The story begins with a prestigious, prize-winning boar named Old Major calling for a meeting among the animals of the farm. Old Major gives a speech explaining a dream he had had of all animals on the farm being free of oppression from the humans. He said that if the animals worked together then this dream of his could become reality. 3 days after the meeting, Old Major dies, causing 3 young pigs (Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer) to take his place and further his philosophy throughout the farm.
The animals soon overthrow Mr. Jones, the owner of the farm, and make him run off. The atmosphere among the animals is now ecstatic. They all realize that Old Major's dream for the farm is beginning to take shape. Snowball begins to teach the animals how to read and Napoleon takes a group of 9 young puppies to teach them in the ways of "animalism."
However, after Mr. Jones returns and is defeated again, the tension between Napoleon and Snowball begins to rise. Snowball wishes to build an electricity-producing windmill on the farm but Napoleon strongly disagrees with this notion. When a meeting is held to discuss the topic, Napoleon has the 9 attack dogs (formerly the 9 puppies) kill Snowball. Napoleon then tells the animals that the pigs will make all decisions on the farm, telling them that the decisions will be for the good of the animals.
Napoleon then changes his mind on the windmill, ordering that the animals make their main focus completing it. Boxer, the cart-horse at the farm, devotes all his efforts and energy toward the windmill and takes up the maxim "Napoleon is always right." While this is going on, Napoleon begins to rewrite history, illustrating Snowball as a villain and killing any that took part in Snowball's plans (which turns out to be anyone that opposed Napoleon's reign). Napoleon also begins to act like a human. He sleeps in a bed, trades with other neighboring farms, and drinks whiskey, all things that were banned by the original animalist principles.
The windmill that was constructed is then destroyed by a group of farmers. In the battle against the farmers, Boxer is wounded and near death. Squealer tells the animals that Boxer has died a noble death in battle, when in reality Napoleon had sold his most loyal follower to a glue maker so that he can buy whisky.
By the end of the novel, the pigs walk on two legs and wear clothing. They also begin to form an alliance with a human farmer. The pigs seem to make a total transformation into human beings, minus their appearance. The pigs destroy the original 7 commandments of Animal Farm and leave only 1 rule of guidance: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."
1. Explain what Orwell was trying to convey with the phrase: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."
2. Relate Animal Farm to events in history.