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Free Study Guide-Animal Farm by George Orwell-Free Online Booknotes
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Chapter 9

Summary

Chapter 9 opens with Boxer's heel, which was bitten by the dogs, taking a long time to heal. In spite of the injury, he refuses to take even one day off from the work of rebuilding the windmill. He wants to see it completed before his retirement. When the rules were originally formulated, different animals had different ages for retirement, and a liberal pension had been decided upon for all. To date, no animal has retired on pension.

In the autumn four sows give birth to 31 young pigs. Since Napoleon is the only boar, he is the father to all of them and passes some special rules to acknowledge the young pigs. Other animals must build a school for them so they can be educated and stand aside when the pigs pass; the pigs are also to wear green ribbons on their tails on Sundays and brew beer for their own enjoyment.

Winter is cold, food is even more scarce, and rations are reduced for all the animals except the pigs and the dogs. Squealer, trying to soften the news of less food, uses the word readjustment instead of reduction. His statistics and oratory skills still make everyone believe him.

Rations are further reduced in February, but the pigs, as usual, are excluded from the reduction. In fact, rumor has it that every pig is to receive a ration of a pint of beer daily. Napoleon is to receive a full half a gallon, served to him in the Crown Derby soup tureen. Squealer convinces the masses that the pigs need more food and special treatment because of the important work that they do.

In an attempt to encourage the masses, there are more songs, speeches, and processions. There is also a weekly Special Demonstration to celebrate the struggles and triumphs of Animal Farm. Banners, slogans, and recitation of poems composed to honor Napoleon honor are part of the pageant. The animals enjoy these celebrations, where they are reminded of the fact that they themselves are the masters, not living under the two legged.

In April, Animal Farm is declared a Republic and must elect a President. The only candidate is Napoleon. As President, he still continues to defame Snowball and points out that his wounding Snowball and sending him away has saved the farm for the animals.


He does allow Moses, the raven, to return to the farm. When he talks about Sugarcandy Mountain and an afterlife, it diverts the attention of the animals away from the cruelty of their life and Napoleon.

Boxer works harder until he falls one day and is unable to get up. Everyone runs to his help, but the authorities take control. In the middle of the day, a van takes him away to be killed and made into glue. The animals cry out in horror, but their cries go unheard. When Squealer later announces Boxer's death in a sorrowful tone, he rationalizes why he was taken in the Knacker's van and promises that he died in comfort and dignity. Napoleon hypocritically pays homage to Boxer and asks others to emulate his work ethics. The chapter ends with the arrival of a wooden crate at the farmhouse.

Notes

Orwell's message is loud and clear. The low tactics used by Napoleon are like those of a totalitarian dictator who makes the masses submissive. Only the ruling class, in this case the pigs, are exempt. For all the other animals there are short rations and hard work. Spontaneous demonstrations and celebrations are used by Napoleon to keep the animals occupied and diverted in their free time.

As Napoleon's loyal henchman, Squealer is the chief spokesman of the ruling class and appears before the animals much more frequently than Napoleon, who sequesters himself for protection and leisure. Squealer continues to talk of the dignity of labor and the glory of animal freedom. To control Napoleon's subjects, he constantly justifies Napoleon's shifts in policies and raises the horrible possibility of Jones' return. To protect Napoleon, he uses propaganda, inflammatory rhetoric, false statistics and faulty rationalization, rewrites the history of Animal Farm, and amends the Commandments without any principle of morality. The bigger the lie, the more convincing he sounds.

The reappearance of Mosses, the raven, and his acceptance by Napoleon parallels the priests returning to Russia after the harassment and rigors of the revolution. Stalin even writes pacifying and conciliatory letters to the Pope in 1944 and allows the Orthodox Church to conduct services in Russia. Religion, symbolized by Moses, is permitted as long as it is harmless and does not interfere with the plans of Napoleon or Stalin.

Boxer's plight and the indifference of the pigs upset the animals. In spite of his work ethics, Napoleon is glad to be rid of him, for he was too well liked by the animals. The animals, who saw Boxer as their hero and inspiration, feel betrayed.

When Napoleon declares Animal Farm a Republic and elects himself President, the rising action reaches its climax. He has truly become worse than Farmer Jones, creating a chosen caste of pigs, oppressing the masses, and becoming the ultimate dictator that is in total control.

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