The Role of Propaganda in Animal Farm

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Propaganda is the act of perverting information in order to influence the thoughts or actions of others. Propaganda is used in order to accomplish goals which cannot be attained in more honorable or more principled ways. In the novel, Animal Farm, George Orwell’s characters use various examples of propaganda in order to achieve and promote their own selfish desires. Animal Farm is an allegory using a farm as a metaphor of communist Russia under Stalin. The pigs in the novel, or Stalin’s supporters, use propaganda to persuade the other animals to revolt against Farmer Jones, who represents the Czar. Throughout the duration of the Russian Revolution, propaganda served the purpose of keeping Russia under Stalin’s control. After the revolution on the farm, the pigs exploit propaganda to obtain the power of the farm. The following will present examples of how propaganda is used, and what techniques are most prominent. Scapegoat is the foremost example of propaganda used in the book. Scapegoat is when all of the tribulations and disasters that transpire are attributed to an individual or group. Scapegoat is used frequently in alliance with quick fix – a fast and easy solution to all problems that are occurring in the present time. At the beginning of the novel, we find that when Old Major, the prize Middle White boar, attempts to illustrate his dream, he exclaims, “There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word – Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene … and overwork is abolished forever.” Thus, man serves as the scapegoat for all the animals’ woes. Instead of attempting to look within to find how to solve a problem, it is often easier to cast blame on another. Therefore, “Man” becomes the perfect scapegoat. Again, we find in the middle of the book that when Napoleon, the pig who represents Stalin, wanted to expand his control, he evicts Snowball, another pig who is meant to parallel Trotzky. Napoleon then scapegoats him by placing all the farm’s faults upon him. The simple, dense animals thus have no choice other than to rely on Napoleon even more out of their loathsomeness for Snowball. For example, after days of laborious and strenuous labor of constructing the windmill, a storm pulverizes it. While scrutinizing the ruins, Napoleon concludes, “Snowball! … Snowball has done this thing! … I now pronounce the death penalty upon him!” This statement illustrates how Napoleon exploits Snowball as a scapegoat. In another example, towards the end of the book, Napoleon again blames his own errors on a scapegoat – Frederick, the neighbor. Napoleon sold Frederick a pile of lumber, to which was paid for with forged counterfeit bank notes. “The news of what happened sped around the farm like wildfire. The bank notes were forgeries! Frederick had got the timber for nothing! Napoleon called the animals together and… pronounced the death sentence upon Frederick. When captured, he said, Frederick should be boiled alive.” Napoleon had the obligation to inspect the bank notes before he accepted them for the huge amount of lumber that he gave him. Here again Napoleon uses this manner of propaganda to avoid the scrutiny of the other animals and cast blame on someone else rather than to accept any responsibility on himself. Through all of these scapegoats used by Napoleon and the pigs, the simple farm animals were unable to realize how they were deceitfully misled, and did not comprehend what actually occurred. The next most common form of propaganda is red herring. This is a distraction used to get the audience to stray from the original topic of discussion in order to avoid from either dealing with or solving a problem. In the beginning of the novel, after the animal’s revolution, the cows produce five buckets of creamy milk which many animals desired. When they inquire of the milk’s usage, Napoleon responds, “‘Never mind the milk, comrades!’… ‘The harvest is more important.’”...
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