What are some examples of symbolism, theme, or character development for Chapter 4 of Animal Farm?

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  • Symbolism

The narrative of Chapter 4 of Animal Farm retells in fable form the Civil War and invasions that followed the Russian Revolution of 1917. After peace talks failed with the new leadership of Communists, Germany penetrated deep into Russia and launched an attack in 1918. At this same time, a Civil War was waged until 1920 between the Communists "Reds" and the anti-Communist "Whites." The allied powers of WWI along with Japan invaded Russia and aided the "Whites." But, in 1919, the foreign powers came under attack by the combined Russian troops, so they left the country; victory then went to the "Reds." Leon Trotsky emerged as a powerful leader from this victory. 

This victory is symbolized by the "Battle of the Cowshed." Mr. Pilkington's Foxwood Farm represents Great Britain.


Early in October...a flight of pigeons came whirling...and alighted in the yard of Animal Farm in the wildest excitement. Jones and all his men, with half a dozen others from Foxwood and Pinchfield, had entered the five-barred gate and were coming up the cart-track...carrying sticks...Obviously, they were going to attempt the recapture of the farm.

  • Characterization

As Trotsky, Snowball emerges as the leader and great organizer after the "Battle of the Cowshed." Snowball has read from the campaigns of Julius Caesar and has employed many of Caesar's tactics in the Battle of the Cowshed.

Mr. Pilkington, the owner of Foxwood Farm, is a farmer who leaves nearby. His character represents the British Minister of War, and later to be Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Churchill was the leader who recognized in Russia the threat of communism. Therefore, he advocated the invasion of Russia by the Allied Forces.

The other farmer, Mr. Frederick, represents Germany.


The men...saw, as they imagined, their enemies in flight, and they rushed after them in disorder. This was just what Snowball had intended. As soon as they were well inside the yard...Snowball gave the signal for the charge....several men dropped their sticks and tried to run...They were gored, kicked, bitten, trampled on....And so within five minutes of their invasion they were in ignominious retreat....

  • Theme

In his fable, Orwell pursues the similarities of the animals who defeat the humans with these very men. For, the animals, like men, "militate against any utopian ideal." Napoleon's actions best illustrate this theme as he works against Snowball, exiling him. Then, he changes the Commandments of the animals, and, finally, becomes virtually human, drinking and walking on two legs.

In Chapter 4 there is not much development of this theme because this chapter clearly belongs to Snowball and his great leadership.