From reading “Animal Farm”, I was led to believe that Orwell’s main purpose and focus of the novel were his political ideas, reflected through this animal fable. He seems to indicate that human nature inevitably ends up in the abuse and corruption of political ideals. So the novel is actually more political, rather than personal, as he doesn’t really look into psychology, he looks at the actions of political groups to show his ideologies, rather than feelings. He also shows, through his use of irony and narrative style what his attitude is to the human flaws which seem to gradually betray the principles of the revolution.
Orwell uses many linguistic techniques and effects in his writing to convey his thoughts on the aspects of human behavior. One of the very important techniques used by him is irony, along with some aspects of humour. An example of good use of this technique is a passage in chapter seven: “The three hens who had been the ringleaders in the attempted rebellion over the eggs now came forwards and stated that Snowball had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey Napoleon’s orders.
They too, were slaughtered. Then a goose came forward… “”… then a sheep confessed… “… and two other sheep confessed… They were all slain on the spot. ” Here, Orwell evokes a sense of irony with the long chain of confessions. The sentences become very long as more and more animals confess. There is repetition in the use of dashes and the word ‘and’ to show the number of animals confessing without thinking. He uses short emphatic sentences to say they are killed, which illustrates the lack of care Napoleon has towards them. Orwell also uses brutal words like “slaughtered”, and creates a pattern of these words to create a more vivid sense of cruelty.
More over, Orwell uses a rapid narrative, and shows no reactions. He only describes what happens, and uses short phrases like “pile up like corpses” when describing the significant parts. This is also an example of the use of a simile, which is used to enhance the atmosphere of violence in this particular scene, and helps the reader feel what he is feeling. Over all, this scene develops the attitude Orwell has towards the idea of cruelty and violence. One of the main features which regards to this is the idea of abuse of power to maintain authority.
Orwell writes in a lot of detail about how the pigs, who are the potential leaders of the animals, begin to take advantage of their position, and exploit the other animals: “With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should pursue the leadership” Orwell shows the pigs’ abuse of power by also using irony and uses a sarcastic tone to show that the pigs were in fact quite egocentric and selfish. Here, the reader begins to realize that this portrays the ideal of carelessness of the feelings of others, which is an aspect of human behavior that Orwell isn’t very fond of.
Near the end of Chapter three, Orwell further develops this idea with the incident of the milk and apples: “So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall apples should be reserved for the pigs alone” Orwell’s style of writing also conveys his attitudes towards these ideals. For instance, the style he uses here is quite ignorant, to show the ignorance of the pigs, as they are abusing their power for their own benefits, and leaving no other priorities and privileges for the other animals.
The principle of political lying is also introduced. An example would be Pilkington’s lies about the farm in chapter four. Orwell seems to be particularly disgusted by this misleading passing of lies. “Talk of the terrible wickedness that now flourished on animal farm” Ridicule was really the only tactic Pilkington and Frederick had after being frightened, so their strategy was to criticise the farm in order to reassure themselves that this event was ‘nonsense’.
Orwell creates a clever effect with the word “flourished” as this word is usually used to describe positive events; here, Orwell uses it to describe negative things, which captures more of the reader’s attention to the idea of lying and deceit in the sense that humans use it to make themselves look better than others. Scapegoat is one aspect of human behavior, which Orwell does not seem to be impressed with at all. This idea is introduced after the banishment of Snowball.
Snowball, who has done so much and worked so hard and came up with so many constructive ideas; has now become the scapegoat for things that went wrong at animal farm. He was actually humiliated when he was banned, as he was an inspiration to many of the animals, and they all looked up to him, and this even ruined his reputation. This scene is significant in the way that Orwell uses style and language to show how Napoleon shut him down and sent him away after all his devotion. Orwell also creates a sense of tension in this scene, as it builds up to a climax.
The contradictions of Old Major’s begin to arise; one after the other in chapter six; this highlights the thought of betrayal. The first one is the contradiction of the commandment about animals sleeping in beds- the pigs began to sleep in beds. I believe Orwell is really irritated with this feature of human behavior, as it is the most ardent one. “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….. You would not have us to tired to carry out our duties? Surely none of you wishes to see Jones back? Orwell’s style here is different, as he uses a dialogue between Muriel and Squealer to bring this out. Orwell also creates a threatening tone with Squealer’s dialogue, as he begins to play with the animals’ minds to persuade the animals and bring out the idea that it is necessary for the pigs to sleep in beds. He also uses a clever uses of rhetorical questions, which threaten them with the return of the horrible farmer Jones. “Squealer came along and put the whole matter into perspective” Again, Orwell uses irony to create a sense of feeling towards behavior.
As the reader would be thinking, although Squealer was lying in order to keep the pigs’ reputation at bliss, he still gave them a good reason for them to sleep in beds. Napoleon’s ignorance is also brought out and developed throughout the novel, which reflects on the importance of Orwell’s feelings towards this type of behavior. More over, in the last chapter, the seven commandments are replaced with one new one: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. This reflects the idea of hypocrisy and moral corruption in the revolution the most.
This idea also links with lying and deceit, which obviously disgusts Orwell because he writes in a lot of detail about it. I think that these ideas are mostly reflected upon in chapter seven, which is the peak of the novel, and in a way a turning point, as the real person within each character is revealed; and this is illustrated with Orwell’s effective use of linguistic techniques and emotive language. Further more, throughout the story; principles of forgetfulness and stupidity are developed. As the animals follow like sheep and don’t really stand up for what they believe in.
This idea disgusts Orwell in a way which makes him sort of ashamed of the behavior of humans as he continuously insults the intelligence of the animals in the novel; like how some of the animals couldn’t learn the alphabet. After Napoleon becomes the leader, most of the animals forget about the main reason of this revolution, which was freedom and equality. Instead, they go back to the same old lifestyle that they had when Mr. Jones was around. Overall, I think that Orwell uses his animal fable on order to show the people what kind of corruption politics can have on the effect of human behavior.
He feels strongly about this, but does not show it through psychology; he uses the political groups to show it to give a more powerful effect. He does not use a stream of consciousness or internal monologues, as most writers would, except for some insight into Clover’s thoughts in chapter seven. I personally find chapters six and seven to have the most powerful writing in them, as Orwell begins to use very influential words and phrases to develop the story and his ideologies to create a sense of meaning to the overall effect and moral of the novel.