Animal Farm Literal Analysis
Table of Contents
Most revolutions throughout history took place due to the need for freedom and change through better governments. Unfortunately, even though most revolutions have successfully overthrown their governments and leadership, their situation has often turned out for the worst as they failed to achieve freedom, which prompted them to revolt in the first place. In his novella, The Animal Farm, George Orwell demonstrates how easy it is for a society to fall into totalitarianism shortly after achieving democracy. He examines how corrupt leaders take advantage of their position and stay in power by subduing the members of the society to avoid rebellions. These leaders can use force and violence to ensure loyalty and patriotism; however, this often leaves them vulnerable to revolts. Therefore, even though corrupt leaders can use violence and threats to force societies into submission, Orwell’s allegory illustrates how the same, if not better results, can be achieved through language and rhetoric.
Use of Language
Throughout the novella, there is the constant use of slogans, poems, and commandments by the pigs to keep the animals obedient and submissive. Napoleon had successfully used fear and violence to obtain power over the animal farm; however, this was not enough to maintain it as there was constant questioning of his rule. He, therefore, found ways of gaining the animal’s adoration and compliance. The animals’ conformity is further enhanced by the constant repetition of catchy and straightforward songs, slogans, and catchphrases such as “Four legs good, two legs bad.” (Orwell, 2021), which ensure that Napoleon’s rules are embodied. The effects and success of this tool of securing the loyalty of the animals are evident in Boxer, who never questions Napoleon’s judgment and decisions and instead reaffirms his faith by stating that Napoleon is always right.
There were attempts by the animals to protest Napoleon’s rule; however, they were halted by the fear of the dogs and the convincing of the pigs. Furthermore, Napoleon’s decision to trade with the neighbouring farms stirred unrest among the animals (Hassan et al., 2020). In this chapter, Orwell acknowledges the need for fear and adoration to create the perfect balance of total submission. The dogs’ growling immediately thwarted the animals’ attempt at rebellion. As a way of easing the tension, chants and recitals began as all animals joined in, repeating “‘Four legs good, two legs bad!'”(Orwell, 2021). It not only proves how deeply engraved these slogans were in the animals but also how they believed and were controlled by them. The dogs did cause fear among the animals as they feared getting killed; however, the chants had a long-term effect in subduing and controlling the animals.
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Use of Rhetoric
The greatest threat to Napoleon’s rule on the farm was a snowball. Snowball was full of great ideas, including building the windmill, and Napoleon was aware that this would gain him favour before the animals. It was, therefore, in his great interest to not only get rid of Snowball but also tarnish his name, which he did, to maintain all the glory (Kadhim & Professorb, 2020). The rhetoric in Napoleon’s rule is illustrated by Squealer, the convincing spokes-pig who helped spread lies about Snowball by claiming he supported Mr Jones. Napoleon took every opportunity he saw to blame Snowball for all the misfortunes they faced, and the animals bought into it. Napoleon and Squealer pained Snowball as an enemy of Animalism, justifying Napoleon’s takeover (Orwell, 2021). Squealer also secretly changes the commandments to favour the pigs and faces no consequence when caught by the animals as they are convinced that they are still equal.
Napoleon and the pigs used slogans, songs, and commandments to indoctrinate the animals to a point where they no longer questioned his ruling. The animals let a lot of injustice and questionable actions by the pigs slide not due to fear alone but their firm belief and faith in their leader. The slogans set quickly erased any form of doubt, which further reaffirmed their faith in Napoleon. Their best option, which seemed to be Snowball, was quickly denounced and wrongfully accused of crimes he did not commit to maintain their focus and loyalty to Napoleon (Kadhim & Professorb, 2020). But of course, Orwell does not only portray the use of language and rhetoric in a bad light throughout the novella. In the beginning, its power is showcased as it is used to move the animals into fighting for a better life on the farm, which they deserve. The success of their fight against Mr Jones can be attributed to the morale and encouragement brought by Old Major’s song, “The Beasts of England”. Orwell’s novella, however, clearly demonstrates the incredible power of language and rhetoric in the hands of corrupt leaders as a weapon for manipulation, control, and destruction.
- Hasan, M., Muhammad, L., & Bahasin, G. (2020). Abuse Practice Of Power In Orwell’s Animal Farm: A Historical Approach. Calls (Journal of Culture, Arts, Literature, and Linguistics), 6(1), 1-16.
- Kadhim Shimala, K., & Professorb, M. H. A. (2020). Power and Knowledge as Route to Social and Political Control as depicted in the novels Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm. Power, 12(8).
- Orwell, G. (2021). Animal farm. Oxford University Press.