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How is point-of-view important in Animal Farm?

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saedgerton | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM via web

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How is point-of-view important in Animal Farm?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 7, 2012 at 10:50 PM (Answer #1)

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The point-of-view in Animal Farm is third-person omniscient, where an unseen narrator, who is not a character, describes the action and knows most of the inner thoughts of the characters. This allows a more objective view of the story, without subjective opinions given by the narrator, and also allows more coverage of all the action without juggling multiple perspectives. One interesting thing is that Napoleon's POV is almost never used; the narrator will describe the inner feelings of many animals, but Napoleon almost always acts without the narration having prior knowledge of his motives:

Only Napoleon held aloof. He had declared himself against the windmill from the start. One day, however, he arrived unexpectedly to examine the plans. He walked heavily round the shed...
(Orwell, Animal Farm, msxnet.org)

With this technique, Napoleon is seen as more self-absorbed than the other animals, only concerned with growing his own influence and power. Instead of being open and honest, he is secretive, and this is reflected in the narration. The only way the other animals know of his dishonesty is through experience; the reader can infer it from past knowledge, but usually cannot see Napoleon's next move until it has begun.

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