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Essays On Animal Farm Propaganda

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Animalism, Fear And Propaganda In Animal Farm - With A Free Essay Review

PROMPT: How Does Napoleon Use Animalism, Fear And Propaganda To Control The Animals On Animal Farm?

Animal Farm, a political allegory written by George Orwell in 1945 is a masterpiece which gives us a timeless look at the various tyrannical and dictatorial societies. The book hints at the Russian Revolution of 1917 and past and future totalitarian governments. Just like many of us know from World War II, propaganda has a big role in dictatorial societies, so does Fear, and Philosophy. These three concepts are very well explored by Eric Arthur Blair in his novella Animal Farm. Napoleon’s use of the nine dogs as a fear creating body is just one example of how fear is used to bring the animals under his supremacy. There are numerous other occasions in the book when either Napoleon himself or his spokesperson Squealer would use one of these techniques to either persuade the large number of animals or force upon them a set of ideas. Now, one by one, I am going to uncover the various situations and the many ways Napoleon used propaganda, fear and animalism to control the beasts on Animal Farm.

To begin with, Propaganda is used very cleverly on Napoleon’s Animal Farm. These are some of the many ways Napoleon used it to control the animals. In chapter 5, Squealer reassures the animals that whatever Napoleon is doing is for their benefit and that Snowball was nothing but a criminal. Squealer used Name Calling to give a description of Snowball, which went as much “Snowball, who, as we now know, was no better than a criminal… [And] Snowball’s part in [The Battle of Cowshed] it was much exaggerated.” [Orwell 37] He even used fear by saying “Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?” [Orwell 37]. The animals thus could not resist to this argument for they hated Jones the most and they would do whatever possible so that Jones would never show his face again on their farm. This way Napoleon could expel Snowball not only from the farm, but from the hearts of the animals too. Next, the song Minimus composes for Napoleon is an example of Glittering Generalities, one of the many propaganda techniques. The song “Friend of fatherless! Fountain of happiness!…Calm and commanding eye, Like the sun in the sky, Comrade Napoleon…” [Orwell 63] praises Napoleon very highly and credits all the positives on the farm to him. Napoleon here is promoting himself and attributing himself all the qualities that the animals wish to see in their leader. Moreover, Squealer calls it a ‘readjustment’ of food instead of a ‘reduction’ in Chapter 9. Euphemism has been used here, because instead of using the bland and unpleasant word “reduction” which means dropping the quantity, the more palatable word “readjustment” was used, which can either mean an increase in the quantity or a decrease. This way, animals cannot possibly question the pigs for giving them lesser ration. There is also an example of Transfer at the end of chapter 9 when Napoleon tells the animals to adopt Boxer’s two mottos, “I will work harder” and “Comrade Napoleon is always right” just after Boxer passed away. By definition Transfer is “a device by which the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept” and Comrade Napoleon very cunningly carries that out, because almost every animal on the farm had great reverence for Boxer and his great strength and willingness to always do more than he was asked for. So, now the animals would work harder for the farm (which is good for the pigs and especially Napoleon, for they themselves sit and consume) and no one would question Napoleon since Boxer (someone who they would admired greatly) used to carry out Napoleon’s all wishes. Card Stacking is also used in Animal Farm when Squealer lies to the animals that there is enough food on the farm, while in reality the food was scarce. Logical Fallacy too is used throughout the novel, especially after the expulsion of Snowball, for whenever something bad happened on Animal Farm, it was blamed upon Snowball. So, basically, it had now become a norm that if something happened, Snowball would be behind it. This then saved Napoleon from a candidate who had both the power and the brain to challenge his power. Just like Harold Pinter said “It’s so easy for propaganda to work, and dissent to be mocked.” Napoleon used propaganda all in his favor and to strengthen his control over the rest of the farm.

A misuse of Animalism can be found in chapter 6, at the time when the pigs move into the farmhouse and take it as their residence. When the animals questioned the pigs’ relocation, they were very shrewdly tacked by Squealer and other pigs. The pigs had changed one of the seven commandments that read “No animals shall sleep in a bed” [Orwell 15] to “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets” [Orwell 45]. And then again when Squealer gave his persuasive speech to the animals regarding this issue, he presented the idea that of the possibility of Jones taking back the farm, which ran a surged a shrill wave of fear through the animals’ bodies. And, this changing of the seven commandments, the pillars of Animalism, can be seen throughout the course of the story, for example, the change of “No animal shall kill any other animal” to “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause”. Napoleon had changed the commandments to his wish, for he could now deceive the animals, and Sqqealer actually did say once in chapter 6 that “You did not suppose, surely, that there was ever a ruling against beds?”

The first reference to the use of fear by Napoleon is in chapter 5. In this chapter, Napoleon, right after Snowball finished speaking for the Windmill project, “uttered a high pitched whimper…and nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn” [Orwell 35]. The dogs created fear in all of the animals and made it very easy for Napoleon to ascend to the position of the leader of Animal Farm. The dogs’ fear also prevented rebellion against Napoleon or any questioning of his authority. Another appeal of fear is shown when Squealer explains to everyone that Napoleon had restarted the Windmill project. Here the three dogs growled so threateningly that no animal could question any further. A big and gory example of fear is in chapter 7 when Napoleon orders his fiery dogs to slaughter the four pigs that were at times rebellious and questioned his authority. Then a series of bloody trail followed, in which three hens, a goose, three sheep and many others were slain until “there was a pile of corpses lying Napoleon’s feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood” [Orwell 57]. This filled the rest of the animals on the farm with more fear and terror than ever for now their race was doing it and it indeed go against Animalism. So, now, everyone knew that the punishment of disobedience to Napoleon would simply result in death. The constantly used phrase “Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?” is truly a decent use of fear in the book to control the animals, for whenever they were presented with the fact that Jones can indeed come back, they would just accept whatever the idea, no matter if it was right or wrong. So, fear was used directly to throw rules upon the animals, prevent an uprising and to make sure that everything went according to the wish of the pigs.

Thus there is no doubt that Napoleon used propaganda, fear and animalism to keep the animals under his supremacy and maintain his position as the leader of the Farm. The three techniques heavily influence the way animal farm was set up and the lives of the animals.


Orwell, George. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970. Print.



I think what you need to focus on here in the prompt is the word "control." You are being asked how certain things (animalism, propaganda, fear) are used to control the animals on the farms. To answer that question, you need to think about what it means in the story to control the animals. You need to think, in other words, about what Napoleon wants to get those animals to do or not do, and to think or not think. If you think about what Napoleon is actually trying to achieve, then you can talk more meaningfully about the way he achieves it.

In the last sentence of your first paragraph you promise to "uncover" "one by one" "the ways Napoleon use[s] propaganda ..." I think that is the wrong approach. Your essay ends up being a list of examples rather than an argument. So your next paragraph is a list of examples of use of propaganda, with very little analysis of how the propaganda brings about the kind of control that Napoleon wants to effect. You don't explain, for instance, what Napoleon and Squealer are trying to achieve when they denigrate Snowball. Of course you do begin by saying that they want to convince the animals that "Snowball was nothing but a criminal," but you don't explain why they want to do that, or what it has to do with the exercise of control. Likewise Minimus's song certainly promotes, as you say, Napoleon, but to what end? At the end of the long paragraph on propaganda, you do have an argument about the effect of one element of the propaganda (it "saved Napoleon form a candidate who had ... the power ... to challenge [him]"). I think it would be better to focus your paragraph on the development of arguments like that, rather than on drawing up a list of examples.

The paragraph on Animalism is perhaps more problematic because while you do show that the principles are changed over time, you don't really talk at all about how Animalism (as a philosophy or an ideology) is actually used for the purposes of controlling animals. Is it intended to make them good revolutionaries? Or good citizens of Animal Farm? Or just to create the impression that they have rights, and so appease them? The paragraph on the use of fear, by contrast, is much clearer on the way that fear is used for the purpose of control.

Finally, if you revise the central paragraphs of the essay along the lines suggested here, where the focus is to explain what type of control is exerted through the use of propaganda, fear, and Animalism, you might then be in a position to revise your final sentence of your opening paragraph into the form of a thesis about the novella, rather than a promise about your essay.

Best, EJ.

Submitted by: nishantaggarwal

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How does George Orwell show the use of propaganda and fear as powerful devices to control the masses?

The novella,

 Animal Farm

, was written by George Orwell in 1945. It is a political allegory of the Russian Revolution, specifically criticising the totalitarian dictatorship of Stalin. Similar to

 Aesop’s Fables

, Orwell uses the animals in the novella to represent key figures during the Russian Revolution, such as the pig ‘Napoleon’ representing Stalin. Through the course of the novel, the communistic ideals of Old Major are distorted and corrupted by the pigs causing Animal Farm to become a totalitarian dictatorship under the rule of Napoleon. Napoleon uses propaganda and fear to justify his consolidation of absolute power and perversion of the ideals of Animalism. This essay will discuss Squealer’s use of propaganda in his speeches, the fear of an invisible enemy and the return of Jones, and the intimidation of the dogs. The main propagandist, Squealer, uses a powerful rhetoric to justify Napoleon’s acts. He employs the


technique by using complex language and terms that the uneducated animals are unable to understand,

“This has been proved by Science” 

(Pg. 22) and the words


(Pg. 47) or


(Pg. 35). Another technique is

card stacking 

 which Squealer employs to present only certain misleading information that not only supports Napoleon’s acts but illustrates them as the best and only choice,

“the  production of every class of food-stuff had increased by two hundred per cent”

(Pg. 51) and

“The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us” 

(Pg. 22). These techniques convince the animals that Napoleon’s consolidation of power was for the good of the animals and the preservation of Animalism. The incomprehensibility of the complex language and terms that he uses, makes the animals unable to question the decisions and also continue to create a growing disparity between the pigs and the other animals. This disparity allows Napoleon to separate himself above the rest and gain more power. The propaganda convinces the animals that Napoleon’s perversion of ideals was for the better. Napoleon and Squealer use the fear of an invisible enemy and the return of Jones to present their acts as the least offensive option. Whenever a decision is questioned or protested against, Squealer employs the

lesser of two evils

technique. For example, when covering up the theft of the milk and apples, he states that if the pigs were not ‘healthy’ enough to watch over the animals’ welfare,

“Jones would come back” 

(Pg. 22). This technique effectively forces the animals to either stop protesting or be viewed as a supporter of Jones. When the windmill is destroyed in a storm, Napoleon blames Snowball and tells the animals that they

”will teach this miserable traitor that he cannot undo their work so easily” 

(Pg. 42). He continues to blame Snowball for any suspicious activity, the

red herring 

 technique, as it diverts the animals’ attention from questioning Napoleon’s rule, “

The animals are thoroughly frightened. It seemed to them as though

By Zinzan Gurney 19 Mar 2015

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