Animal Farm

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The Windmill Symbol Icon
The windmill represents the massive infrastructure constructions projects and modernization initiatives that Soviet leaders instituted immediately after the Russian Revolution. In Animal Farm, the windmill also comes to symbolize the pigs' totalitarian triumph: the other animals work to build the windmill thinking it will benefit everyone, and even after it benefits only the pigs the animals continue to believe that it benefits all the animals.

The Windmill Quotes in Animal Farm

The Animal Farm quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Windmill. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet Classics edition of Animal Farm published in 1996.
Chapter 5 Quotes
At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws.
Related Characters: Snowball, The Dogs
Related Symbols: The Windmill
Page Number: 52-53
Explanation and Analysis:

After the animals agree to pursue Snowball’s plan for the Windmill, Napoleon unleashes his dog minions. They successfully oust Snowball and allow Napoleon to implement a tyrannical regime over the other animals.

The dogs, here, represent the use of military force by political leaders to dispose of each other. Napoleon has reared the dogs (i.e. built up a secret military) in case such an instance arrives, but he delays unleashing them until the population of animals moves against his own wishes. Orwell then points out how military force is harnessed in direct opposition to democratic or socialist principles of equality. It becomes a way for leaders with more military power but less social appeal to impose their whims on the world. The specific historical parallel, here, is how in the USSR Stalin (represented by Napoleon) used force to overcome Trotsky (Snowball) after the two disagreed on the future of the country. Orwell stresses the irony of this action by showing just how clearly Napoleon’s actions—attacking another animal—violate the rules of Animalism.

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Chapter 6 Quotes
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!
Related Characters: Napoleon (speaker), Snowball
Related Symbols: The Windmill
Page Number: 69-70
Explanation and Analysis:

After the half-finished windmill is destroyed by a storm, Napoleon investigates the rubble. He suddenly concludes, here, that Snowball destroyed it in an act of political subterfuge.

By blaming Snowball, Napoleon is able to protect his own reputation and motivate the animals to work ever-harder at rebuilding the windmill. Whereas his authority could have potentially been challenged for having recommended bad practices, attributing the destruction to Snowball renders himself both immune to criticism and necessary for the future defense of his followers. Napoleon can use the shadowy figure of "Snowball" to effectively instill fear into the animal populace.

This tactic notably parallels the way the animals motivated their revolution in the first place: by blaming a single enemy, the humans, for all their hardships. Orwell thus points out how any given political regime will gather support by selecting such an adversary—whether it be false or accurate—and organizing popular support against that foe. Developing a culture of fear around an unseen enemy allows a group to justify its tactics and explain away any negative events as the result of those enemies’ actions.

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The Windmill Symbol Timeline in Animal Farm

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Windmill appears in Animal Farm. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...The most intense point of disagreement between the two is Snowball's plan to build a windmill. He says the windmill will produce electric power to warm stalls and run electrical tools... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
Snowball finally finishes his plans for the windmill. The next Sunday the animals gather to vote. Snowball speaks passionately about the paradise the... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Three weeks later, Napoleon announces that they'll build the windmill after all. Squealer explains: Napoleon opposed the windmill just to get rid of Snowball, who... (full context)
Chapter 6
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
To build the windmill and keep the farm running at the same time, the animals have to work like... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...even eggs with its neighbors, not for commercial uses, but for the benefit of the windmill. The animals are uneasy because they had agreed never to use money. Napoleon hires a... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...farm had to sell some food for money, the winter promises to be bad. The windmill is now half-finished, which pleases everyone (except Benjamin). (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
One night in November, a terrible storm knocks down the windmill. The animals are horrified. Napoleon sniffs around the rubble. He looks worried and his tail... (full context)
Chapter 7
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
Despite the hard, bitter winter, the animals work to rebuild the windmill, which the humans claim fell because of its thin walls. Though the pigs say the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The animals work harder than ever to rebuild the windmill with walls twice as thick. Sometimes they feel like they're working harder and getting less... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
The animals joyfully finish the windmill in autumn. But Animal Farm still lacks the machinery to produce electricity, and two days... (full context)
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...the animals back into the barn. The animals watch as the men blow up the windmill. The sight drives the animals into a rage, and they attack. Many animals die, and... (full context)
Chapter 9
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
One day, while working on the new windmill, Boxer's lung fails and he falls, no longer able to work. Squealer announces that Napoleon... (full context)
Chapter 10
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...some of the pigs remember the revolution. Animal Farm is more prosperous than ever. The windmill is finished, though instead of producing electricity it's used to mill flour, and brings in... (full context)