How did Snowball's participation in the battle of the cowshed from the actual events to the story told by the end of the novel?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Snowball's actual participation in the Battle of the Cowshed was courageous and valiant. Snowball organized the ambush on Jones's men and led the animals during their attack. In an effort to disarm Mr. Jones, Snowball lunged toward him and was shot at the last moment. However, Snowball survived and successfully dislodged Jones's weapon. The animals were able to defeat Mr. Jones and his men, and Snowball earned the military decoration "Animal Hero, First Class."

After Napoleon usurps power and forces Snowball to leave the farm, he instructs Squealer to spread false rumors regarding Snowball's participation during the Battle of the Cowshed in an attempt to tarnish Snowball's reputation. Squealer begins by telling the animals that Snowball's accomplishments during the battle were greatly exaggerated and that Snowball was not loyal or obedient.

Later on, Squealer mentions that Snowball was working for Mr. Jones the entire time and attempted to defeat them during the Battle of the Cowshed. Whenever the animals question Squealer's statements regarding Snowball's participation in the battle, he tells the animals that the pigs have discovered undeniable proof of Snowball's collusion written in secret documents. When the animals insist that they saw Snowball bleeding, Squealer responds by saying that it was all part of their arrangement to trick the animals. Squealer goes on to say,

"The plot was for Snowball, at the critical moment, to give the signal for flight and leave the field to the enemy. And he very nearly succeeded−I will even say, comrades, he would have succeeded if it had not been for our heroic Leader, Comrade Napoleon" (Orwell, 26).

By the end of the novella, Squealer reports that Snowball never even received any military decoration and was actually censured for showing cowardice during the battle. Snowball essentially goes from being the hero of the battle to not even participating in it.

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merehughes eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Snowball's real participation in the Battle of Cowshed was brave and correct. However in Squealer's retelling of the story - Snowball's role goes from bad to worse.

Squealer begins by telling the animals that his bravery was exaggerated. Snowball had proposed the idea of the windmill and Napoleon opposed it. After realizing that if the animals had a diversion, in other words the windmill, he could gain even more power while everyone was focused on building the windmill. Squealer turns this around to tell the animals that because Snowball was so dangerous, Napoleon had to pretend to oppose the idea in order to protect them. He tells the animals that Snowball is dangerous to arouse in them suspicion and doubt. At the end of Squealer's tale of the Battle of Cowshed, Snowball is discredited and in the end the animals are made to believe that Snowball had stolen Napoleon's idea.

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