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Snowball in Animal Farm: Character, Allegory & Analysis

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, Snowball the pig becomes one of two leaders on the farm after Mr. Jones is exiled. His competitor, Napoleon, feels threatened by his leadership.

Leadership

What characteristics would you want in a leader? In George Orwell's Animal Farm, the human farmer is expelled by the animals. Two of the pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, emerge as leaders to carry out the dream of unity. Of the two, Snowball is the most creative and the best at giving inspiring speeches. Let's learn more about Snowball.

Establishing Animalism

When Mr. Jones is removed from the farm, Snowball thinks putting the ideas of Old Major (the deceased pig that inspired the Rebellion) and the new Seven Commandments is a top priority. He paints the Commandments on a wall of the barn and says, 'Let us make it a point of honour to get in the harvest more quickly than Jones and his men could do,' Snowball says.

Snowball begins to realize that the Seven Commandments need to be simplified so that more of the animals can understand them, so he sums up all of Animalism in the maxim 'FOUR LEGS GOOD, TWO LEGS BAD' which he teaches to the sheep and writes on the barn wall.

Disagreements

Snowball creates a flag to represent the unity of the animals that is displayed at every Sunday meeting. During most meetings, the pigs put out a resolution when Snowball and Napoleon debate. There are a few things that Snowball and Napoleon agree on, but as time goes on they seem to split more and more.

Snowball organizes a variety of Animal Committees designed to improve the productivity and conformity of all of the animals, however, most of the them fail. He also provides classes to teach them all how to read and write. Education is very popular among the animals, but many are unable to learn to read more than a few letters of the alphabet.

Napoleon thinks that Snowball's committees are pointless and instead focuses on educating the young by taking the puppies away from their mothers and making himself responsible for their training.

Military Hero

By the time Mr. Jones brought men to try to take back the farm, Snowball has read up on military strategy and has a plan. He distracts the men by sending the pigeons and geese to irritate them, followed by a direct attack by the sheep and donkeys. When these animals retreat and the men think they have won, he signals for an attack by the horses, cows, and pigs.

In battle, Snowball puts himself in the frontline and suffers a small gunshot wound during the battle. For his bravery, Snowball is awarded the 'Animal Hero, First Class' medal.

The Windmill

Snowball and Napoleon continue to disagree about everything. Snowball's speeches win over crowds, but Napoleon is able to garner support between meetings, especially with the sheep. The biggest debates are over Snowball's idea to build a windmill and the defense of the farm.

According to Snowball, a windmill would do so much of the work for the animals. Snowball's idea on how to defend the farm is to spread the notion of Animalism outside the farm to increase their numbers.

Napoleon disagrees, believing that if the animals spend all of their time building a windmill, food production will go down and they will starve. In the area of defense, Napoleon thinks they should get weapons and train themselves to fight. The animals are divided between the two factions.

Snowball is Exiled

The animals are about to vote on the windmill issue. It seems likely they will go with Snowball, but then Napoleon has dogs chase Snowball off of the property. After his expulsion, Snowball's reputation is tarnished with accusations that he is working with neighboring farmers, sabotaging their crops, and that trying to destroy the windmill, which by this point, Napoleon has decided to build. Napolean lies, 'Comrades, do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!'

Every success on the farm is attributed to Napoleon while every failure is somehow blamed on Snowball. Animals who even dream of Snowball are executed as traitors. Eventually, Snowball is forgotten, as well as his dream that the animals will ever live a life of luxury.

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