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Why is Snowball's explanation that "the only good human being is a dead one" dangerous...

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caroline3 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 5, 2011 at 9:21 AM via web

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Why is Snowball's explanation that "the only good human being is a dead one" dangerous with regard to the spirit of the Seven Commandments?

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

Posted September 6, 2011 at 7:55 PM (Answer #1)

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From the most fundamental of viewpoints, the Seven Commandments of Animalism stress a sense of community and empowerment of animals.  This holistic vision of animal strength is rooted from how animals can come together, form solidarity, and find strength amongst one another.  The commandments place primacy on animals' collectivity and focuses out all else.  Snowball's explanation is problematic to an extent because it moves this primacy to human beings.  In doing so, it helps to make a situation whereby the animals focus their attention on the human beings.  In trying to eliminate and focusing on what they end up despising, Snowball's comment ends up moving the animals, specifically the pigs, closer to being human.  The idea of hating something so much that it envelops and one becomes what they despise is evident here.  Squealer's and Napoleon's constant justification for their power is that that animals would not want Jones to return.  They end up using human beings as such an example of what not to be that they end up replicating humans in their worst elements.  Snowball's comment ends up setting the stage, inadvertently, for this.  It is the type of comment that is manipulated by those in the position of power to substantiate their own being as one that is closer to human beings, as opposed to divergent from it.  In doing so, the animals, pigs specifically, lose their focus on what the purpose of the revolution was, in terms of strengthening the animals, creating a realm distinctly different than that of the humans.

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