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In George Orwell's novel Animal Farm, what are some important things that Napoleon says...

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jmaclover | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:42 PM via web

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In George Orwell's novel Animal Farm, what are some important things that Napoleon says thoughout the book that show the development of his personality and how he resembles Joseph Stalin?

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 28, 2011 at 4:14 AM (Answer #1)

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In George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, the pig named Napoleon strongly resembles the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Like Stalin, Napoleon is willing to say and do almost anything that will advance and protect his own power and interests.  At one point, for example, Napoleon opposes the proposal, by Snowball, to build a windmill. Snowball is the allegorical counterpart of Leon Trotsky, Stalin’s great rival.  When the windmill proposal is being debated, the narrator reports that

He [that is, Napoleon] said very quietly that the windmill was nonsense and that he advised nobody to vote for it, and promptly sat down again; he had spoken for barely thirty seconds, and seemed almost indifferent as to the effect he produced.

Later, however,

after Snowball's expulsion, the animals were somewhat surprised to hear Napoleon announce that the windmill was to be built after all. He did not give any reason for having changed his mind, but merely warned the animals that this extra task would mean very hard work, [and that] it might even be necessary to reduce their rations.

Napoleon thus goes from being an opponent of the windmill to being its prime advocate. Indeed, through his propagandist, Squealer, he claims that he never in fact opposed construction of the windmill in the first place – a prime example of the way history was constantly rewritten by Soviet propagandists. Napoleon claims that he

had seemed to oppose the windmill, simply as a manoeuvre to get rid of Snowball, who was a dangerous character and a bad influence.

Later still, when strong winds blow down the poorly-constructed windmill, Napoleon addresses the other animals:

'Comrades,' he said quietly, 'do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!' he suddenly roared in a voice of thunder. 'Snowball has done this thing! In sheer malignity, thinking to set back our plans and avenge himself for his ignominious expulsion, this traitor has crept here under cover of night and destroyed our work of nearly a year.'

Even later, after the windmill has been rebuilt, the narrator reports that

Napoleon himself, attended by his dogs and his cockerel, came down to inspect the completed work; he personally congratulated the animals on their achievement, and announced that the mill would be named Napoleon Mill.

In short, Napoleon is an unscrupulous liar and opportunist. He is willing to rewrite history and to slander his opponents. As the novel develops, be becomes more and more powerful and his egotism becomes more and more obvious. Unfortunately, the more egotistical he is revealed to be, the less easy it is to resist, let alone combat, his iron authority over Animal Farm.

 

 

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