Creating a leader myth and personality cult in animal farm

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Animal Farm shows a great example of creating a leader myth and developing a culture around a specific individual. With the beginning of the animal uprising, the beasts work as a unified group and act in true communism—all working together equally. The animals begin, however, to gravitate towards a charismatic leader. In order to instill Napoleon as a proper leader, they begin to build a tale around him using a "prophet" of sorts. Squealer acts to impart the will and knowledge of Napoleon to the others and explains a falsified history of Napoleon to make him seem larger than life.

Napoleon's use of force and empty promises are ways of enforcing his rule on the others. The threat from the dogs instills fear into anyone who would oppose Napoleon, and his promises placate those who want to support him but have legitimate concerns. These are the exact ways dictators consolidate power and begin to take control of a populace.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this book, the leader myth and personality cult are, of course, built up around Napoleon.  The "person" who does most of the work of creating this cult and myth is Squealer.

Over the course of the book, the animals are encouraged to think of Napoleon as a perfect leader.  They are told that without Napoleon, they would surely go back to being abused by the humans.

Another example of how this cult is built up is when they stop referring to Napoleon by his name.  Instead, they start to use titles to refer to him -- titles that emphasize how much they need him.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial