BENGALURU: Written in the thick of the Western front's alliance with Lenin's Soviet Union in the 1940s, George Orwell's Animal Farm is an allegory that faced much resistance from publishers and much positivity from readers worldwide, even before it reached the stature of a classic that it eventually achieved.
Basically in this satire on the rule of few on the many, Snowball, the pig’s character perhaps stands out the most as convincing and the one whose inspiration is the least fictional.
Snowball is the leader, the revolutionary who starts out with an honest and a truly noble intention (don't they all!). However, like everything else in the world, the good is either corruptible or waylaid. And Orwell decides Snowball's fate as the latter.
Snowball and Napoleon, his fellow pig, lead a revolution to overthrow Jones — the human owner of the farm — with the welfare of the other animals in mind. Revolution done, Jones overthrown, Snowball went to the extent of simplifying the philosophy of Animalism and bringing it down to a primitive level of -- Four legs, good. Two legs, bad. Showing the essential leadership skill of winning confrontations, he even won the Battle of the Cowshed fought against ousted human adversary, Jones.
Describing the revolution, Orwell writes: "Snowball now gave the signal for charge. He himself dashed straight for Jones. Jones saw him coming, raised his gun and fired. The pellets scored bloody streaks along Snowball's back, and a sheep dropped dead. Without halting for a second, Snowball flung fifteen stone against Jones's legs."
With revolutionary intentions of bringing self-insulation to the farm, he was full of ideas of novel ways but alas, for mankind, or pig-kind here. His friend Napoleon turned foe and dealt Snowball a hard loss when he made him a scapegoat and successfully managed to sway all the animals in the farm against him.
However, the other animals fail to realise till the very end the manipulation effected by Napoleon, while Snowball's efforts to bring about a true revolution also drown out in his foe's din.
Orwell, therefore, successfully held up a mirror to society showing how even a good intention gets corrupted —just like socialism in the political frame of the early half of the 20th Century that led to the eventual disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Snowball, therefore, was correct in his assessment of the human race and his foresight about education because only knowledge and education about the evils that man (and animal) is capable of could have prepared the farm to not be so gullible in the hands of Napoleon.
But through his bravery, leadership and foresight, Snowball fails to eventually stand his ground— just like every other revolution that loses sight of its core values as peripheral aspirations blur the sight of the goal.