What are Snowball's positive and negative characteristics?  

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Snowball is a very energetic, intelligent creature. He's charismatic, inspiring, a gifted public speaker, and good at rousing the other animals to stand up and fight the oppression and injustice they endure at the hands of their human masters. Snowball is also physically brave—he played the leading role during the epic Battle of the Cowshed, while Napoleon was notable by his absence.

Unfortunately, Snowball's a little too idealistic for his own good. He's such a fanatical believer in the fundamental solidarity of animal-kind that he can't imagine for a moment that some of the animals can be as repressive and tyrannical as any human. There's simply nothing in the Animalist ideology, to which Snowball has devoted himself, to account for the likes of Napoleon and his dictatorial rule. Snowball's unswerving commitment to Animalism leaves him vulnerable to the devious machinations of Napoleon, who is much more flexible when it comes to ideology and so is able to outmaneuver Snowball and drive him from the farm.

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Snowball is very intelligent, but he is an idealist.  He is unpopular, and does not seem strong enough to stand up to Napoleon.

Snowball is described as being clever and energetic, but he does not have a good reputation.   More than likely, other animals are intimidated by his intelligence.

Snowball was a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character. (ch 1)

Snowball truly believes in Old Major’s vision.  He is committed to coming up with ideas to make it work.  From the beginning, he vies for control with Napoleon.  In the beginning, everything is described as Snowball and Napoleon together, and it is clear (to the reader) that Snowball is the brains of the operation and Napoleon is benefitting.

Snowball and Napoleon were by far the most active in the debates. But it was noticed that these two were never in agreement: whatever suggestion either of them made, the other could be counted on to oppose it. (ch 2)

Snowball is intelligent.  He is the one who first reads and writes the best, makes battle plans from reading a book of Julius Caesar’s campaigns, and makes the plans for the windmill.  Napoleon eventually decides he wants to take Snowball’s plans and get him out of the way, but Snowball does not see it coming.  Napoleon has stronger supporters than Snowball.  Ultimately, it is Snowball’s idealism and lack of popularity that leads him to be driven off.


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