Throughout the novel, Animal Farm, by George Orwell, the build-up of power is caused by language and the use of eloquence. The control of words and language used is what causes the banishment of Mr. Jones to occur and thus Napoleon’s unjust dictatorship is made possible. The pigs use their eloquent ability and manipulation through language for any situation that questioned their supremacy which is what controlled the destiny of the farm. In this novel, the animals on the farm, demonstrate humans’ vulnerability to the manipulation of language, the false idea of righteousness and selflessness created by strong words and the influence of persuasive speech without actually grasping the meaning.
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To begin, after the dismissal of Mr.Jones and the revolution on Manor Farm the animals create seven commandments in order to govern themselves that they must abide by. All the animals on the farm help formulate and engrave them on the side of the barn to ensure that they are visible to all of the animals. The power of language in the novel is evidently shown through the pigs manipulation of these commandments to have authority over the other animals. The pigs disobey one of the commandments which is “Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy, but rationalize their actions to the other animals by using powerful speech. This is evident as Napoleon announced that he had decided upon a new policy and says, “From now onwards Animal Farm would engage in trade with neighboring farms: not of course, for any commercial purpose but simply in order to obtain certain materials which were urgently necessary.” (Orwell, p.42). After the banishment of Mr.Jones the animals agreed that Animal Farm would never again socialize with anything that has two legs, predominately human beings. Being that the animals were low on materials for building the windmill and income for themselves, the pigs sold some of the hens‘ eggs in the nearby town of Willingdon. Although this is contrary to what the animals originally stated in the commandments the pigs manage to persuade them into thinking that it was vital to their existence to communicate with the creatures around them. Despite the other animals being doubtful of this proposal, the pigs are able to convince them using mannerism; the pigs assert their proposal on survival based on trade with humans, thus no trouble was brought.
Moreover, the power of language utilization is shown through the pigs modifying the fourth commandment which is “No animals shall sleep in a bed” so they could be the ones to takeover Mr. Jones’ old house, but when they are questioned by the other animals; the pigs construe the commandment’s true meaning. This is evident when Squealer says, “You have heard, then comrades,’ he said, ‘that we pigs now sleep in the bed of the farmhouse? And why not? You did not suppose, surely, that there was ever a ruling against beds? A bed merely means a place to sleep in. A pile of straw in a stall is a bed, properly regarded. The rule was against sheets, which are a human invention.” (Orwell, p.45- 46). Through the manipulation of language, Squealer is able to assure the animals that there is no difference between an animal bed and a human bed. He rationalizes his action by stating that they sleep without sheets; they follow the fourth commandment. Once again the animals tolerate this because of the pigs prudent use of words and ability to manipulate the meaning of the commandments to what they as the inferior want to hear.
In addition, after the rebellion on the farm, all of the major decision making was given primarily to the more intelligent animals on the farm, the pigs and their leaders, Napoleon and Snowball. They were often the ones who opposed the many issues that were related to the farm until Napoleon banished Snowball from the farm by using the guard dogs to chase him out; took control of the farm and it’s inhabitants. Despite the banishment of Snowball, the pigs still find a way to take the pressure off of them by accusing him of any adversity the farm may encounter through the use of persuasive language. The pigs accuse Snowball of destroying the windmill that the animals built for a long time with a lot of effort. This is shown when Napoleon says, “Comrades,” do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL! He suddenly roared in a voice of thunder” (Orwell, p.47). It was obvious that the storm the night before could have had something to do with windmill being destroyed; although Snowball was banished from the farm, the pigs were still able to convince the animals that he was the one guilty of the damage.
Furthermore, subsequently, the Battle of the Cowshed, the pigs dishonor Snowball of his hero medal, Animal Hero, First Class, for courageously fighting during the battle. This is shown as the author states, “The animals now also learned that Snowball has never- as many of them believed hitherto- received the order of ‘Animal Hero, First Class’ (Orwell, p.65). Before Snowball’s banishment, the animals considered Snowball as not only a gentleman, but a scholar and were doubtful about many terrible allegations which were passive aggressively made about him. However, through the propaganda ability of Squealer and the other pigs, they successfully convinced the other animals into thinking that Snowball was never awarded the “Animal Hero, First Class” which is what made him known and respected by all. By dishonoring Snowball’s award the pigs were able to successfully remove any tie of Snowball as a hero and could, therefore, use him as an escape for any of their problems without the other animals questioning them. Although the pigs obvious abuse on Snowball’s name was completely disregarded, greater manipulation by the pigs of other situations was only possible due to their intelligence and verbal communication which creates the false idea of their righteousness and selflessness.
Finally, numerous problems are thrown at the pigs when trying to run their own ostracized farm. The pigs, however, often find different ways for themselves to benefit from the threats of the other animals, but through the control of language, it creates the false idea of selflessness and righteous behavior. This is highly evident when the pigs persuade the animals into thinking that Napoleon’s dictatorship of the farm was not something Napoleon wanted but was vital for the survival of the farm. This is seen when Napoleon says, “Comrades,” I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labor upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility” (Orwell, p.37). Although Napoleon’s high authority has given him all the fortune and power of the farm, the pigs have concealed this with arguments of work and pressure which Napoleon must undergo.
Furthermore, the pigs assert that their selfish hoarding of the extra apple and milk ratios are essential to the farm’s prosperity. This is shown when Squealer says, “Comrades!” he cried, “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well- being of a pig. We pigs are brain workers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. (Orwell, p.23).The refusing of these extra ratios perfectly depicts the pigs selfish intentions and corruption from the very beginning. Their control of language creates the false idea, that the pigs only require the extra ratios which are essential to make the farm a better place for all; however, this is far from the truth. They have through words convinced the other animals with their “excess intelligence” of their need for the apples and milk as to not comprise their appearance of innocent and selfless.
In conclusion, Animal Farm shows that the true intention of some can often be hidden with humans’ susceptibility to the manipulation of language, the false idea of righteousness created by powerful words and the influence of persuasive speech without fully grasping its meaning, which often leads the masses into confusion and vulnerability. Although the characters in the novel were animals and could be considered unintelligent, the novel portrays humans as being no better when it comes to utilizing one another with the power of words.
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