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Animal Farm Essay

1870 words - 7 pages

All dictators use nefarious means to gain power. A perfect example of this is found in George Orwell’s political satire, Animal Farm, in which he uses oppressed talking animals to satirize the Russian Revolution. Early on in the novel, when the animals finally have driven out their oppressive master, Mr. Jones, they take the management of the farm into their own hands, creating a set of Seven Commandments based on the teachings of a wise old pig by the name of Old Major. Commandment numbers one through six are centered upon the general idea that no animal should ever come to resemble man, and commandment number seven states, “All animals are equal.” The commandments are observed until the leader who is working in the animal’s best interests, Snowball, is driven out by a tyrannical, opportunistic pig named Napoleon. Soon, the equality and values of the community of animals are lost, only to be replaced with greed, violence, and injustice. In order to gain and keep power, Napoleon and his associate, Squealer, use the propaganda tactics of lack of education, intimidation, and repetition to gain complete and ultimate control of Animal Farm.
By forging documents which the animals cannot understand, but which help his point, Napoleon is using their lack of education to manipulate them. Supposed documents are found which allegedly contain proof that Snowball had been consorting with Mr. Jones from the very beginning of the revolution. “It has been proved by documents which he [Snowball] left behind him and which we have only just discovered. [...]. I could show you this in your own writing, if you were able to read it” (79-81). Earlier on in the novel, Napoleon claims he had always suspected Snowball was a traitor, and has driven Snowball away from the farm because he knows Snowball is a “dangerous character and a bad influence” (58). By bringing forth the supposed documents, Napoleon proves that he has been correct about Snowball. He is proving to the animals that he can see what the others cannot, which is one of the reasons why he is a strong leader. As he did before, Napoleon uses the animal’s lack of education in order to promote an idea which will prove his strong leadership. “Squealer [...] would read out to them a list of figures proving that the production of every class of food stuff had been increased by two hundred percent, or five hundred percent, as the case might be” (92). By fabricating these reports, Napoleon leads the animals to believe that his methods are making Animal Farm prosperous. The reason why the animals are convinced by the reports is that they are uneducated, and therefore cannot even begin to calculate the percentages which are presented to them. The irony of the situation is that the animals believe the reports, even though they themselves wish there are “less figures [numbers] and more food” (92). When Animal Farm begins to fall on hard times, Napoleon finds that he needs to trade with other farms in order to retain his...

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