In this novel, the main characters are the animals of "Manor Farm". The Animals begin to plot to overthrow the humans. One animal in particular, Major, feels very strongly about this and develops the idea of "animalism". Major shares his beliefs with the other animals just before he dies and they adopt them as the new law. They develop seven commandments of animalism which are:
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill another animal.
7. All animals are created equal.
Soon the animals develop a plan to run the farmer off the land and once they do, they change the name of the farm to "Animal Farm". With their new found freedom, they begin to run the farm in a very efficient way. Napoleon and Snowball are the leaders of the farm, and together they defeat the farmer a second time when he returns to reclaim his farm. Snowball and Napoleon continue to run the farm together but fight over how to run it more and more as time passes. It reaches a climax when Napoleon and Snowball clash over whether or not to build an electricity-generating windmill on the farm. Napoleon attacks Snowball with his trained dogs and runs him off the farm. Napoleon then takes full control of the farm and builds the windmill that he told Snowball not to build. Napoleon behaves increasingly more like the humans he once despised as the power of controlling the farm makes him feel like he is above all the other animals. He moves into the farmhouse, drinks alcohol, and begins to walk on two legs. He also begins to teach all the other pigs to do the same. Eventually the other animals cannot distinguish the pigs from the humans that they invite over and the seven commandments become one:
All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
1. Are some men (or animals) born to be overly proud or does power make them that way?
2. Is it really better to have checks and balances or would a ruler with complete power get more done?
3. What do you think George Orwell is trying to say with this novel?