How Propaganda Is Used In Animal Farm Essay

The Role Of Propaganda In Animal Farm

Role of Propaganda in Animal Farm
The novel, Animal Farm, is a well-known allegory written by George Orwell. As a satire of the Russian Revolution, Orwell portrays the rise of a cruel dictatorship and the mistreatment of the general population under it. Like the Communist government in Russia, the government in Animal Farm employs the use of many manipulative tools, especially propaganda. Propaganda was used by the pigs throughout the book, deceiving many of the animals. As this story shows, propaganda can enable governments to bend people to any purpose. By spreading positive messages about Napoleon, persuading the animals that Snowball is an enemy, and convincing the animals that they can’t survive without the pigs, propaganda helped give rise to a vindictive and selfish totalitarian government.
By first using propaganda to persuade the animals that Snowball was an enemy, Napoleon’s rise to power began. Snowball was Napoleon’s only real threat to assuming leadership. In the story, the two pigs always disagreed with each other. The other animals were divided equally in supporting either Snowball or Napoleon. By spreading the rumor that Snowball was a traitor, Napoleon was able to drive Snowball from the farm and become the leader of Animal Farm with no one to oppose him. Napoleon, with the help of Squealer, turned all the animals against Snowball. Squealer, who was a masterful manipulator, played an important part in convincing the animals that Snowball was an enemy. Naming Snowball as a “traitor”, Squealer played on the animals’ fear of humans and told them that Snowball had been a spy for the humans. The animals believed Squealer and thought that Snowball was only trouble on the farm. They later suspected that Snowball was the cause of anything that went wrong in the farm. For example, when the windmill was destroyed Snowball was blamed. It had actually fallen because its walls were too thin. Propaganda was also used when Napoleon wanted to “get rid” of some animals on the farm because they were causing too much rebellion on the farm. Napoleon used Snowball as an excuse to execute these animals. He forced them to “confess” that they had caused trouble because Snowball had told them to. By blaming Snowball, Napoleon was able to eliminate the animals who threatened his leadership. Claiming Snowball as a traitor also allowed Napoleon to take away the rights of the other “common” animals and give himself more control. For example, Napoleon informs the animals that a special committee of pigs, which was headed by him, would now “make all the decisions concerning Animal Farm”. There would be no more Sunday-meetings where all the animals were able to attend and make decisions. Squealer told the animals that this decision was made for the animals’ own good. “But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where would we be? Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball with his moonshine of windmills¬¬─...

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          Propaganda is the distribution of information in an effort to influence or manipulate society’s opinion (Britannica, 2013). Throughout the Russian Revolution, propaganda was widely used by the leaders of the revolution in order to gain support from the public. One example can be seen through the power struggle between Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. After Lenin’s death in 1924 Joseph Stalin launched a propaganda attack on Leon Trotsky in order to discredit him and make it impossible for Trotsky to resume his leadership position (, 1996).

Usage of Propaganda in Animal farm

          Propaganda plays a really important part in the Russian Revolution, and as a result propaganda was also one of the main themes in Animal Farm. In the Novel, George Orwell portrayed the manipulation of speech through a character named Squealer, a pig who acted as a spokesperson for Napoleon. One example of Squealer’s use of propaganda to gain the animals’ support can be seen in his speech denouncing snowball part in the rebellion after he was banished from the farm. Using the animal’s stupidity to his advantage, Squealer played with the minds of all the animals, describing a twisted version of the events of the Battle of the Cowshed, one of the battles that were fought during the rebellion. In Squealer’s version of Snowball’s part of the battle, Snowball was planning to “leave the field to the enemy” (p54). Afterwards, Squealer described how Napoleon was the one who “sprang forward with a cry of ‘death to humanity!’ and sank his teeth into Mr Jone’s leg” when everything was so chaotic (p54). During his speech, Squealer describe everything in so much detail that it “seemed to the animals that they did remember it” (p54). As a result, Squealer has used propaganda to manipulate the memories of the animals so they would believe that Napoleon is the rightful person to trust and Snowball was actually on the side of the enemy.

          Another form of propaganda was when the pigs started to twist the seven commandments, a list of seven rules the animals in animal farm must follow, to their own needs. At the start of the revolution, the sixth of the seven commandments read “No animal shall be killed by any other animal” (p15). However, in order to reason with the animals after killing those who opposed Napoleon, the rule has been changed to “No animal shall be killed by any other animal without cause” (p 61). As a result, Napoleon’s actions for eliminating those animals were justified because the animals thought a few words from the commandment was slipped from memory. Since the other animals were not as clever compared to the pigs and were not as capable of thinking for themselves, the animals used the seven commandments as an agreement to what was right and what was wrong. Therefore, when the pigs changed the seven commandments, the animals did not think badly of Napoleon’s use of cruelty and violence.

Author’s intentions and effectiveness

          The propaganda that was used in the novel shows how a revolution, no matter how good their intentions are at first, can still gradually turn into a system that is no better than the one before. By twisting the truth to gain society’s trust, readers are able to see how good intentions were gradually won over by greed and dishonesty. Looking at how the pigs started to twist the rules to manipulate society into thinking the pigs were innocent, readers will also be able to understand the reason to why it was so easy for the pigs to gain their trust. Since the novel is a metaphor of the Russian Revolution, readers would be able to link the usage of propaganda in the novel to the usage of propaganda in the Russian Revolution. In conclusion, George Orwell successfully used propaganda in the novel to express his opinion on how the communist system of the Russian Revolution gradually went from an equal system, to a system that was overcome by greed and dishonesty from the authorities.

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