The book is about a Farm where the animals make a revolution and chase away the farmowner with his family. For a while everything works great and everybody is happy. But on and on the pigs, who make the organization part on the farm, get more and more like humans. They even change 'the seven rules of Animalism' one by one and in the end the other animals can't divide them from humans, which used to be their enemies and then are the friends of the pigs.
Mr. Jones is the owner of the 'Manor Farm', he is often drunk and treats his animals badly. One night Major, an old boar, calls out for all animals to come to the big barn. He tells them about his vision of freedom and Animalism, and how their live would be improved. The main facts are that human beeings are the enemies, and they just can survive through rebellion, and all animals are comrades and equal, at the end he teaches them a song called 'Beasts of England'. He says that there is no special time for the rebellion but it will be, sooner or later. Three days later Major dies, but the animals keep his vision in mind. One day Mr. Jones comes home late and drunk and forgets to feed the animals. So in the morning the animals are starving and the rebbellion starts. They brake down the doors and feed themselves. Jones tries to control them but the animals are stronger and so he and his wife have to leave. Now the farm belongs to the animals. There are two pigs Napoleon and Snowball who follow the thought of old Major and work out 'The Seven Rules Of Animalism', which they write in big letters onto the the barn, so that everybody can see them. They are the following:
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill another animal.
7. All animals are equal.
The pigs are more intelligent than the other animals and so they do the thinking part, the organization, on the farm. There are another main characters. Like the three horses Boxer the cart-horse, Cluver and Mollie the two mares, Benjamin, the donkey and some more. After they have milked the cows, which was necessary, they all together go to the fields to do the harvest. As they are finished the milk is gone. Later they find out that it is mixed to the food of the pigs, for keeping them healthy and do the brainwork, which, how Squealer, another pig good at talking, tells them is imported to prevent the coming back of Mr. Jones. This year the harvest was better than ever and all animals are satisfied. Each sunday there is a meeting in the barn and the solutions for the problems are decided by voting, and the song 'Beasts Of England' is sung. Snowball tries to teach the animals reading, and reduces the seven Rules into 'Four legs good, two legs bad' for the sillier ones. Napoleon takes nine puppies and brings them up hidden. There are two farms next to the 'Animal Farm', how it is called since the rebellion has started. It's the Foxwood Farm and the Pinchfield Farm. One day Jones comes back, with a few men, leading an attack against the farm. But the animals led by Snowball defeat it bravely. That day is called then the day of 'The Battle Of Cowshed'. Everytime Snowball makes a suggestion for anything at the sundays meetings, Napoleon is against it. As Sowball has the idea to build a windwill, to have later on a better live, because of the electrical power, the light and the warm water, Napoleon disagrees and lets his nine, already grown up, puppies attack Snowball. He has to flee and just escapes with his life. Napoleon forbidds the sunday meetings and decides all problems by himself. Some animals are against it and ask why Snowball was driven away, even he fought that brave in the 'Battle Of Cowshed'. But Squealer, who becomes more and more the right hand of Napoleon argues that Snowball was on Mr. Jones side, and they all don't want Mr. Jones to come back. The dogs are like a security guard and every time any animal doesn't agree with the pigs, it is warned by the dogs. Napoleon even decides to let the windmill be built, and says that it was his idea, just stolen from Snowball. During the next summer the animals work like slaves, building the windmill and working on the fields. Espacially Boxer works very hard. There isn't more food than before the rebellion, it is equal or even less, but the animals mostly don't recognize, and those who do, they say 'it's better having less food, than Mr. Jones coming back.' The pigs behave more and more like humans, and even move to the farmhouse. They also sleep in beds. And as the animals think about the fourth rule, they have to find it changed on the barnwall into 'No animal shall sleep in beds with sheets'. Napoleon, called the Leader, starts dealing with the humans of the other farms through Mr. Whymper. In Autumn the windmill is half-built as it is destroyed by a great storm. The Leader says it was Snowball who came back. There is less food in the winter and so the hens have to give away their eggs for selling. The animals start to rebuilt the windmill. One day four pigs are sentenced to death and killed by the dogs, because they alleged have been in league with Snowball. A few days later the animals find the sixth rule changed into 'No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.' In autumn the windmill is finished and named 'Napoleon Mill'. Some days later it is destroyed by the farmer of the neighbourfarm and about a dozen men with guns and dynamite. A lot of animals are killed, but they win again. One day a pig finds some whiskey and so they drink it. And from now on the fiftth rule is changed into 'No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.' And again the animals start rebuilding the mill. There also should be built a school for the young pigs. One day boxer, who is twelve years old, brakes down. Instead of bringing him to a hospital as he said, Napoleon gets Boxer to a slaugtherhouse.
Years later only some of the animals are alive who where there before the rebellion. The farm is richer than before and the windmill has been finished, but isn't used for electrical power, but for milling corn, which is sold. One day Squealer takes some sheeps and teaches them the new rule 'Four legs good, two legs better.' From that day on the pigs walk on their hind legs. Clover and Benjamin, who are both very old, go to the barn and find just one rule is left 'All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.' A week later some humans come to the farm to celebrate a feast with the pigs, and as the other animals look through the windows into the farmhouse they cant divide the pigs from the humans.
Old Major, the pig:
Without him there wouldn't have been any revolution. He gives the other animals a vision, a hope for a better life and for that he is very respected. Even as he is dead his head is brought to the sunday meetings.
Napoleon, a pig:
He always tries to make everything better just for himself. He rarely works and even when he does it is only for his own advantage. There is nothing he wont do to suppress the others.
Snowball, a pig:
He really tries to change anything, to make a better living for everybody. He is not selfish and does the brainwork because it has to be done.
Squealer, a pig:
He is a very good talker, and thats why he is responsible for the propaganda. He changes the bad things into good things just by telling them different. So the animals mostly believe that everything is alright.
Boxer, the cart-horse:
He is the type of guy who doesn't think, in his case because he isn't that intelligent. But only through people like him the dictator is able to supress them. His two mottos are 'I will work harder' and 'Napoleon is always right'. For him that seems to be enough to solve all the problems.
Benjamin, the donkey:
He is the type of guy who is very intelligent but is not interested in anything, because he thinks that nothing will change, everything will stay that bad as it is.
Moses, the raven:
He stands for the Religion and is always preaching about Sugar candy mountain, which is something like heaven.