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Power Through Propaganda in Animal Farm

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1185 words Published: 4th Sep 2017

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From the song "Beasts of England" to the commandments and their gradual changes, the main source of power throughout Animal Farm results from language and propaganda. Propaganda is information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view Because of Squealer's use of this mechanism, and the manipulation of other characters, the reality for Animal Farm is shaped by the words of the powerful. Although one could say that visuals are the strongest type of propaganda, Words are much more powerful. By demonstrating how easily convinced the animals of the farm are by powerful speech or strong words, Orwell shows how people can fall victim and believe lies because of strong persuasive language or the power of words, without understanding the true intentions behind the propaganda they are fed.

One could say that the power of words is not the most influential type of propaganda. One could argue that pictures are more influential than words, because of imagery and visuals. But that is not the case.

One example of the way that words are the most influential type of propaganda is the song, "Beasts of England". "Beasts of England" Unifies the animals at the beginning of the story. The animals are drawn to words that give them a common enemy and unite them. The song "Beasts of England" Uses the power of speech to make the animals feel as if they are all united. Even if they've never gotten along before. "Tyrant Man shall be o'erthrown, And the fruitful fields of England shall be trod by beasts alone...Bright will shine the fields of England, Purrer shall its waters be..." (Orwell, George). These lyrics make the animals feel as if they are united, and better off without man. Calling men tyrants and evil, while saying that the world will be a better place when men are gone, definitely affects how the animals singing this song will think.

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Another example of how strong words can be is Old Major's speech. "Old Major uses a Hobbesian figure when he declares: 'Let us face it, our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.' And he also speaks in Marxist terms when he declares that Man is the problem. ``Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labor would be our own. Almost overnight we could be rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades. Rebellion!'(Robb, Paul H.)" Old Major uses propaganda when convincing animals that they should all be against man. This type of propaganda is called "pinpointing the enemy". This type of propaganda is used extremely often during wartime, and also in political campaigns and debates. This is an attempt to simplify a complex situation by presenting one specific group or person as the enemy. Old Major's words This type of propaganda is shown in the commandments of animalism.

Another way the animals are persuaded by words are the commandments and their changes. The Commandments were made with the intention to unite all animals in mutual equality while identifying the human race as the only significant enemy. The rules made were meant to make the animals feel as if they were in a new, organized political Utopia. However, the words used to sway the animals were not going to stay equal for all. "Eventually, the pigs establish themselves as leaders over the other animals. These masses are cleverly displayed through Squealer's doubletalk and kept content, initially, by their share in the benefits that follow from increased labor (Laurie Lanzen Harris)". Squealer is a pig on Animal Farm. Squealer spins stories into showing how great napoleon is and showing everyone how he can do nothing wrong, or how everything he does is for the greater good of the animals, when it's really for his personal gain or just for the pigs. One example is when Squealer commented on The war between the three farms. ."...Russia entered the European war on the side of the Allies (culminating in victory for the Soviet Union, as Squealer claims for Animal Farm, though the only victory was in gaining back what they had before), increasing attempts were made by Stalin to achieve some level of entente, or agreement, with the other Allied nations. A series of meetings were held between the leaders of the various nations, and one particular conference resulted in the protracted Cold War. This conference is represented in the novel by the meeting between the pigs and the humans at the end, at which a quarrel breaks out over cheating at cards (Fitzpatrick, Kathleen)." Squealer tells the animals that they had won the war. However, they had not really "won" anything. The animals do not get mad, however, because squealer strayed them from the truth. He made the animals believe that they had won a war that was unnecessary and unhelpful. One story that squealer drastically changes is boxer's death.

All the animals were working on a windmill. However, while working, boxer gets injured. , and all the animals believe Squealer's lies. Especially at Boxer's betrayal and tragic death, as well as soon after each event Squealer appears, making the animals feel as if the death was excusable, constructing his versions of events, and explaining that what happened was justified, or what they just say was not what really occurred. "Out of context the idea that a pig on hind legs, wiping "hot" tears from his eyes in memory of a "departed" friend, is absurd. But...it assumes a very sinister note. Orwell's very silence would seem to carry much weight here, it is in such marked contrast to the agitation in the novel" (Elbarbary, Samir). However, although the speech is now negative toward the rest of the animals, (representing the common people), the way Squealer adapts the stories of Boxer's death so the animals are persuaded to think that it's ok. This has been done with the power of words, therefore it is the strongest type of propaganda.

In conclusion, The animals in Animal Farm are persuaded by the most influential type of propaganda, the power of words. This is because of squealer's persuasion of the animals, the changing of the commandments, and the song "Beasts of England". Some may say that imagery is the most influential type of propaganda, but that is not true. The animals in Animal Farm are the most persuaded by the power of words.

Works Cited

Robb, Paul H. "Animal Farm: Overview." Reference Guide to English Literature, edited by D. L. Kirkpatrick, 2nd ed., St. James Press, 1991. Literature Resource Center

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. "An overview of Animal Farm." Literature Resource Center, Gale, 2016. Literature Resource Center

Elbarbary, Samir. "Language as Theme in Animal Farm." Short Story Criticism, edited by Joseph Palmisano, vol. 68, Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center


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