What "deal" is Napoleon contemplating? What does this symbolize?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Seven of Animal Farm, Napoleon contemplates a deal to sell a pile of seasoned timber to one of the neighbouring humans. Both Frederick and Pilkington want to buy it but Napoleon cannot decide who to sell to. By the next chapter, however, Napoleon declares that he will sell the timber to Pilkington. While the animals dislike Napoleon's dealings with humans, they "greatly" prefer Pilkington to Frederick, a man who is alleged to have committed a number of atrocities to the animals on his farm, including flogging a horse to death and throwing one of his dogs in a furnace. But at the last minute, Napoleon has a change of heart:

They (the animals) were struck dumb with surprise when Napoleon announced that he had sold the pile of timber to Frederick.

The purpose of this deal is then revealed:

By seeming to be friendly with Pilkington he had forced Frederick to raise his price by twelve pounds.

This deal is not only symbolic of Napoleon's greed but also of some real events from history. In August 1939, for example, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression pact in which they promised not to take any military action each other for a period of ten years. For Hitler, however, this pact was nothing more than a ruse designed to lull Stalin into a false sense of security because, less than two years later, the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union.

Use the reference links provided to find out more.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm guessing your question concerns Napoleon's plans to sell the pile of timber in chapters 7-9 of Animal Farm. Two different farmers, Frederick and Pilkington, want to buy the wood. Napoleon, trying to get the most he can out of the deal, keeps playing one against the other. He uses a propaganda campaign of having the pigeons fly over each farm and spread rumors, at one time favoring or slandering whichever farmer Napoleon thinks is offering the better deal. He eventually sells the wood the Frederick, but his scheme backfires when Frederick pays him in conterfeit money.

As for what this episode might symbolize, you will find an excellent analysis of chapter 8 in the eNotes study guide. Follow the link pasted below.