La vie de Galilée

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Bertolt Brecht

Based on Leon Trotsky, Snowball is one of the two pigs who emerge as leaders of the animals after Old Major’s death. His similarity to Trotsky is both physical and mental; for example, the name Snowball evokes an image of whiteness, and Trotsky was known for his shock of white hair. Snowball helps teach the animals Animalism. Together with Napoleon, Snowball begins planning for the Rebellion, though he seems to believe that any type of revolt would happen in the distant future. While Napoleon is revealed to have used Animalism for his own personal gain, there is no indication that Snowball does not wholeheartedly believe in the principles. However, Snowball is not simply a reincarnation of Old Major. While Old Major did a great job of outlining those principles that should support Animalism, he did not take any steps to describe how Animalism would function in practice. Snowball is very practical about taking Old Major’s vision and turning those ideals into reality for the animals. For example, he organizes the animals into committees to help plan the Rebellion, and continues engaging and organizing the animals after the Rebellion. He institutes reading and writing classes for all of the animals because of his belief that ignorance and lack of education allowed the animals to be oppressed by man. Most notably, he advocates on behalf of the construction of a windmill—not to make the farm more profitable, which is eventually what the windmill does for the farm, but to make it more efficient for the animals.

Snowball is known as a powerful orator, which places him in contrast with Napoleon. Napoleon is a successful speaker in small groups, where he is able to persuade people that his way is the right way. Snowball, in contrast, is a successful speaker in large groups. He demonstrates both charisma and substance in his speech. He has clearly embraced Old Major’s philosophy and understands the implications of that philosophy.

Snowball is also willing to take decisive action in order to bring about the Rebellion. At the Battle of Cowshed, Snowball actively participates in the animals’ rebellion against the humans. However, his willingness to act and talk in ways that will bring about the Rebellion are not viewed positively by the animals. Instead, they view Snowball as shallow compared to Napoleon, which makes it easy for Napoleon to begin a character assassination campaign against Snowball.

Naiveté is probably Snowball’s most significant flaw, and it is the one that results in his eventual exile from Animal Farm. Snowball embraces the idea that all men are bad and all animals are good; he is unprepared for the possibility that he will be betrayed by an animal. In addition, while he believes that all animals are good, he also seems to believe in the implied superiority of the pigs. Moreover, because Snowball is logical, he seems to rely on the fact that the other animals will listen to logical arguments and use logic in arguments. Even when Snowball is unable to convince the other animals to vote in his favor, Snowball does not consider taking action against Napoleon. As a result, he is not prepared for Napoleon to act against him, much less use violence against him.

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