What role does the written word play in Animal Farm?
The commandments are a key example of written word; to understand this we must first go back to the origins of the commandments, The Old Major’s speech. When Old Major made this speech he had mentioned what animals should and shouldn’t do, and of course this made the seven commandments after the revolution.
As we know the commandments make up the novel, they provide a means in which the animals must abide by, they represent authority and power since all animals looked to this for guidance, in the same way Muslims look towards the Quran and the Christians look towards the Bible. However as the novel progresses we are introduced to a new authority, the pigs. The pigs, being the most intelligent animals on the farm, use their intelligence to slowly change the commandments in order to create a society in which they are the sole leaders. In the novel the actual power doesn’t come from the pigs giving ideas, it comes from them changing the commandments in which all the animals confide in, since the animals essentially grew up with these commandments, they believe everything the commandments say even though most of them can’t read it, so the pigs take advantage of this and slowly change the commandments and force the animals into accepting what they want them to think and believe. Furthermore Squealer is the main culprit in the manipulation of the commandments; he is caught in the act when he falls over spills a bucket of white paint, and however no one says anything about it, this shows the extent of his power and how much he can abuse it.
Squealer represents propaganda; hence the continuous changes in the rules and regulations of Animal Farm.
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