Summary of Farm Rebellion

In the field of universal literature, and specifically in the history of the British satirical novel, is known by the name of Animal Farm to one of the most famous novels of the writer George Orwell, which was published in 1945, thanks to the work of the publishing house Harvill Secker.

About Rebellion at the Farm

Although Orwell published his Rebellion on the Farm in 1945, the historical events related to the end of World War II and the advent of the Cold War didn´t allow the public to become widely acquainted with this book until five years after its publication, when it began to gain fame as one of the greatest literary critiques of the Soviet regime, led by Yósif Stalin.

Thus, from his position as a democratic socialist, Orwell openly criticizes how Stalin’s regime, which began with the proclamation of abolishing corruption and social injustice, seeking equality among citizens, ended up indulging in corruption. Nevertheless, according to some experts, Orwell didn´t seek with this work to question only Stalin’s socialist regime, but also to establish an allegory about the human condition in front of power, and how it ends up fracturing it, and bringing out the worst in it.

Consequently, and even though the American educational system has found in Rebelión en la granja the main work of the ideological struggle against communism, in reality, Orwell’s work can be understood even by the smallest ones, who, ignoring historical or political details, can grasp the message of the danger that is run, when in a human group, an elite rises above the others, exploiting them and treating them without compassion or justice.

Summary of Rebellion on the Farm

With reference to the specific content of Rebelión en la granja de George Orwell, it can be said that it basically tells the story of the Manor Farm, since its animals decide to rebel against humans, alleging the mistreatment and subjugation they had towards them, and with the purpose of being under control of the site, building a fairer system of life for all the animals that live there.

This is how all the animals of Manor Farm, inspired by a pig called Old Major, who before dying managed to explain what was his ideal of justice and equality, lead a revolution, which succeeds in expelling the human farmer Howard Jones, creating his own government and organization.

In this order of ideas, the animals also establish a series of rules and norms, in order to guarantee equality among all, and that are constituted by seven basic commandments, which say the following textually:

  1. Everything that walks on two legs will be considered an enemy.
  2. Everything that walks on four legs, or has wings, will be considered an enemy.
  3. No animal will wear clothes.
  4. No animal will sleep in bed.
  5. No animal will drink alcohol.
  6. No animal will kill another animal.
  7. All animals are equal.

Likewise, the liberated animals decide to change the name of the farm from Manor Farm to Animal Farm, while men are no longer those who lead the collective of animals, but from now on, due to their intelligence, pigs rise as the spice that guides others.

In fact, it is two specific pigs who will be in charge of making the decisions and driving the productivity of the farm, during the first stages of their release: the pigs Snowball and Napoleon. However, peace and communion between these leaders is short-lived, as differences soon fracture the relationship, causing that one day, the zero Napoleon ends up throwing him against the attack dog Snowball, who flees the farm, to save his life.

Without any rival in the way, the pig Napoleon ends up standing as the only leader of the Animal Farm, where this new rearrangement of powers will feel quickly. This is how little by little the preferences towards the pigs, over the other species, turn this group into an elite, which enjoys privileges, in the shadow of the iron dictatorship, exercised by the pig Napoleon, who always shows as a threat, whoever tries to rebel, his furious attack dogs.

In the same way, the evolution of pigs is not only moving towards the full exercise of power, but surprisingly these animals are beginning to adopt and aspire to some customs and manners, which in the past served as food for the revolutionary impulse, which led them to rebel against them. Even in order to give free rein to their new desires and tastes, these animals change the foundational commandments upon which the Animal Farm was organized, reducing the seven commandments to only three, in which the double morality of this swine elite can be seen. These new commandments read verbatim:

  • No animal shall sleep in a bed, with sheets.
  • No animal will drink too much alcohol.
  • No animal will kill another for no reason.

However, these changes in the foundational commandments of the Animal Farm will not be the only attitudes that will change pigs, who will not stop on their way because they want to imitate humans in their conduct and way of life. This is how they even begin to wear the clothes that the former head of the farm, Mr. Jones, has left before being expelled by the animal revolution. So too, surprisingly, and even against any biological norm, pigs also begin to walk on two legs, trying to look even more like those who had been regarded in the immediate past as enemies of animal equality.

However, these circumstances are not only perceived by all the other animals that do not belong to the elite species of pigs, but are also known by humans, owners of the other farms. Consequently, the latter decide to attack the Animal Farm, to see if they can take advantage of the vanity and corruption of the pigs, to own the property. However, the attack dogs, at the service of Napoleon, manage to repel the attack.

From now on, these owners abandon the idea of marching again against the pigs, and decide on the contrary to establish friendly relations with the Animal Farm, which also stands out in the area for its great productivity, which is promoted by the pig Napoleon, and flattened by the other human owners, while it is sustained by the long and exploitative working days to which the other animals are subjected, who with their productivity make possible the prosperity of the farm, despite receiving only a small portion of food for their effort, and not having the possibility of ever complaining about their efforts, and never having the possibility of complaining about the prosperity of the farm.

One day, the surprise of the animals submitted by the pigs will reach its maximum level, when they see how this powerful elite decides to expand their friendly relations with neighboring human owners, which materializes in a lunch that is given in the Animal Farm itself. An occasion that serves other animals to be stunned when they see the pigs completely converted, in terms of their ways, to human customs.

This makes them immediately think of the ancient founding commandments, which they know have been changing, but then they decide to turn to Benjamin, an old donkey of the Animal Farm, who knows how to read, then asking him to tell them which are the commandments that remain in the Animal Farm, of those seven with which the revolution began. To everyone’s surprise, old Benjamin tells them that of the seven, only the last one remains, that is to say, the seventh of them, which, however, has also been modified, and being changed by a sentence that reads verbatim:

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Rebelión en la granja is one of those books that can reach your bookstore at 13 or 14 (and maybe you’d put it right next to Lord of the Flies), at 20 (because 1984 has opened the way for you to the Orwellian universe), at 30 (when you already interpret politically and socially everything around you), and from then on. A classic that enchants all generations and all eras for its universal character, for its freshness and simplicity in telling the facts, and for its humor and irony, which make it enjoyable and fun. A work that acquires more value, more nuances and more meaning to each reading, a unique work because it is always current, current, and visionary.

The novel is a satirical and allegorical fable that tells the story of a rather peculiar revolution: the rebellion of a farm animal against its owner, Mr. Jones. The gap in the system of power established in the agricultural community is opened by the discourses on freedom and equality of the wisest and oldest animal on the farm, the Old Great Pig, prophet of the arrival of a revolution where the animals would finally have been owners of themselves.

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Image: portrait of George Orwell, author of Rebellion on the Farm / Source:

Summary of Farm Rebellion
Source: Education  
October 29, 2019

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