How does Squealer explain the difference in the amount of food give to the animals in Animal Farm?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Orwell nicely states the condition of life for the animals at the start of chapter 9.  Contrasting it with the vision not really agreed upon, but intimated with retirement, life for the animals was fairly difficult:

Meanwhile life was hard.  The winter was cold as the last one had been, and food was even shorter.  Once again all rations were reduced, except those given to the pigs and the dogs.

It is here where Squealer's explanation is given to justify the disparity in food.  He makes three fundamental arguments that end up confusing or silencing the animals and any hope of dissent.  The first is to appeal to the tenets of Animalism, the philosophy that seems to exist on the farm only in name:

A too rigid equality in rations, Squealer explained, would have been contrary to the principles of Animalism.

Orwell does not explain this in detail, primarily because Squealer does not explain this in detail.  Rather, Squealer moves on to his next argument in justifying the limitation of food to some and the continued giving to others.  Simply put, he argues that there is no decrease in food quantities, anyway.  It's acceptable to limit the food rations to the majority of the animals because food is apparently in abundance.  To this end, Squealer tosses out many facts and numbers that help to support his case.  In doing so, he proves that "liars can figure and figures can lie."  Playing around with language, Squealer offers that the concept of "readjustments"  is vastly different than "reductions."  The final point that Squealer makes is that whatever their condition of stock is now, the animals are far better than now than they were with Jones.  In ending his argument in such a manner, Squealer is able to not so subtly draw the conclusion that the animals have to choose an "either/ or" situation.  If they voice discontent, then they are labeled as being supporters of Jones.  While Jones himself is not really remembered at this point because of the time that had passed since the revolution, he is resurrected as the farm's "boogey- man" and one that ends all of Squealer's analysis, tilting the balance of support towards he and his points, or at least silencing his critics.  It is in this three pronged approach that Squealer is able to explain the difference of food given to the animals.

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