SparkNotes Blog

Blogging Animal Farm: Chapters 5 & 6

Gather round, squirrelfriends, because it’s time for the next installment of our tale: Rollicking Misadventures of a Commie Oinker, also known as Animal Farm (you can catch up on Chapters 1-4 right here)!

Previously: The pigs bring all the milkshakes to the yard (and don’t share), and the animals fight off the humans with ducks!

Chapter 5

(You can read the official SparkNotes Chapter 5 summary right here)

The animals are farmin’ along, but all is not well in Zootopia. Mollie, the silly horse who likes sugar, isn’t showing up for work. She doesn’t care about taking back the means of production—she would rather sleep in and check Kendall Jenner’s Instagram. Just as the other animals grow suspicious, Mollie disappears—and is spotted with a fat farmer, who feeds her sugar and pets her nose. Mollie basically voted herself off the island because she needed some self-care. Bye, Mollie.

MEANWHILE, IN THE BARN: Snowball and Napoleon, the rascally pigs we love to hate, have been arguing a lot. They disagree on everything—and nothing gets the people riled up like a  good old-fashioned WINDMILL FIGHT!


In the left corner, the intellectual, the orator, a quick study who’s quicker on his hooves: Snowball!

In the right corner, the big boss, the heavy hitter, our sneaky leader who loves power and eating garbage: Napoleon!

Snowball argues that they can build a windmill, which will generate electricity, and that this in turn will allow them to use all sorts of machines, from tractors to turnip slicers. The innovation would let them work just 3 days per week! Yowza!

Napoleon argues that that is dumb. Windmill are dumb.

Snowball starts making all sorts of plans, diving deep into research, reading books on electricity, and drawing windmill blueprints on the shed floor!

Napoleon, in a carefully measured response, pees on them.

The animals are divided, and everyone picks a side. Everyone except my main mule Benjamin, the donkey that don’t play. “Windmill or no windmill, he said, life would go on as it had always gone on—that is, badly.” Benjamin, bringin’ the laughs! Love that guy.

At last, WINDMILL FIGHT! comes to a head: all the animals gather in the barn for a vote. Snowball gives a long rousing speech. Napoleon very calmly and quietly says, nah. Snowball gives another, even more glowing speech, and the animals are all about to vote for Snowball’s plans, when suddenly—


Nine of them, actually. With no warning they tear into the barn, charge straight up to Snowball, and chase him, shrieking, off the farm. After a second everybody realizes that these dogs are the nine puppies Napoleon took away to raise himself back in Chapter 3! Wow, this is just like the classic feel-good film Air Bud, except the dogs are evil, and instead of puppers playin’ basketball there’s political violence and the subversion of democratic ideals! With his brand new Dog Secret Police at his back, Napoleon announces that there will be no more big barn meetings, and everything will now be decided by the pigs alone.

At first, the animals are like, “But, wait, that seems….not good?” But Squealer convinces them that the pigs are sacrificing for the farm’s good, and with the Secret Police Dogs growling, the other animals quickly decide that’s fine. Squealer also announces that Snowball was actually a traitor, and that they will build a windmill— Napoleon supported it all along!

Real Life Intermission: We gettin’ allegorical, fam. In real life, Stalin (i.e., Napoleon) exiled Trotsky (i.e., Snowball) after Lenin’s (i.e., Old Major’s) death. He then pointed to Trotsky as the secret evil-doer behind everything that went wrong in the USSR. Stalin also, after initially resisting a focus on technology, embraced huge plans to bring electricity to the countryside once he was dictator. Get it?! The WINDMILL is just like the ELECTRICITY that Stalin was so keen on. And the DOGS are the SECRET POLICE. And the PEE is, I don’t know, maybe Stalin peed on stuff. Stalin also liked to rewrite history, so, who knows what he was into, really.

Chapter 6

(You can read the official SparkNotes Chapter 6 summary right here)

The animals all start working crazy-hard in order to make the windmill. It’s difficult, because the pigs cut rations, and there’s a ton of work, and also they are animals with no opposable thumbs and can’t use tools. They have to haul the big boulders up to a cliff and drop them, so they break into manageable sizes, and that’s very difficult. Boxer comes through in the clutch, as he always does, working as hard as three horses.

Still, everyone feels good, everyone feels fine. They’re just as well-off as they were under Farmer Jones, and they still feel like they are their own bosses (O, U FOOLS). However, the farm is starting to run out of certain supplies—like paraffin oil, nails, string, etc. Napoleon announces that to fix this, they’re gonna trade with a human (Mr. Whymper). Wait, wasn’t this against the rules? Didn’t we say no trading with humans? But the pigs assure everyone that if they think they remember that rule, it’s just the work of treacherous Snowball, whom we hate now, and isn’t invited to sit with us at lunch EVER.


The pigs also move into the farmhouse and start sleeping in the beds (callllllllled it). When Muriel and Clover go to check the rule against beds, though, they find it says, “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.” Hmmmmmmmmmmm. They must have remembered it wrong (OR DID THEY???? (O, U FOOLS!!!)).

Around this time, a huge storm blows through Animal Farm. It tears everything up, including a huge tree, the flagpole—and the windmill! The animals are way sad. Napoleon sniffs around and declares that it was, in fact, the sneaky Snowball who destroyed all their work. He puts a price on Snowball’s head (a bushel of apples for 1 dead enemy of the state—pretty fair trade).  Everyone declares they will rebuild the windmill! Long live Animal Farm!

Catch up on all of the Blogging Animal farm posts here, and all of the Blogging the Classics series here!