Old Major’s Speech in George Orwell's Animal Farm

Topics: Rhetoric, Animal Farm, George Orwell Pages: 3 (1004 words) Published: January 30, 2013
George Orwell, Animal Farm - “Old Major’s Speech”

1. Who is Old Major? Why does his address the animals?

In the story Old Major is a meritorious hog, thanks to all the prizes he got on several exhibitions other animals hold him in high esteem, as he is clever, smart and calm. His age gives him a supremacy in experience over his companions. He calls a meeting to discuss a strange dream he had and as a kind of authority elucidates how unfairly, cruelly and sorely all animals are treated by the human beings. Old Major was the first one to call them by the name “comrades” and this act of dubbing was in fact the beginning of a craving for freedom and sowing the grain of rebellion. To take the notion further, Old Major addresses the animals because he acts with some noble inducements to show them the trust in solidarity and strong belief in prosperous future if they federate. As a result, the hog might be perceived as a representation of a philosopher propagating the value of social justice, even naïve, however still hoping to inspire the people to aim for progress and put an end to being set in a treadmill.

2. One of the stylistic devices Orwell uses in the speech is rhetorical questions. Access Six Minutes. Speaking and Presentation Skills: http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/rhetorical-questions/ read A.Dlugan's "How many ways can you use rhetorical questions in your speech?" and then explain what purpose rhetorical questions serve in the Old Major's speech:

To start with, Old Major employs a series of rhetorical questions to persuade the animals to consider, really think about what he is talking about and allows them to relate to it easier. The protagonist structures his speech with two rhetorical questions together or in parallel close to each other to emphasize the essence of them. Secondly, the hog wants to influence his receivers and to be considered as a credible, persona, as the animals will have no doubt that he would ever tell...
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