As Animal Farm Chapter 4 opens, the neighbouring farms Foxwood, which is owned by Mr Pilkington, and Pinchfield, which is owned by Mr Frederick, spread rumours to help ensure that their own animals don’t rise up and take over: “They put it about that the animals on the Manor Farm…were perpetually fighting among themselves and were also rapidly starving to death. When time passed and the animals had evidently not starved to death, Frederick and Pilkington changed their tune and began to talk of the terrible wickedness that now flourished on Animal Farm. It was given out that the animals there practised cannibalism, tortured one another with red−hot horseshoes, and had their females in common.” This type of propaganda helps to quell the uprisings that are occurring on other farms.
During this chapter, Farmer Jones and his men try to take back the farm in what becomes known as the Battle of Cowshed. Snowball and Boxer fight valiantly and are awarded “Animal Hero, First Class”.
Animal Farm Chapter 4 Commentary
This is a short chapter that features a number of important events, including The Battle of Cowshed. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the country experienced a three year civil war between the Bolsheviks, who led the revolution, and the anti-communist forces that were loyal to the Tsar, which were known as the White Army. The White Army were given technical and monetary support from the United States and Britain. In the novel, the civil war is represented by the Battle of Cowshed. Mr Pilkington, who represents the United States and Britain, sends some of his men to help.
The rumours that Pilkington and Frederick spread about what was happening on Animal Farm represent the anti-communist propaganda that was spread by other countries. Films like Make Mine Freedom and The Big Lie are both examples of this type of propaganda.
1. How does Boxer feel about stunning the stable boy during the Battle of Cowshed? How are we made to feel about Boxer at this point in the novel?
2. What role does Mollie play in the Battle of Cowshed?
4. Briefly summarise this article about the similarities between Battle of Cowshed and the Russian Civil War.
Napoleon is curiously absent during the Battle of Cowshed. Write a speech by Squealer explaining his absence during the battle. Look at Squealer’s speech in Chapter 3 gave about the milk and adopt a similar tone.