What do these names from Animal Farm signify: Snowball, Moses(the crow), Squealer, and Boxer?
These animal names each represent a character or group of people during the Russian Revolution. Their names have great siginificance.
Snowball represents Trotsky who was a great military leader. Well, he had great ideas anyway. This name probably signifies the fact that the plans he made grew and grew and grew, but so did his troubles. Snowball being run off the farm is comparable to Trotsky's being run out of Russia.
Moses represented the Russian Orthodox church, or organized religion. Here is an interesting irony though, in the bible Moses was not a good speaker, he needed his brother to speak for him. Orwell could have used that particular biblical name because of the silencing done to the church.
Squealer, appropriately named, represented the media. Pravda was the news during the Russian Revolution that would spin the truth in such a way that the people believed all kinds of lies. Every squeal, although well taken by the animals, was entirely painful just like the sound. Lies hurt and Squealer was good at making them appear true.
Boxer represented the regular working class people. Many of these people lost their lives because they were the working class who were literally worked to death. The choice of the word Boxer to represent the working class is an interesting one because the Boxers went against the government. This Boxer stayed true to the government to the very end. Perhaps that's because this Boxer thought he was part of a revolution that did not turn out to be so revolutionary.
As well as representing real figures in Soviet history, these names also symbolize aspects of these characters' personalities. Take Snowball, for example. A snowball is white, a color associated with innocence and purity. These ideas are applicable to Snowball's character because of all the pigs on the farm, he is the only one who cares about the well-being of all the animals, not just his own kind.
Similarly, Moses is a Biblical name, and this is symbolic of Moses's religious ideas which are spread on the farm. He talks about Sugarcandy Mountain, for example, a place which represents Heaven.
In addition, the word Squealer makes the reader think about talking, and this is, by far, Squealer's strongest character trait. He is skilled in public speaking and becomes Napoleon's propaganda machine.
Finally, the word Boxer conjures images of physical strength and prowess, and this is applicable to Boxer in lots of ways. He is a cart horse, known and respected for his physical capabilities and his dedication to hard work.
The use of these names, therefore, gives the reader an insight into their character types and personalities from the very beginning of the novel.