What is the background on Napoleon?

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

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Not much is given in way of information about Napoleon.  We know that he is a a "large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar."  It is also told that he has a tendency to get his way. These two elements help to set the stage for what kind of character Napoleon will be in the novel.  On one hand, his "fierce- looking" demeanor helps to bring to light how Napoleon represents the idea of being "fierce."  This is an apt description of Napoleon's rule and how he carries himself as leader of the farm.  The background of how Napoleon tends to get his way is also representative of how Napoleon will approach the new dawn of Animalism.  Building off of this would be how one of the first actions he takes is to secure the pups for himself in developing a new security detail that will ensure he gets his way.  I think that these elements represents much about his background from the novel that will play out as the novel progresses.  Part of what Orwell seeks to do is to bring characters out in the novel without much in way of their background.  He is more concerned with how they act in the present and future given the context in which they are in than their past actions.


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