Animal Farm Language as a Tool of Control Essay

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Animal Farm Critical Essay

Animal Farm is a short novel, published in 1945 and written by George Orwell. The novel tells the story of a group of farm animals who, in an attempt to create an idealistic state, overthrow their human master. However, their leaders, the pigs, progressively become more corrupt and the other animals realise that their goal, to establish a utopia, has become a mere, receding whisper. The pigs use verbal and semantic techniques to control and manipulate their naïve minions, including through the use of persuasive words, the alteration of rules and use of hymns and poems.

In the novella, propaganda is used to manipulate the other animals on the farm. Squealer, the silver-tongued propagandist, exploits the power of language in an effort to defend Napoleon’s wicked actions. Some techniques used by Napoleon and Squealer to two-time the proletariat comprise the use of drastically simplifying language into memorable verses, to limit the terms of debate. An example of this is when the sheep are taught by him to bleat ‘four legs good, two legs better’ (pg. 89, Chapter 10).This is an ironic twist to the original maxim ‘four legs good, two legs bad’ (pg. 22, Chapter 3) quoted by the sheep, which was used to unify the animals against the human enemy. Squealer also chooses to overcomplicate language, to strike intimidation and confusion among the uneducated animals. Where he says to the birds, ‘a bird’s wing is an organ of propulsion and not of manipulation’, the birds are confused as to what Squealer means here. On top of these language techniques, Squealer also employs perplexing false statistics, many lies and a boasting vocabulary, to bring about a sense of hopelessness and self-doubt within the other animals. Deceptive practices are used tenfold by Squealer in his speeches to the other animals, and in the novel we are told of his misleading abilities. We are told that he can ‘turn black into white’ and that he has a ‘shrill voice’ and...
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