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In George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, the other animals’ attitudes toward Snowball change significantly between the Battle of the Cowshed and his expulsion from the farm.
In the Battle of the Cowshed, Snowball not only coordinates and leads the defensive maneuvers of the animals but also displays great individual bravery. Even after the animals have proven themselves victorious, Snowball, despite his own injuries, takes a leading role in dealing with those who have misgivings about the battle:
“No sentimentality, comrade!” cried Snowball from whose wounds the blood was still dripping. “War is war.”
In light of Snowball’s leadership and heroism, it is not surprising that the other animals feel gratitude toward him:
The animals decided unanimously to create a military decoration, “Animal Hero, First Class,” which was conferred there and then on Snowball and Boxer.
Later, however, when Napoleon and Snowball become obvious rivals and competitors, Snowball is chased viciously from the farm by huge dogs under Napoleon’s command. He is even accused of being a criminal.
“He fought bravely at the Battle of the Cowshed,” said somebody.
“Bravery is not enough,” said Squealer. “Loyalty and obedience are more important. And as to the Battle of the Cowshed, I believe the time will come when we shall find that Snowball's part in it was much exaggerated.”
Squealer, Napoleon’s propagandist, does his best to tarnish Snowball’s reputation. Snowball is now denounced as “a dangerous character and a bad influence.” Later he is accused of various crimes, such as the destruction of the very windmill he himself had proposed. Most of the animals accept this new characterization of him, thus illustrating the effectiveness of propaganda in a dictatorial regime.
Orwell thus suggests how quickly and easily the original heroes of a revolution can be painted as its enemies.
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