In Animal Farm, what is the impact of conflict on Napoleon? 

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

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Napoleon is presented as having an eerily detached reaction to conflict.  Napoleon views conflict only in terms of how it impacts his own power. In defense of his power base and in the desire to expand it, Napoleon responds to conflict with a swift brutality that ends it.  He does this when Snowball's power becomes too much, when that conflict seeks to threaten his own power.  Napoleon does this when the animals try to rebel against his rules.  He does this when he must dispense with the forces, real or perceived, of dissent.  Napoleon does not seek to understand conflict.  He simply sees it in terms of his own power.  He simply destroys its presence.  Napoleon does not show any sort of remourse or regret in this, and in doing so, displays his detachment.  It gets to the point where Napoleon has appropriated the human desire for power and has done so with an animalistic necessity to view conflict as a hindrance to his own power and survival.  Napoleon's reaction to conflict is not to understand it, but rather overcome it.  In this, Orwell might be making a statement about political leaders in the modern setting.

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