What is ironic about the animal's pride in the mill when it's finished and the results of all Boxers hard work?George Orwell's Animal Farm

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Five of Animal Farm, Snowball, who has studied some of Mr. Jones's books, contends that the animals will prosper if they build a windmill which can provide electricity, thus automating some of the farm work.  However, after Snowball has completed all the blueprints for the windmill and he gives an inspiring speech, Napoleon sics the dogs upon Snowball, driving him from the farm.  Then, Napoleon takes command and tells the others that Sunday-morning meets would come to an end; in the future a committee of the pigs would make decisions.  After this, Squealer, Napoleon's propagandist explains that Snowball was no better than a criminal.

Ironically, after Snowball has been gone for three weeks, the animals are told by Napoleon that the windmill will still be built.  Later, Squealer, the propagandist, explains that Snowball had really stolen the plans for the windmill from Napoleon.  The animals are rather dubious, but Squealer is convincing and the dogs growl threateningly, so the intimidated animals accept his words.

With the windmill half finished, the animals are extremely proud.  However, a terrible storm comes in the night; the next day the animals stare at the ruins of their windmill. When Napoleon looks at it, he again makes Snowball the scapegoat.  Snowball, who originally thought of the windmill and who has been run off for suggesting the creation of this windmill is now, ironically, accused of its destruction.

"Comrades,...do you know who is responsible for this?  Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill?  SNOWBALL!"

He tells the others that they will rebuild the windmill to demonstrate to Snowball that he cannot defeat them. This statement is doubly ironic since Napoleon was originally against the windmill and ran Snowball off for having designed it.  Then, he took credit for these very plans and has the animals build it. When the windmill is destroyed by a gale, Napoleon then blames Snowball.