Snowball Animal Farm
Snowball is one of the two boars who takes charge of the affairs of the Animal Farm when it comes into being. He is a pig of versatile ability, is quick of speech, eloquent at arguments and possessed of genius to tackle whatever problems are thrown up by the circumstances of life. His natural attitude is to formulate theories and organize things. He consults Napolean and Squealer as a matter of course, but the chief task of reducing Old Major‘s ideas to workable philosophy is his alone. He is the founder and high priest of the cult of Animalism. He tried to convince his fellows of the utility of democracy by intelligent talk. He pleasantly answers even the silliest questions of his fellows. When Mollie asks whether there will be sugar and ribbons after the rebellion is accomplished, he replied that sugar is a human luxury and ribbons are the emblem of slavery.
The revolution on the Mid Summer Eve occurs accidently without premeditation on the part of animals. But once Jones and his men are defeated and driven away, Snowball takes up the task of organising the revolutionary state. He gets the name of the farm changed from ‘Manor Farm’ to ‘Animal Farm’. He expounds the philosophy of Animalism into seven commandments which he himself writes in bold white letters on the wall of the barn. When he finds that the animals are unable to get all the seven commandments committed to memory, he embodies them into a shorter slogan reading ‘Four legs good, two legs bad’. The sheep repeat it at the top of their voice.
Snowball treats the pigs not as superior to and separate in class from other animals but as a group of workers devoted to the cause of Animalism. Hence he organises pigs into special committee for the rapid progress of the farm. The hens are placed under an egg-production committee and the sheep are brought under the whiter wool movement. For the cows, the Clean Tails League is formed, and the small animals like rats and rabbits are grouped under the Wild comrades Re-education Committee. He makes animals literate clubs for reading and writing are built up. In the end all these organisations become stagnant and choked up, and Napolean got the chance to observe with an ugly chuckle, “I told you so”. Snowball also prescribed a flag for the farm, with signs of horn and hoof painted against a green background. He initiates a flag salutation ceremony and makes the song ‘Beasts of England’, the national anthem of the animals. This song is sung at every turn of the flag salutation ceremony. At the Sunday meetings he holds consultations and discussions with animals over short and long term policies. He thus proves himself to be a democratic leader who leads by persuasive discussions.
A state of acute differences exists between Napolean and Snowball. All Snowball’s proposals and plans are dubbed by Napolean as impracticable. But Snowball is able to convince his fellow animals by his reasoning. Napolean, however, works covertly and gets animals to go with him in their votes. But the tussle between the two leaders does not long as there exists a threat of the recapture of the farm by Jones and his men.
Snowball is shrewd enough to anticipate Jones’ attempt at recapturing the farm. And he has drawn up a plan for a campaign with perfect strategy He has detailed pigeons on the duty of spying outside the farm. In this was he gets pre-informed when Jones and his men mount an attack on the farm armed with sticks. Snowball is the first to attack quite dramatically. Under his instructions, the pigeons fly on the heads of the attackers and the geese bite their calves. While the attackers are beating the birds with their sticks Snowball leads the sheep, Benjamin, Muriel and a few others to hit the attackers from all sides. When the attackers are furious with their lashes Snowball signals to the animals to perform a strategic retreat. The attackers rush into the yard under the impression that victory is theirs. But they get the surprise of their life when, under Snowball’s strategy, they are ambushed near the cowshed. As the attackers are near the shed, a number of animals rush out and cut off their retreat. Jones now fires wounding Snowball in the back. But the latter hurls his weighty, bulky body on Jones’ legs pitching him into the dung heap. The attackers grow panicky and run out of the farm. Snowball, along with Boxer, is decorated as ‘Animal Hero, First Class This Battle of the Cowshed is a tribute to Snowball’s leadership and valour.
However, Snowball’s success in the campaign against Jones and his men showed the seeds of his downfall. Hatred and jealousy against him began to consume his rival Napolean. Snowball has plans to make animal farm prosperous and progressive. As a result of his study of literature on mechanics and electricity, he draws up a plan for building a windmill. The animals view with curiosity the plan he has drawn up on the floor of a room, but Napolean views it with disdain and urinates on it. Soon there is split among the animals. Those who are on the side of Snowball clamour for the three day week, while those siding Napolean favour full manger.
At last, Snowball puts up his completed plan for the windmill before the usual Sunday meeting. He gives reasons for his plan which Napolean rejects as nonsense. With his remarkable eloquence, Snowball recounts the benefits that the windmill will bring to the farm and the animals appear to be impressed in his favour. All of a sudden the air is filled with a terrible growl and a pack of nine dogs attack Snowball in full fury. Snowball is overwhelmed at this unexpected move and thinking discretion to be the better part of valour he makes a quick move for the road in the open. One of the dogs in particular tries to sink his teeth into his tail but he grants him away. Running for life he manages to escape through a hole in the hedge. He is no more seen physically in the farm thereafter.
After the departure of Snowball from the affairs of the Animal Farm it became a fashion with Napolean to explain everything that went wrong as an act of sabotage by Snowball. His name is not forgotten, but Napolean and his spokesman, Squealer, pervert the memory of Snowball and twist the facts of history to furnish a convenient scapegoat. Secret documents mysteriously turn up which prove Snowball to have been in Jones‘ pay from the start, and whenever something goes away he is always blamed for it. To the simple animals, it appears as though Snowball were some kind of invisible influence, pervading the air about them.
In part, Snowball’s career is based on that of Trotsky, but on a more universal level it would seem that Orwell had in mind the need for a dictatorial regime to have ready at hand a scapegoat which can be blamed when things go wrong as Hitler blamed the Jews by persecuting such devianists. The regime draws attention away from its own shortcomings.