Animal Farm

Snowball Character Analysis

At first, a friend and companion of Napoleon’s. Together, Snowball and Napoleon develop the theory of Animalism from the ideas of Old Major’s speech, and later they distill these ideas down into the Seven Commandments. Snowball is responsible for generating the maxim “four legs good, two legs bad,” which he teaches to the sheep and other less intelligent animals in order to give them some version of the Seven Commandments to repeat. Despite being the generator of this maxim, in the months after, the phrase often gets used against Snowball during Sunday meetings, as the sheep often start bleating the maxim out of the blue during Snowball’s speeches. It’s implied that these interruptions are Napoleon’s work, as the two pigs develop an intense rivalry in the months after the rebellion. Snowball is somewhat of an idealistic individual; he proposes that the farm animals build a windmill in order to generate electricity, which he suggests will ultimately lead to a three-day workweek. He also comes up with a variety of other schemes and groups aimed at improving the animals’ lives and education status, and he also promotes spreading news of the rebellion far and wide. Despite his idealism, however, Snowball still shows himself to be willing to exploit the other animals for his own gain, as when he says nothing about taking the milk and apples for the pigs only. On the day that the animals vote to build the windmill, Napoleon exiles Snowball by setting his attack dogs on him. After this, Snowball disappears as a character, but Napoleon continues to invoke Snowball as a nefarious figure who conspires against Animal Farm, is in league with humans, and is intent on messing everything up on the farm. Through this, Napoleon discredits Snowball’s bravery and actions in the Battle of the Cowshed and makes it so no animal can feel any affinity for Snowball. Snowball symbolizes Trotsky, a rival of Stalin exiled from Russia and assassinated on Stalin’s orders in Mexico in 1940.

Snowball Quotes in Animal Farm

The Animal Farm quotes below are all either spoken by Snowball or refer to Snowball. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of Animal Farm published in 1996.
Chapter 2  Quotes

THE SEVEN COMMANDMENTS
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

Related Characters: Napoleon, Snowball, Old Major
Page Number: 24-25
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 3 Quotes

“Four legs good, two legs bad.”

Related Characters: The Sheep (speaker), Snowball
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
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“Comrades!” he cried. “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.”

Related Characters: Squealer (speaker), Napoleon, Snowball
Page Number: 35-36
Explanation and Analysis:
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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: Napoleon, Snowball, The Dogs
Related Symbols: Character Names, The Windmill
Page Number: 52-53
Explanation and Analysis:
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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:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

If a window was broken or a drain was blocked up, someone was certain to say that Snowball had come in the night and done it, and when the key of the store-shed was lost, the whole farm was convinced that Snowball had thrown it down the well. Curiously enough, they went on believing this even after the mislaid key was found under a sack of meal.

Related Characters: Snowball, Squealer
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
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Snowball Character Timeline in Animal Farm

The timeline below shows where the character Snowball appears in Animal Farm. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...the more intelligent animals on Manor Farm, specifically the pigs. Two young boars, Napoleon and Snowball, see that they must prepare for the promised rebellion. With a small fat pig named... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...after the rebellion and if she’ll still be able to wear ribbons in her mane. Snowball patiently tries to impress upon her that she doesn’t need sugar and that the ribbons... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...throw bits, dog chains, and knives down the well, and they burn halters and whips. Snowball even throws the horses’ mane and tail ribbons into the fire, insisting that ribbons are... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...upon the farm. They inspect every building and pasture, ending with the farmhouse. Napoleon and Snowball lead the animals into the house for a tour. They’re in awe of the luxury... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...explain that they’ve come up with the Seven Commandments, which convey the ideals of Animalism. Snowball climbs a ladder and paints the rules on the side of the barn. They read... (full context)
Chapter 3
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...there’s no work on Sundays. After a late breakfast, the animals hoist a flag that Snowball painted with a white hoof and horn on a green field. The animals then attend... (full context)
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...the harness room as their headquarters and study books from the farmhouse in the evenings. Snowball organizes committees such as the Egg Production Committee for the hens and the Whiter Wool... (full context)
Language as Power Theme Icon
...as the sheep, learn only the letter A and struggle to memorize the Seven Commandments. Snowball reduces them to the maxim “Four legs good, two legs bad.” At first, this goes... (full context)
Chapter 4
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
By late summer, half of England knows about Animal Farm. Snowball and Napoleon send out pigeons to spread the word to other animals and teach them... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...Pinchfield are coming up the driveway to retake the farm. Mr. Jones has a gun. Snowball is prepared and sends animals to their posts. First, the pigeons and geese dive bomb... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
...animals. In the yard, however, the horses, cows, and pigs charge. Mr. Jones shoots at Snowball, but only grazes his back. Snowball flattens Mr. Jones as Boxer strikes at men with... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...sing “Beasts of England,” and they bury the one sheep who died in the battle. Snowball gives a speech emphasizing that animals must be willing to die for Animal Farm, and... (full context)
Chapter 5
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...still get to ratify the pigs’ decisions, however. The system would be perfect, except that Snowball and Napoleon disagree on every point. Snowball is better at speaking and convincing animals at... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Snowball speaks often about farming theory and develops complicated schemes. Napoleon comes up with no ideas... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
Snowball is upfront that building the windmill will be difficult. They’ll have to carry stone, build... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
...the Cowshed has spread. Napoleon insists they must train the animals to use firearms, while Snowball proposes they send out more pigeons to stir up revolution elsewhere. The other animals can’t... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
Snowball finishes his plans for the windmill and brings it to a vote at the Sunday... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...other animals might make the wrong decisions. Squealer asks where they’d be if they’d followed Snowball, but someone points out that Snowball fought bravely at the Battle of the Cowshed. Squealer... (full context)
Chapter 6
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...engage in trade or use money, but that this was just a rumor started by Snowball. This is comforting for the animals to hear. (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...rushes to the site and snuffles around sharply. He suddenly stops and quietly says that Snowball came in at night and destroyed the windmill. Napoleon sentences Snowball to death and announces... (full context)
Chapter 7
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...spitefully pretend that the windmill fell because the walls were too thin, not because of Snowball. The animals know better, but they decide to build three-foot-thick walls just in case. Snow... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Rumors circulate that Snowball is hiding at Foxwood or Pinchfield, while Napoleon’s relationships with both farms improve. Animal Farm... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
Napoleon announces an investigation into Snowball’s activities. He and his dogs tour the farm, finding evidence of Snowball’s scent everywhere. This... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...questions this and shares his recollection of events, but Squealer insists he’s mistaken—they have, in Snowball’s own writing (which Boxer unfortunately cannot read) that Snowball was going to give them all... (full context)
Class Warfare Theme Icon
...Sunday meetings, and they confess crimes without hesitation. They say that they’ve been working with Snowball and planned to help him give Animal Farm to Mr. Frederick. They also corroborate that... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Napoleon asks who else has something to confess. Three hens confess that in a dream, Snowball told them to disobey Napoleon. A goose confesses to stealing corn and a sheep confesses... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...that he wants to attack Animal Farm and destroy the windmill. Pinchfield supposedly still houses Snowball too, and in the summer, three hens confess that Snowball inspired them to try to... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...Frederick.” Later in the summer, the animals discover that with the help of a goose, Snowball mixed the wheat and corn seeds with weeds. The goose commits suicide, and the animals... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...“Death to Pilkington,” says the rumors about Mr. Frederick’s cruelty are untrue, and insists that Snowball is living in luxury at Foxwood. The pigs are thrilled, as Napoleon’s dealings made Mr.... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
...is the first to emerge at nine a.m. He announces that Napoleon is dying because Snowball poisoned his food. Squealer says that Napoleon’s final pronouncement that drinking alcohol is punishable by... (full context)
Chapter 9
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...Napoleon is the only candidate and wins the election unanimously. He uncovers more documents detailing Snowball’s dealings with Mr. Jones, including some saying that Snowball led the human forces and shouted,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...windmill is done, but they use it for milling profitable corn, not for electricity as Snowball had proposed. Napoleon insists that Animalism is about working hard and living frugally, not about... (full context)