How do the pigs forshadow their eventual leadership position?

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

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Consider the opening of the novel.  As Old Major speaks, the pigs are all seated in front of the barn.  They hang on his every word and ensure that they are completely focused on what he is saying.  This helps to foreshadow their own rise to power as they are situated in the very front of the lecture that Old Major delivers, hanging on his every word and seemingly ready to take over where he leaves off.  In Chapter 2, this is seen in a more pronounced manner.  It is the pigs who assume the role of leadership in advancing the doctrine of Animalism in the wake of Old Major's death.  The emergence of Napoleon, Squealers, and Snowball is a major part of this.  The fact that they spend more time trying to rile up the animals in understanding their own predicament as being slaves to the humans, and compelling them for the need to change is a part of this process.  Snowball's conversations with Mollie represent this well, criticizing her love of ribbons as "shackles" of the human oppressors.  The pigs' forceful role of leadership in the midst of the animals' struggles helps to highlight two elements.  The first is that it helps to foreshadow how the pigs assume leadership when no one else does.  Additionally, it also highlights how the pigs "work" the tenets of animalism to their own advantage and in securing their own position of political leadership on the farm, something that will define the leadership of Napoleon and Squealer as the novel progresses.


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