Curriculum Vital

The Education Umbrella Guide to Animal Farm 
Chapter nine summary and analysis

This page is part of the Education Umbrella Guide to Animal Farm. Free to download, the guide contains a summary and analysis of every chapter, as well as character profiles, clasroom activities and an introduction to George Orwell's life and work. 

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Summary

Boxer's battle wounds hurt him a great deal, but he works as hard as ever.

Squealer continues to trick the animals into thinking things are better now than they were under Jones. The animals work hard and have less food, while the pigs and dogs and their offspring grow fat.

The pigs begin brewing barley, which they use to make beer. The animals discover that every pig is rationed a pint of beer a day, with Napoleon receiving half a gallon.

There are now more processions, speeches and songs, all of which centre on Napoleon. The pigs make a law stating that if a pig and another animal meet on a path the other animal must stand aside. The pigs also allow themselves to wear green ribbons on their tails on Sundays.

In April Napoleon declares Animal Farm a Republic, and elects himself as President. Meanwhile, the pigs claim to have discovered new documents that further prove Snowball's collusion with Jones. They now claim that Snowball actually led the humans in the Battle of the Cowshed and that the wounds on his back were from Napoleon's teeth.

That summer Moses returns to Animal Farm. He continues to preach about Sugarcandy Mountain, and many of the animals believe him. Curiously, the pigs tolerate him and even grant him an allowance of beer.

One day, Boxer collapses. Squealer promises that he will be taken to a vet, but one afternoon, while the animals are away working, a horse slaughterer and glue manufacturer comes in a van to take him away. The animals try to help, but they are too late.

Squealer claims that he visited Boxer in hospital. His last words, Squealer says, were ‘Napoleon is always right.’ Squealer then explains that the horse slaughterer's van really belonged to a vet who had bought the van recently and had not yet changed the words. The animals believe him.

That night the pigs have a large banquet and drink another case of whiskey.

Analysis

A 'readjustment,' not a reduction

For the time being, certainly, it had been necessary to make a readjustment of rations (Squealer always spoke of it as a 'readjustment', never as a 'reduction), but in comparison with the days of Jones the improvement was enormous.

In this passage we see a theme common in Orwell's fiction: the ability of politicians to manipulate people by using language. In his 1946 essay 'Politics and the English Language' Orwell writes:

Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Misleading language is one of Squealer's main tools of manipulation. Recall that when he claims that Napoleon had always been in favour of the windmill it was 'something called tactics.' He repeats the word 'tactics', which confuses the animals so much that they eventually believe him.

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Further reading