Discuss how Napoleon was able to utilize the sheep in order to consolidate his power on the farm.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Napoleon is artful in the manner in which he uses the sheep.  Essentially, the sheep become the proverbial "yes men" to Napoleon's initiatives and his consolidation of power.  They lack the comprehension to understand that they are being used in such a manner, and thus are easy to manipulate.  In Chapter 5, the difficult weather conditions give rise to dissent and Snowball advocating alternative plans over Napoleon's.  In this, one sees how Napoleon is able to use the sheep as a tactic of political diversion:

At the Meetings Snowball often won over the majority by his
brilliant speeches, but Napoleon was better at canvassing support for  himself in between times. He was especially successful with the sheep. Of late the sheep had taken to bleating "Four legs good, two legs bad" both in and out of season, and they often interrupted the Meeting with this. It
was noticed that they were especially liable to break into "Four legs good, two legs bad" at crucial moments in Snowball's speeches.

Napoleon is artful in how he deploys the sheep in order to ensure that Snowball's points are never fully understood by the other animals.  Combined with how the sheep continually repeat a phrase for hours, Napoleon's use of the sheep represents how political spin needs to be repeated constantly, drowning out the chords of political discourse in order to make sure that the Status Quo can continue.  To this end, Napoleon's use of the sheep is representative of his desire to consolidate his own power and how this has to be pursued in a post- human setting on the farm.


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