Summary Chp. 8
After the executions, Clover is again uneasy that one of the seven commandments has been broken. She asks Muriel to read her the sixth commandment again from the gable wall. The commandment reads, “No animal shall kill another animal without cause.” Clover did not seem to remember having read the last two words before, but she thought no more of it.
The animals spend the following year working harder than ever. Squealer exhorts them to greater efforts, telling them that productivity on the farm has improved enormously since the rebellion, though many of the animals secretly feel hungry. Napoleon, who is now known as “Our Leader, Comrade Napoleon,” and several other flattering titles, is seen in public rarely, and now employs a cockerel as a herald, as well as being accompanied at all times by his dogs.
Relations between the neighbouring farms, Frederick of Pinchfield and Pilkington of Foxwood, remain complex. Napoleon, through the middleman, has been trying to sell off a pile of timber to one of the other neighbour. At this time, rumours abound that Frederick is about to attack the farm. A plot to murder Napoleon is uncovered. Three hens confess that Snowball, said to be living on Pinchfield, put them up to it. The hens are executed. Napoleon announces shortly afterwards that the wood is to be sold to Pilkington of Foxwood. When, later in the year, the wheat crop is found to be full of weeds, Snowball, and by implication Frederick, are blamed. The whole farm seethes with anger and resentment against Frederick, who is now the sworn enemy of Animal farm.
The windmill is completed by autumn. The animals forget their worries temporarily to celebrate this magnificent achievement. The animals are all congratulated by Napoleon. Two days later, he calls them to a meeting and announces that the wood is to be sold to Frederick. The animals are astonished, but Squealer easily explains this away as part of Napoleon’s strategy, to appear friendly with one neighbour while secretly courting the other. The sale goes ahead, and the solicitor organises the transport of the wood off the farm, and the delivery of the banknotes to Napoleon.
Three days later, the notes are discovered to be forgeries. Napoleon assembles the animals again and pronounces the death sentence on Frederick. At the same time, he warns them that Frederick and his men may be about to attack the farm.
The attack comes the next morning. Fifteen men, six with guns, approach the farm, and the battle is joined. Messengers are sent to Foxwood requesting assistance, but Pilkington sends back a curt rejection. The animals are driven back to the farm buildings. While they are trapped there, the men plant dynamite around the windmill. In the ensuing explosion, the windmill is obliterated. The animals react to this by forgetting all about the guns and charging headlong at the men, who after a brief struggle, run for their lives.
The animals are dejected at the loss of the windmill, but the pigs quickly set about the task of rebuilding morale by reminding them of the magnificent victory they have won. The day will be forever commemorated as the Battle of the Windmill. In the ensuing celebrations, the forged banknotes are forgotten.
The pigs then discover a cask of whisky in the farmhouse. That night, loud celebrations are heard in the farmhouse, to the amazement of the other animals. Soon afterwards, it is announced that a small field near the orchard, originally set aside for retired animals who could work no more, was to be ploughed up and sown with barley. Muriel is troubled by this development, and she consults the fifth commandment. Again, she realises she has remembered it incorrectly, for it says, “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.”