Curriculum Vital

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

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

Questions? Comments? Contact Ross: rgrainger@educationumbrella.com

Chapter summary

The first few months after the rebellion go very well. The animals harvest the hay two days faster than it had taken Jones and the other humans, and it is the biggest harvest there has ever been. All the animals work, except the pigs, who direct and delegate. Boxer works harder than ever.

The pigs create a new flag for the farm and organise a weekly meeting at which resolutions are proposed and debated. Napoleon and Snowball always disagree.

The pigs teach the other animals to read, and eventually most of them become at least partially literate. For those unable to learn to read or write, Snowball simplifies the Seven Commandments to, 'Four legs good, two legs bad.' He also creates numerous committees, none of which are a success. Napoleon, meanwhile, 

adopts the nine new puppies and keeps them hidden.

The animals discover that the pigs have been taking the milk and the new apples for themselves. When they try to complain, Squealer convinces them that the milk and apples are necessary for the pigs' brains, and that without the pigs' intelligence Mr Jones might come back. Upon hearing this the animals agree that the pigs are right.

Analysis of key passages and events

The new flag — hammer and sickle / hoof and horn

On Sundays there was no work. Breakfast was an hour later than usual, and after breakfast there was a ceremony which was observed every week without fail. First came the hoisting of the flag. Snowball had found in the harness-room an old green tablecloth of Mrs Jones' and had painted on it a hoof and a horn in white. This was run up the flagstaff in the farmhouse garden every Sunday morning. The flag was green, Snowball explained, to represent the green fields of England, while the hoof and horn signified the future Republic of the Animals which would arise when the human race had finally been overthrown.

The flag of Animal Farm represents the flag of the USSR:

Soviet flag

The flag was adopted in 1923 and remained the country's official symbol until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The hammer and sickle represent, respectively, the industrial workers and the farmers, who together form the proletariat. The star symbolises the Communist Party.

There is symbolism in the colour red, as there is in the green of Animal Farm's new flag. Red became the internationally recognised colour of socialism and communism after 1848, when there were a number of socialist uprisings across Europe. In Russian culture red is an important and positive colour; in the Russian language 'red' and 'beautiful' share the same root. Red also represents the blood of the workers. Today, red remains the symbol of many socialist and communist parties around the world. For example, the logo of Britain's Labour Party is a red rose. In the Spanish Civil War, Orwell fought for a group called the POUM — the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification, whose flag can be seen in the poster below, above the words ‘Workers, towards victory!’

POUM

The star is still used on the flag of many countries, notably China:

China flag

Read the full summary and analysis of this and every chapter, as well as character profiles, classroom activities and more, by downloading our free guide.

Questions? Comments? Contact Ross: rgrainger@educationumbrella.com

Further reading

Related articles and pages

Guide to An Inspector Calls: summary, analysis, character profiles and classroom activities

Guide to Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie

Clash of the Titans: Antony Beevor's The Second World War and Max Hastings' All Hell Let Loose: The World at War, 1939-1945

Book review: Red Shadow, by Paul Dowswell

Book review: The Penguin History of Modern Russia, by Robert Service

Book review: Maggot Moon, by Sally Gardner

Think on these things: A comparison of Christopher Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great' and Peter Hitchens' 'The Rage Against God'

Lesson plan: 'Less Nonsense', by Sir Alan Herbert – 'In 1940, when we bore the brunt, / We could have done, boys, with a Second Front.'

Lesson plan: 'The Morning After' by Tony Harrison – 'The Rising Sun was blackened on those flames.'

Lesson plan: 'September 3rd 1939: Bournemouth' by Anthony Thwaite – 'My summer ends and term begins next week.'