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Animal Farm Chapter 8 Summary
Animal Farm Chapter 8: As the windmill is rebuilt, the animals realize that they are working more but being fed the same or perhaps even less than they had under the watch of Mr. Jones.
Napoleon engages in misleading negotiations with Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington to buy the farm’s timber, initially spreading horrible rumors about Mr. Frederick but then deciding to sell to him in the end after he raises his offer as a result of the mind games.
Around this time, the windmill is finished, the animals are congratulated, and it’s named Napoleon Mill.
But then it’s realized that Mr. Frederick had paid for the timber with counterfeit money, and he and his men soon attack Animal Farm and blow up the windmill. This last act enrages the animals so much that they drive the men off of the farm but not before six animals are killed and many are wounded.
A victory is declared, but that’s not initially agreed upon by the animals although it doesn’t take much – a speech from Napoleon – for them to buy into it.
The pigs find some whisky, drink it and decide to plant some barley.
Squealer is caught next to the commandments with a broken ladder and some paint.
Shortly thereafter, it’s discovered that the fifth amendment reads, “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.” The animals hadn’t remembered the final two words being there.
Animal Farm Chapter 8
As the chapter starts, the animals remember the commandment, “No animal shall kill any other animal.” However, upon further inspection, it actually says, “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” They must have been mistaken and forgotten that the final two words had been a part of it.
The animals continue rebuilding the windmill.
They also come to the realization that they are working more and being fed the same or less as compared to when Mr. Jones ran the farm. However, Squealer provides a long list of statistics showing just how much their food has increased as of late, and the animals can no longer remember exactly what it was like under Mr. Jones. However, they know that they are hungrier than they’d like to be.
Napoleon is now being referred to as “our Leader, Comrade Napoleon” and similar complimentary designations. Squealer often emotionally extols Napoleon’s virtues, and Minimus composes a poem, “Comrade Napoleon,” that does the same and that is put up opposite the commandments.
Napoleon engages in negotiations with Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington to buy a large pile of timber that dates to Mr. Jones’ time on the farm. Rumors that Mr. Frederick is going to lead an attack on Animal Farm and that he is especially cruel to his animals abound. The pigeons are told to change the message that they had been sending out from “Death to Humanity” to “Death to Frederick.”
In the autumn, the windmill is finished by a proud group of animals. Napoleon congratulations them and announces that it will be named Napoleon Mill.
Two days after that, he stuns the rest of the animals by saying that he is going to sell to Mr. Frederick. Napoleon says that the rumors about Mr. Frederick were untrue and most likely came from Snowball and those associated with him. Snowball, who had been rumored to be hiding out on Pinchfield Farm, was now said to be relaxing with Mr. Pilkington instead. The pigs are ecstatic that Napoleon was so cunning, pretending to be friendly with Mr. Pilkington so that Mr. Frederick would raise his price.
Napoleon demands to be paid with five-pound notes, not a check, and he is.
However, three days later, it’s determined that the five-pound notes are fake. Enraged, Napoleon says that Mr. Frederick needs to be captured and boiled alive. He adds that the animals should expect an attack from him and his men soon. It occurs the next morning.
This battle, later named the Battle of the Windmill, does not result in an easy victory as had been the case with the Battle of the Cowshed. This is partly due to how well armed the attackers were; the 15 men carry six guns in and are not shy about using them.
The animals retreat, and the men are in charge of the farm. The first thing that they do is blow up the windmill. This enrages the animals, and they attack the men and eventually force them off of Animal Farm. Casualties on the animal side include the deaths of three sheep, two geese and a cow while “nearly everyone” is wounded.
After it ends, Squealer, who had not been seen throughout the fighting, is beaming and talks of the victory celebration that has commenced with the celebratory firing of a gun. The animals are initially dubious on the statement that this was a victory, but they are quickly convinced during Napoleon’s subsequent speech.
Several days later, the pigs discover some whisky and take advantage of it. The next day, it’s announced that Napoleon is nearing death, but he fully recovers by the following day. Plans to plant barley follow.
Shortly thereafter, the animals are woken up by a loud crash, and they see Squealer on the ground adjacent to the commandments with a broken ladder, paint, a paintbrush and a lantern next to him.
Soon after this occurred, it’s noticed that the animals had misremembered another amendment as, once again, the final two words had been forgotten. In full, it reads, “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.”
The animals are hungry, but they are told glowing statistics of how much more food they have now than before. Although the animals don’t disbelieve what Squealer is saying, “they would sooner have … less figures and more food.” In other words, does it really matter what the statistics are saying if they are not experiencing what they supposedly reveal?
As Snowball continues to be a scapegoat for just about everything, Napoleon has turned into the opposite figure. Everything that has gone right is due to him. This is further shown in Squealer’s emotional speeches about him and in the poem that Minimum composes.
Three hens confessed that Snowball and they had decided to kill Napoleon. After they were killed, Napoleon is further protected by four dogs at his bed at night and a food taster. Perhaps the animals should have realized that maybe there is a good reason that Napoleon’s life is in danger?
The total destruction of the windmill symbolizes the ending of the utopian visions that Snowball had had for the farm.
The poorer result at the Battle of the Windmill as compared to the Battle of the Cowshed is likely due to Snowball’s greater military prowess due to his studying of military strategies that had been used by Julius Caesar. It appears that Napoleon did no such studying, and it showed. Of course, the opponent being more prepared to invade than Mr. Jones’ men had been played a significant role as well.
The pigs drinking alcohol near the end of the chapter symbolizes their further fall into gluttony. It should also be noted that the altered commandment – “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess” – has not resulted in the other animals having any access to it.
When Squealer is found on the ground with a broken ladder, paint and a paintbrush in the area, only one animal, Benjamin, makes any sense of it. Even with clear evidence right in front of them, the rest of the animals still cannot see the corruption that is being done.
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Animal Farm Chapter 8 Questions and Answers
“… without cause.”
“Our Leader, Comrade Napoleon.”
A pile of timber.
“Death to Humanity,” “Death to Frederick” and “Death to Pilkington.”
Five-pound notes, which turned out to be counterfeit.
He should be captured and boiled alive.
Fifteen men attacked Animal Farm, and they brought six guns with them.
“Serves you right.”
He had 12 pellets in his hind leg, split his hoof, lost a shoe and had bleeding knees.
Eleven years old.
The Battle of the Windmill.
Napoleon was dying.
No. Apparently, he was hungover.
A broken ladder, a lantern, a paintbrush and paint.
“… to excess.”