Language and Structure
Irony - When a writer uses words that suggest the opposite of what they actually mean
Satire - A written attack that makes something look foolish or unpleasant – ironic humour is often used to draw our attention to follies that the author is attacking
Allegory – A story that mirrors historic events or wider ideas
Fable – A short story that contains a moral message
Manipulating Language – And People
One of Orwell’s main concerns was the way in which language could be used to manipulate and mislead people. This concern is reflected in Animal Farm.
Language Used By The Pigs
The pigs – in particular squealer – manipulate language to control the farm. The techniques they use include:
· Rhetorical questions: The animals are repeatedly asked if they want Jones to come back: “Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back!” pg30
· Statistics: Squealer tells the animals that they eat more and work less: the opposite of the truth. They create an illusion of life on the farm that the animals are incapable of questioning
· Subversion: The pigs completely change the meaning of the words. They use the word ‘ equality’ to mean its opposite. Its logically impossible for anyone to be ‘more equal’ than another. (oxymoron)
· Simplification: Majors maxim: Whatever goes upon two legs, is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend” is reduced to the slogan “Four legs good, two legs bad”. The less intelligent animals adopt this reductive phrase, which becomes a way of silencing dissent.
· Obfuscation: The Pigs deliberately mislead the animals by using words that they find confusing.
· Distortion: The meanings of words are twisted out of shape, reducing language to nonsense.
Animal stereotypes: His choice of animal to represent different historical figures or ideas is satirical. He uses mainly negative representations, e.g the sheep (traditionally regarded as stupid animals) are used to represent the public as an unthinking ‘mob’ and a donkey (tend to think as stubborn) is the farm’s cynic Benjamin.
Political allegory: The symbols used are obvious – as you would expect in an allegory. The farm represents Russia; Napoleon as Stalin. The satire also makes complex political events, like the German invasion of…