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Animal Farm, the Significance of Squealer

Oct 08, 1999 1174 Words
The novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell, is an allegory portraying the dangers of a totalitarian government. It seeks to show how a society where all live completely equal has not been, and cannot be achieved. Orwell, through the use of the character Squealer, shows how propaganda can affect members of a communist society in a negative way. By drawing parallels to events in communist Russia, Orwell's Animal Farm illustrates how propaganda was used to control the Soviet people by deceiving them, threatening them and keeping them ignorant in an attempt to maintain order. The story uses simple language to explain and expose the corruption of communist Russia.<br><br>Throughout the story, Orwell uses Squealer to illustrate how propaganda persuaded and victimized Russian citizens. Squealer is a sly, crafty pig who is not only intelligent, but a manipulative speaker as well. His cunning is key to the deception of the other animals. In chapter three, Squealer deceives the animals of the farm for the first time. The animals find out that the milk and apples are given solely to the pigs, and Squealer is sent to explain the uneven distribution of farm resources. "'Comrades' he cried. 'You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege?'" (Orwell 42) He goes on to explain, " 'Milk and apples (this has been proved by science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers (42). Here, Squealer tries to convince the animals that it's for health reasons that they take the apples and milk, but he tries to persuade them in other ways as well. Squealer continues, " 'The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us.... It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples'"(42). Finally, he convinces them with fear. " 'Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back!'" (42) Here, Squealer frightens the animals into submission with the threat of the return of Mr. Jones, the abusive farmer that was driven out of the farm by the animals. Squealer is desperate to obtain the apples and milk and will stop at nothing to manipulate the other animals into believing that the pigs should be the sole recipients of this luxury. By masking their true intentions by misleading the animals, the pigs are soon able to acquire whatever they want with little resistance. Orwell uses Squealer to represent the Pravda, the Russian newspaper controlled by the government during Joseph Stalin's regime. Orwell points out the corruption of the Soviet authority in his criticism of the propaganda used to subdue opposition from the masses. Orwell also criticizes the monopoly of all Russian media by the government.<br><br>Squealer was the messenger of the government. It was his responsibility to inform the animals of the arrangements of labor distribution and any other relevant legislation or news. Orwell establishes that a government-run publication as the only source of public information will inevitably be biased. Napoleon, Orwell's representation of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, stops his association with the animals in chapter eight. "All orders were now issued through Squealer or one of the other pigs" (89). Squealer is the only source of data the farm animals have. The animals have no way to dispute or question any of the statistics he delivered. "There were times when it seemed to the animals that they worked longer hours and fed no better than they had in Jones's day. On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding a long strip of paper with his trotter, would read out to them lists of figures proving that the production of every class of foodstuff had increased by two hundred per cent, three hundred per cent, or five hundred per cent as the case might be" (89). Squealer is the liaison between the government and the public. Though the animals believe they are being fed the same amount as when Mr. Jones was in power, their government information source showed figures to the contrary that the populace couldn't dispute. Orwell was able to show that by keeping the public in ignorance, communism can be carried out without interference. In addition to being a corrupt media source, Orwell shows how the Pravda was used completely as a tool to glorify Joseph Stalin and Communism as well as slander capitalism and anyone that might oppose him. <br><br>Squealer is a pawn of the Animal Farm government. He is the device by which Napoleon communicates with the people. Squealer gives an account of government tidings that put Napoleon in a good light, regardless of the accuracy. An example of Napoleon's use of propaganda for personal gain is in the explanation of the expulsion of Snowball. Snowball is Orwell's representation of Leon Trotsky, Stalin's political nemesis in Russia. Snowball and Napoleon disagree over nearly all political issues as did Stalin and Trotsky. Trotsky was eventually exiled to Mexico just as Snowball is exiled from Animal Farm. Squealer is employed by Napoleon to slander his political enemy Snowball several times. In chapter five, Squealer explains the new arrangements now that snowball has been expelled and smoothes over the shock of his unexpected banishment. " 'Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball with his moonshine of windwills- Snowball, who as we now know, was no better than a criminal?'" (60) In Snowballs defense, one of the animals reminds Squealer of his bravery at the Battle of Cowshed, an ambush attack on the farm by Mr. Jones. Squealer responds sharply, " 'And as to the Battle of Cowshed, I believe the time will come when we shall find that Snowball's part in it was much exaggerated'" (60). Napoleon exercises Squealer's speaking talents to vanquish all doubt of the Snowball's treachery and to elevate himself to a higher tier of importance by exposing Snowball as a traitor. Orwell clearly finds fault with using a mass publication to deceive the public. He points out Stalin's unscrupulous use of propaganda for his own personal gain, thus criticizing the inadequacy of communism as an ideal society.<br><br>Animal Farm effectively displays the immorality of propaganda and the injustice of communism. By the shady use of false publications, Stalin was able coerce an entire nation into believing what he wanted. He exploited his position as dictator and used the Pravda for personal gain. Napoleon was able to enjoy the benefits of communism and the luxuries of leadership, which is contradictory to the idea of a true socialist society. In addition to his criticism of Stalin and Soviet leadership, Orwell condemns the entire Russian government as well, for the Pravda was controlled as much by the Russian parliament and communist party loyalists as Joseph Stalin. It is clear that Orwell abhors the use of propaganda and doesn't believe it is possible to create a utopian civilization.

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