Snowball is Napoleon's political rival in the first half of the story.
He is a pig, described as “...a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive…” (p. 9). He creates the political philosophy of Animalism along with Squealer and Napoleon and plays a significant role in the early period of Animal Farm.
Unlike Napoleon, Snowball seems eager to improve the lives and minds of the other animals on the farm. He organises a number of ambitious projects, such as the attempts to teach the animals to read and write (p. 20). He also earnestly wants them to understand the principles of Animalism, so they are aware of the important Rebellion they are to take part in. We see this in his early discussion with Mollie: “ ‘Comrade,’ said Snowball, ‘those ribbons that you are so devoted to are the badge of slavery. Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than ribbons?’ ” (p. 10).
His ambition on the animals’ behalf can also be seen in his plans for the windmill, since he genuinely seems to believe that it will improve the living conditions of all the animals:
…fantastic machines that would do their work for them while they grazed at their ease in the fie...