Summary and Analysis Chapter 7



As the human world watches Animal Farm and waits for news of its failure, the animals struggle against starvation. Napoleon uses Mr. Whymper to spread news of Animal Farm's sufficiency to the human world. After learning that they must surrender their eggs, the hens stage a demonstration that only ends when they can no longer live without the rations that Napoleon had denied them. Nine hens die as a result of the protest.

The animals are led to believe that Snowball is visiting the farm at night and spitefully subverting their labor. He becomes a constant (and imagined) threat to the animals' security, and Squealer eventually tells the animals that Snowball has sold himself to Frederick and that he was in league with Jones from the very beginning.

One day in spring, Napoleon calls a meeting of all the animals, during which he forces confessions from all those who had questioned him (such as the four pigs in Chapters 5 and 6 and the three hens who lead the protest) and then has them murdered by the dogs. Numerous animals also confess to crimes that they claim were instigated by Snowball. Eventually, the singing of "Beasts of England" is outlawed and a new song by Minimus, Napoleon's pig-poet, is instituted, although the animals do not find the song as meaningful as their previous anthem.


Faced with the realities of farming — and his own lack of planning for the winter — Napoleon is forced to deal with a hungry populace and the potentially damaging leaks of such news to the outside world. To surmount these problems, Napoleon metaphorically assumes the role of director and mounts a theatrical production. In terms of this metaphor, Mr. Whymper is the audience whom Napoleon must engage and fool into believing in an illusion, the sheep are actors reciting lines about the rations having been increased, and the empty grain bins filled with sand are the props (or "special effects"). Whymper is fooled into thinking that Animal Farm is running smoothly, and Napoleon again demonstrates his judicious use of deception. (Ironically, this deceptive theatricality is exactly what Squealer later accuses Snowball of having done with Jones at the Battle of the Cowshed.)

More deception occurs in the pernicious lies spread about Snowball. Napoleon uses him as a scapegoat for any of the farm's misfortunes, as Hitler did with European Jews as he rose to power. Both leaders understand the public's desire to cast blame on an outside source for all their troubles. Squealer's claims that the pigs have found "documents" linking Snowball to Jones are an appeal to the animals' need for proof — although the nonexistent documents are never revealed to them on the grounds that the animals are unable to read them. Like the grain-bins filled with sand, Snowball's "documents" are another ruse used by Napoleon to manipulate the thoughts of those who could end his rule. The animals refuse to believe that the thin walls of the windmill contributed to its collapse, revealing the extent to which they subscribe to the Snowball-baiting ideology.

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