Course Hero. "Animal Farm Study Guide." Course Hero. 15 Sep. 2016. Web. 2 June 2020. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Animal-Farm/>.
Course Hero. (2016, September 15). Animal Farm Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 2, 2020, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Animal-Farm/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Animal Farm Study Guide." September 15, 2016. Accessed June 2, 2020. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Animal-Farm/.
Course Hero, "Animal Farm Study Guide," September 15, 2016, accessed June 2, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Animal-Farm/.
Course Hero’s video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 5 of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm.
Mollie repeatedly shirks her duties. One day Clover spots her talking to one of Pilkington's men near the farm's fence. Clover also believes Mollie allowed the man to pet her. Searching Mollie's stall, Clover finds a stash of sugar cubes and ribbons. Three days later Mollie disappears from the farm. The pigeons report seeing her wearing a ribbon and attached to a cart near a local pub. The pub's owner is said to have been stroking her nose and feeding her sugar.
On the farm the animals have given the pigs authority to make all decisions, although these determinations still have to be approved by a majority vote. Conflict between Snowball and Napoleon escalates as Snowball introduces more plans for the farm's improvement and forms a number of committees to implement these suggestions. Snowball's power comes from the popularity of his speeches during meetings, but Napoleon has more success raising support among the animals on a day-to-day basis.
The conflict between the two pigs comes to a head when Snowball introduces his plan to build a windmill on the farm. The windmill could help the animals with their labor by running machinery and providing electricity for the farm. Snowball sketches out complete designs and publicly proposes his plan. In spite of the apparent benefits, many of the animals are put off by the intense labor the project will require. The conflict leads to a vote between Snowball's plan to build a windmill and Napoleon's proposal to continue in their present manner. The two pigs also clash over the best way to defend the farm, with Snowball favoring a continued propaganda campaign and Napoleon supporting the expanded use of weapons.
Before the vote Snowball makes a detailed speech in favor of the windmill, outlining its many benefits. Napoleon is less persuasive with words. Instead, he unleashes nine dogs—the puppies he took from Jessie and Bluebell to raise and educate—and these dogs chase Snowball away from the farm. At the next meeting Squealer explains how getting rid of Snowball was done for the animals' own good because Snowball was a bad influence. He caps off his speech by asking if the animals want Jones back. Three weeks after Snowball's expulsion, Napoleon announces the windmill project will proceed.
Mollie's disappearance reflects a phenomenon disturbingly common in Soviet Russia and other totalitarian regimes. Clearly she is not falling into line with the party's ideas, which breeds suspicion about her intentions and activities. After Clover investigates her comrade and, presumably, reports her findings to the pigs, Mollie disappears. The animals never mention her again. Often during the years of Soviet rule, neighbors informed on neighbors for breaking with party protocol, and those neighbors disappeared, often into the gulag, the secret prison system. Similar scenarios played out under other totalitarian regimes as well, including Nazi Germany. It is possible that Mollie really did go live with the pub owner, but it is not impossible—especially considering Napoleon's show of force toward Snowball later in the chapter—that she met a much worse fate.
The power shift in the pigs' favor that has been building since the rebellion is now complete. The animals have already given the pigs the authority to make decisions, and the voting process seems to be nominal since many of the animals do not really understand the voting process anyway. Now that Napoleon has revealed his secret weapon, the nine dogs he has trained to attack, he can rule by force if necessary. Since the Battle of the Cowshed, Snowball is clearly the cleverer, or at least the more studious, of the two. That difference is even clearer in his proposal to build the windmill. Napoleon cannot hope to compete with Snowball's intellectual capabilities, so he uses force instead. The difference in their approaches appears in their ideas about the farm's defense as well, where Snowball favors the use of words to persuade others to the farm's cause while Napoleon favors defending the farm with force.
With Snowball out of the picture, Napoleon is free to claim Snowball's ideas for himself. When Napoleon announces the windmill project will go forward, he reveals what his real problem with Snowball was. Snowball's ideas are better than his own, so Napoleon saw him as a threat. This meeting also signals the end of voting on the farm, as the windmill goes forward without an actual vote from the animals. Without bringing the project back to the animals for ratification, Napoleon simply issues a decree. This fiat is how decisions will be made on the farm from now on, yet none of the animals seem to notice, or they are too intimidated by the dogs to protest.
The conflict between Napoleon and Snowball closely correlates with the conflict that emerged in the Soviet Union after the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924. Josef Stalin and Leon Trotsky were both ranking members of the Communist Party and the Soviet government under Lenin. Stalin was well known as a strong man. Trotsky, with an intellectual reputation, was a popular leader in the party. After Lenin died Trotsky openly opposed Stalin, which ultimately led to Trotsky's 1929 exile. In 1940 one of Stalin's men assassinated Trotsky in Mexico. Just as Snowball's removal from the farm solidifies Napoleon's control, Trotsky's departure from the Soviet Union ensured Stalin's control of the country by removing his most serious opposition.
Benjamin stays out of the voting and the debate about the windmill because he believes neither Snowball nor Napoleon will ultimately improve the animals' lives. His skepticism about the revolution is born from his idea that the revolution will not substantially change their lives in the long run. Here his cynicism deepens to show that even when presented with two different choices on an equal footing, he refuses to engage with the choice because he believes the alternatives are essentially no different. His thinking lives up to the donkey's reputation as a stubborn animal: in refusing to acknowledge the possibility of a better option, he ensures there will not be a better option.