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What's the narrative technique in Animal Farm?

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gedeon | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 16, 2013 at 5:03 PM via web

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What's the narrative technique in Animal Farm?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 17, 2013 at 6:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Orwell writes this novel in third person narration, choosing to look upon the action from a detached viewpoint. In addition, what characterises his style of narration is the way in which he writes very simply, and avoids using lots of flowery language that could be use to mask intentions and obscure what is really happening, which is of course one of the dangers of communism that he writes about in this book. Note, for example, the following quote:

Boxer's face did not reappear at the window. Too late, someone thought of racing ahead and shutting the five-barred gate; but in another moment the van was through it and rapidly disappearing down the road. Boxer was never seen again.

The economy of language in this quote, as with all of the novel, is to be admired. The leaving of Boxer, and of course his ultimate death, which is such a tragic moment in the novel, could easily have been written in a much more florid way. However, note how it is only "Too late" that the animals think of closing the gate, somehow deepening the tragedy. What Orwell loses by not being florid he gains massively in return through simplicity and impact. Orwell's narrative style is therefore very simple, but it loses none of its power through this simplicity.

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