Chapter V

In the opening of Chapter V, Mollie disappears after it’s discovered that she’s been communicating with people from neighbouring farms. Later the pigeons report that she was on the other side of Willingdon: “A fat red−faced man in check breeches and gaiters, who looked like a publican, was stroking her nose and feeding her with sugar.Her coat was newly clipped and she wore a scarlet ribbon round her forelock. She appeared to be enjoying herself, so the pigeons said. None of the animals ever mentioned Mollie again.”

With the farm caught in a harsh winter, the struggle between Snowball and Napoleon intensifies. They “disagreed at every point where disagreement was possible.” Snowball develops the idea of creating a windmill to generate electricity and make the lives of the animals easier. Napoleon expresses his distaste for the plans by urinating on them. As the struggle between Napoleon and Snowball continues, Benjamin declares that whatever happens, “life would go on as it had always gone on−that is, badly.”

During a meeting, the dogs that Napoleon had been secretly raising burst in and Snowball is forced to flee for his life.

Napoleon begins his leadership of the farm by declaring that the democratic Sunday meetings will be abolished. He establishes a “special committee of pigs” that he will preside over to run the farm. He tells the animals that they can still gather to salute the flag but there will be no more debates.

Squealer helps to convince the animals that these changes are for their benefit. “I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball, with his moonshine of windmills−Snowball, who, as we now know, was no better than a criminal?”

Boxer is deeply troubled by the changes but assumes that Napoleon must be acting in his best interest and adopts the motto “Napoleon is always right”.

Towards the end of the chapter, Napoleon announces that his plans to continue with the construction of the windmill, claiming that it was his idea all along.

COMMENTARY

Chapter V marks the beginning of Napoleon’s rule. One of the interesting aspects of Animal Farm is how totalitarian governments and dictatorships maintain control over people. One of the principle ways that Napoleon maintains control is through the use of fear and terror. His vicious guard dogs – much like the SS in Nazi Germany and Stalin’s secret police the NKVD – helps to keep people in line using the threat of violence. Throughout the novel, much like real totalitarian regimes, he continues to use the dogs to intimidate his opponents.

In the USSR, the leadership struggle between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky led to Trotsky’s exile in 1929. In 1940, while Trotsky was living in Mexico, was assassinated under orders by Joseph Stalin. In the novel, Snowball is never seen again.

Mollie’s disappearance represents the upper middle class people who emigrated to other countries because they refused to live under communist rule.

ACTIVITIES

1. Using quotations from the novel, explain the strategies that Napoleon uses to take control of the farm.

2. Once you’ve revised the first five chapters of the novel, have a go at this quiz.

Photograph: vtengr4047