animal farm question
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One of the leaders among the pigs, Napoleon is a “large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar” that is up for sale. He is the only Berkshire boar on the farm. He is “not much of a talker” and has “a reputation for getting his own way” (35). Napoleon expels Snowball from the farm and takes over. He modifies his opinions and policies and rewrites history continually to benefit the pigs. Napoleon awards special privileges to the pigs and especially to himself. For example, he dines on Mr. Jones’s fine china, wears Mr. Jones’s dress clothes, and smokes a pipe. As time goes on, Napoleon becomes a figure in the shadows, increasingly secluding himself and making few public appearances. Eventually, Napoleon holds a conciliatory meeting with the neighboring human farmers and effectively takes over Mr. Jones’s position as dictator. Napoleon represents the type of dictator or tyrant who shirks the common good, instead seeking more and more power in order to create his own regime. Orwell reflects Napoleon’s greed for power with a name that invokes Napoleon Bonaparte, the very successful French leader who became “Emperor” and brashly invaded Russia before being defeated by Russia. But Napoleon the pig more directly represents Stalin in his constantly changing policies and actions, his secret activities, his intentional deception and manipulation of the populace, and his use of fear tactics and atrocities.
One of the leaders among the pigs, Snowball is a young pig that is up for sale. He is more intelligent than Napoleon but lacks Napoleon’s depth of character. He is also a brilliant orator. Snowball, who represents Leon Trotsky, is a progressive politician and aims to improve Animal Farm with a windmill and other technological advances, but Napoleon expels him before he can do so. In his absence, Snowball comes to represent an abstract idea of evil. The animals blame misfortunes on him, including the windmill’s destruction, and entertain the idea that he is lurking on one of the neighboring farms, plotting revenge. Napoleon uses the animals’ fear of Snowball to create new propaganda and changes history to make it seem as though Snowball was always a spy and a traitor. Snowball’s name is symbolic in this way. Napoleon encourages the animals’ fear of him to grow or snowball so that it becomes so great it is almost palpable. Snowball’s name may also refer to Trotsky’s call (following Marx) to encourage a revolution outside the Soviet Union that would “snowball” into an international proletariat revolution. Snowball can more generally be said to represent systems of belief outside of communism, which the government demonizes in order to lionize its own system.
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