By what means is it possible for Napoleon to take command of the farm in Animal Farm?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The power struggle between Napoleon and Snowball reaches its climax in Chapter 5. The conflict between them has of course been heightening, with disagreements concerning the direction that the farm should be taking. Perhaps the bitterest conflict occurs concerning the windmill that Snowball believes should be built because it will be a great labour saving device. Napoleon argues against it, saying that building the windmill will take time and effort away from more important duties such as producing food. It is when Napoleon and Snowball are making speeches to the animals, and Snowball has just made a very successful speech, that Napoleon utters a strange "high-pitched whimper":

At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws. In a moment he was out of the door and they were after him.

Snowball, by the skin of his teeth, just manages to wiggle through a hole in the fence and escape the dogs, but this of course leaves Napoleon with complete control of the farm. What is interesting about the dogs is that the animals comment on how they react to Napoleon:

It was noticed that they wagged their tails to him in the same way as the other dogs had been used to do to Mr Jones.

It appears that Napoleon is adopting the traits of his former human bosses more and more.

So, it is through the nine dogs that Napoleon has reared that he is able to chase off Snowball and seize absolute power in the farm.

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