Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 574
Extended Snowball Character Analysis
Snowball is a boar on Manor Farm who helps in the revolt against Mr. Jones and in leading the farm animals afterwards. He is vivacious, quick, and inventive. Although he possesses these qualities, Snowball has less “depth of character” than Napoleon. In the story's allegory of the Russian Revolution, Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, who was in power alongside Joseph Stalin after Vladimir Lenin passed away. Snowball helps to expand on Old Major’s teachings alongside Squealer and Napoleon. They write seven commandments, which Snowball paints on the barn.
Snowball finds green fabric for a flag and paints the symbol of a hoof and horn onto it—similar to the Soviet Union's hammer and sickle. Snowball says the flag represents the community of animals that will arise after all humans are overthrown. Snowball here shows enthusiasm for how the power of symbolism and ritual gives his followers a sense of comfort. Early on, voting and debates only take place among the pigs—and especially between Snowball and Napoleon. Snowball and Napoleon tend to disagree over everything. However, it is Snowball that works to continue the somewhat democratic meetings with the animals.
Snowball is responsible for instituting many committees. He creates committees for the hens and the cows and even tries to create a “re-education” committee to tame wild animals. While taming wild animals fails, Snowball’s idea of teaching all animals to read and write proves successful and popular. Yet, Snowball often shows a disconnect between himself and the other animals. His explanations are long winded, and many of the other animals have a hard time understanding him.
Despite his difficulties connecting, it is thanks to Snowball that the other animals are given an education. It is also Snowball who reads through Mr. Jones’s books to glean new ideas for the farm. When the humans attack the farm, Snowball leads a great tactical defense against the humans. He fights bravely in what becomes known as “The Battle of the Cowshed.”
The animals begin to create factions devoted to following Snowball or Napoleon. Snowball is able to inspire through great and rousing speeches, whereas Napoleon creates his own following in the background. Unlike Napoleon, Snowball is full of ideas to improve the farm. Napoleon and Snowball finally come to a head over the idea of building a windmill. Snowball believes that an electricity-generating windmill would improve the lives of the animals. However, Napoleon claims that creating the windmill would only cause the animals to starve. The animals on Snowball's side adopt the slogan, “Vote for Snowball and the Three-Day Week”; Napoleon's side adopts “Vote for Napoleon and the Full Manger.”
When the windmill comes to a vote, Snowball’s eloquent speech and fantastical ideas clearly sway the animals. Napoleon, who secretly has trained several dogs for himself, sets them on Snowball and runs him off the farm. This event represents Leon Trotsky’s forced exile from the Soviet Union. After Snowball is exiled, Napoleon begins to spread hateful rhetoric about him. Snowball is then painted as a criminal and scapegoat; he is made responsible for all the hardship and mishaps on the farm. The animals accept this rhetoric, even when blaming Snowball is illogical. Later, Snowball is even blamed for selling himself to the farmers and for being in league with Mr. Jones the entire time. Snowball and his idealistic visions for Animal Farm eventually fall out of the animals’ memories.