Animal Farm Windmill: Symbolism & Analysis

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  • 0:03 Snowball's Dream
  • 0:36 The Farm Is Divided
  • 2:00 Trotsky Versus Stalin
  • 2:31 Construction & Destruction
  • 3:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell, the windmill is symbolic of industry in the Soviet Union before and during the time of the book's publication. In this lesson, we'll learn more about the importance of the windmill.

Snowball's Dream

The two pigs Snowball and Napoleon disagree about nearly everything, so it's no surprise that the windmill would be central to yet another controversy. Snowball believes that if the animals spend a year building the windmill, the payoff later would result in animals only having to work three days a week. Napoleon believes that they need to work on filling their troughs rather than on Snowball's pipe dream. In this lesson, we will learn more about the role the windmill plays in the politics of Animal Farm by George Orwell.

The Farm Is Divided

Snowball works diligently on his complicated plan to increase productivity through the use of a windmill. The animals don't really understand it but think it's exciting enough to stop by Snowball's office daily to see how things are coming along. Napoleon opposes the windmill:

'One day, however, he arrived unexpectedly to examine the plans. He walked heavily round the shed, looked closely at every detail of the plans and snuffed at them once or twice, then stood for a little while contemplating them out of the corner of his eye; then suddenly he lifted his leg, urinated over the plans, and walked out without uttering a word.'

The farm becomes divided as they split their loyalties between Snowball and Napoleon. The animals formed themselves into two factions under the slogan, 'Vote for Snowball and the three-day week' and 'Vote for Napoleon and the full manger.' On the day that it's to be put to a vote, it looks as though Snowball is going to be the victor, until Napoleon initiates a game-changer. Rather than giving his speech, Napoleon calls on his dogs to chase Snowball off the farm. Snowball is never seen again.

At this point, the windmill serves as a symbol for the dreams of the people. While some prefer to work hard and hoard resources to secure their future, others want to reduce their workload and have more comfortable lives.

Trotsky Versus Stalin

In Animal Farm, the characters and events are an allegory , or a symbolic representation of what's happening in the Soviet Union before and during the time of the book's publication. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, who believed in promoting technology and spreading communism. Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, who believed in building a strong army. Once Stalin rose to power, Trotsky was exiled and later killed by KGB (which is represented by the dogs in Animal Farm).

Construction & Destruction

Three weeks after Snowball is removed from the farm, Napoleon changes his mind about the windmill:

'He did not give any reason for having changed his mind, but merely warned the animals that this extra task would mean very hard work, it might even be necessary to reduce their rations.'

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