The Abuse of Languagein Animal Farm:
By: Karwan Ӧzkürt
Animal Farmis a great work by Orwell that includes many things that are real in life. In his book, Bloom says that, “sixty years have passed debating over the ultimate political meaning of Animal Farm, but it owes partly to its use of propaganda” (Bloom, 2007:53). The corruptions and distortions of language which helped Napoleon to have a dictatorial government in Animal Farm became a particular concern of Orwell’s last years. In his essay, Politics and English Language (1946), he recognized that “if thought corrupts language, language can corrupt thought” (Sanders, 1999:571). Propaganda is one of the ways to abuse language and it is powerful enough to change the most visible truths. It can reshape the truth too. This distortion of language is done very easily in the novel by pigs like Squealer. Pigs are the only literate animals on the farm. Their cleverness helps them to deceive other animals that are not literate very easily. Pigs reject to educate other animals and they let them stay illiterate, so there is nothing to prevent pigs from abusing language. (Bloom, 2006: 23) The Abuse of Language and Squealer
Usually all of the tyrants in the world have their sycophants, and Squealer is Napoleon’s. Squealer is a clever and intelligent pig who is described in the novel as a pig who “could turn the black into the white” (Orwell. 2009: 9) and also who “had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive (Ibid, 9) while explaining his rhetorical answers to the questions that other animals ask when they suspect something or see something unusual in the farm. In the novel, he serves as Napoleon’s mouthpiece and the Minister of Propaganda. Whenever animals question one of Napoleon’s actions, regardless to how selfish and severe it may seem, Squealer succeeds in convincing the animals that Napoleon is only acting in their best interests and that their leader, Napoleon, himself made great sacrifices for Animal Farm. (Moran, 2000:46) When the pigs decide that the milk and the wind-fallen apples should be for them and that they needed to take them, other animals don’t agree. Squealer goes to them and addresses them: “Comrades!” he cried. “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apple (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contains substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brain-workers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades,” cried Squealer almost pleadingly skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, “surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones back?”(Orwell, 2009: 21) Here, Squealer reveals his rhetorical skill and capability to “skip from side to side” to persuade animals that what pigs are doing is nothing but a sacrifice. Referring to science and lying that pigs dislike the apples and the milk, Squealer manages a great public-relations stunt by picturing pigs as near-martyrs who never think of themselves but other animals. His speech makes the animals thinks that pigs are really selfless, not selfish. Squealer’s rhetorical question, “Surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones back?” is used here for the first time but he will use it many times to make the animals believe that their situation now is better than the time when Jones was their master, despite all the discontentment they may feel. (Moran, 2000: 23-24) Napoleon opposes the idea of building a windmill at first but now he...
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