Chapter VI

The animals continue to work like slaves but are happy that this sacrifice is for their own benefit. Their new freedoms, however, are gradually being eroded by Napoleon. He introduces ‘voluntary’ work on Sunday afternoon. Any animal that refuses to attend has their “rations reduced by half”. The construction of the windmill begins but the animals find it difficult to break up the stone from the quarry. With the help of Boxer, they manage to drag the enormous stones to the top of the quarry and crush them on the rocks below. True to his maxim, “I will work harder”, he continues to be an inspiration to the other animals: “To see him toiling up the slope inch by inch, his breath coming fast, the tips of his hoofs clawing at the ground, and his great sides matted with sweat, filled everyone with admiration.” He works tirelessly in the quarry, waking almost an hour earlier than the other animals and spending all of his “spare moments” alone in the quarry crushing rock.

Life continues to be hard and the animals console themselves with the fact that if they “had no more food than they had had in Jones’s day, at least they did not have less.”

Napoleon announces, contrary to the rules of Animalism, that Animal Farm will start trading with surrounding farms to obtain goods and materials that they cannot make themselves. The animals feel uneasy about the decision: “Once again the animals were conscious of a vague uneasiness. Never to have any dealings with human beings, never to engage in trade, never to make use of money–had not these been among the earliest resolutions passed at that first triumphant Meeting after Jones was expelled? All the animals remembered passing such resolutions: or at least they thought that they remembered it.” Four young pigs who start to voice protest are promptly silenced by Napoleon’s dogs. Once again, Squealer convinces the animals the decision is in their best interest and the farm will be better off: “Afterwards Squealer made a round of the farm and set the animals’ minds at rest. He assured them that the resolution against engaging in trade and using money had never been passed, or even suggested. It was pure imagination, probably traceable in the beginning to lies circulated by Snowball.”

In this chapter, the pigs announce they are going to move into the farmhouse. Squealer persuades the animals that the decision is necessary because they need a quiet place to work: “It was also more suited to the dignity of the Leader…to live in a house than in a mere sty. Nevertheless, some of the animals were disturbed when they heard that the pigs not only took their meals in the kitchen and used the drawing-room as a recreation room, but also slept in the beds.” When the animals go to read the seven commandments inscribed on the side of the barn, they discover that it says, “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.” The dogs growl viciously and silence any further dissent.

A terrible storm ruins the windmill. Napoleon seizes on the opportunity to blame Snowball for the disaster: “Snowball has done this thing! In sheer malignity, thinking to set back our plans and avenge himself for his ignominious expulsion, this traitor has crept here under cover of night and destroyed our work of nearly a year.” This is a technique often used by totalitarian governments, creating a sense of fear so people will look to their government for protection.

COMMENTARY

Napoleon’s greed continues to grow. Not content with just taking the apples and the milk, the pigs move into the farmhouse and start sleeping in beds. Napoleon uses a combination of propaganda and fear to keep the other animals from questioning his motives.

The construction of the windmill represents the industrialisation of Russia under Joseph Stalin. Under his rule, the USSR went through a rapid period of industrialisation, overseas experts were hired to build hundreds of factories to improve manufacturing. In the late 1920s, Stalin introduced five year plans to help the country develop. Although they were largely failures, these plans helped the country to achieve large scale industrialisation quickly.

Governments often blame problems on scapegoats. In Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler used the Jewish people as scapegoats for the country’s problems. Throughout the novel, Napoleon uses Snowball as a scapegoat for the farm’s problems and to inspire fear in the animals.

ACTIVITIES

1. Compare how Napoleon and Boxer are described in this chapter.