try to drag Boxer out as well, but he deflects them. The pigs confess that they collaborated with Snowball in destroying the windmill and were planning to help Mr. Frederick overtake Animal Farm. They also confess to knowing of Snowball’s partnership with Mr. Jones for years. Then the dogs tear out the four pigs’ throats. Napoleon asks whether any other animal wishes to confess. Three hens, which had led the hen rebellion, confess that Snowball incited them to revolt in a dream vision. After this, several other animals confess to crimes both great (murder) and small (stealing). Napoleon has them all murdered.

After the public executions, the horrified animals slink away. Boxer blames the evil among them to some “fault” in themselves and suggests that the way to quash it is to work harder. As Clover sits on the knoll with the other animals, she considers how different their current situation is than the ideal Old Major put forth. The animals were supposed to create a society of equality and freedom, not one of “terror and slaughter” (95). Still, Clover thinks Animal Farm is better than it was in the days of Mr. Jones’s rule, and her heart remains faithful to it. Unable to put her thoughts into words, Clover leads the animals in singing “Beasts of England.”

Suddenly, however, Squealer arrives with a dog escort and forbids the animals from singing the anthem, for Napoleon has abolished it. He explains that the Rebellion has now ended with the slaughter of the unfaithful and that, being a song of the Rebellion, “Beasts of England” has no further purpose. The animals are now to sing Minimus’s anthem, which begins with the lyrics: “Animal Farm, Animal Farm, / Never through me shalt thou come to harm!”

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