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"What victory?" said Boxer. His knees were bleeding, he had lost a shoe and split his hoof, and a dozen pellets had lodged themselves in his hind leg.
"What victory, comrade? Have we not driven the enemy off our soil— the sacred soil of Animal Farm?"
"But they have destroyed the windmill. And we had worked on it for two years!"
"What matter? We will build another windmill. We will build six windmills if we feel like it. You do not appreciate, comrade, the mighty thing that we have done. The enemy was in occupation of this very ground that we stand upon. And now— thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon— we have won every inch of it back again!"
"Then we have won back what we had before," said Boxer.
"That is our victory," said Squealer. (8.26-8.33)
Squealer can make black into white, and he can also make "not being utterly destroyed" into "victory." But we still think that having to take our shoes off at the airport means that the terrorists have already won.
Moreover, terrible stories were leaking out from Pinchfield about the cruelties that Frederick practiced upon his animals. He had flogged an old horse to death, he starved his cows, he had killed a dog by throwing it into the furnace, he amused himself in the evenings by making cocks fight with splinters of razor-blade tied to their spurs. The animals' blood boiled with rage when they heard of these things being done to their comrades, and sometimes they clamoured to be allowed to go out in a body and attack Pinchfield Farm, drive out the humans, and set the animals free. (8.8)
Um. Is it just us, or are Frederick's cruelties almost exactly like what the pigs do to the animals? (Okay, we don't remember any razorblades, but there is the whole starving the hens and ripping out the throats of the pigs business.)
This time they did not heed the cruel pellets that swept over them like hail. It was a savage, bitter battle. The men fired again and again, and, when the animals got to close quarters, lashed out with their sticks and their heavy boots. A cow, three sheep, and two geese were killed, and nearly everyone was wounded. Even Napoleon, who was directing operations from the rear, had the tip of his tail chipped by a pellet. But the men did not go unscathed either. Three of them had their heads broken by blows from Boxer's hoofs; another was gored in the belly by a cow's horn; another had his trousers nearly torn off by Jessie and Bluebell. (8.23)
Compared to being gored, having our pants pulled off doesn't sound so bad. Still, this is a brutal, bloody battle. The animals win—but it's not much of a victory.