You know what struck me? I thought Snowball was becoming the leader of the crew. I thought he was the most intelligent, he had the allegience of the rest of the animals, and he had the speaking ability that it seemed Napoleon did not have. I saw him risk himself and truly give himself to their cause for the sake of the cause, not so much for himself.
So initial reactions were surprise and wonder for me. He seemed to fit the description of the best leader possible in terms of skill, but as we watch societies around the world, we know that's not always how or why a leader is established. That's part of the power of this allegory, to show us the problems of how leaders are developed or chosen.
Upon first reading of George Orwell's Animal Farm (many years ago), I was probably unhappy with the expulsion of Snowball from the community. His intelligence, fair nature, and awareness to plan for the future certainly made him a preferable choice to Napoleon as leader of the animals. However, with knowledge of Russian history and the understanding that the two main characters were based on Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky, it does not come as a surprise. Trotsky was a threat to Stalin, and he, too, was exiled from his native land. Stalin, like Napoleon (and the French dictator for whom the top pig was named), took advantage of the ouster and rose to great power.
To me, this expulsion was inevitable, but it also seemed so unfair. It made me mad at Napoleon, Squealer, and their gang.
Snowball was a real hero of the animals. He had been so important in getting the farm free from the rule of Farmer Jones. He had fought so bravely at the Battle of the Cowshed and he has their major "military" leader.
For him to get thrown out of the farm seems totally unfair. It just shows how power hungry Napoleon is and how much he can't stand to have someone else seem important.