Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Animal Farm book cover
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In "Animal Farm", how does Napoleon use propaganda effectively and change history?

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renkins44 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Propaganda typically sends a message that fogs truth. In other words, the message might contain accuracies, but it is skewed in order to manipulate its target. For the most part, propaganda was used effectively in Animal Farm because the animals using it played on the fears of others. In the beginning of the book, the pigs wanted to liberate themselves from an oppressive work environment. While Napoleon was in power, he would often tell the other animals that if they did not follow his agenda, the humans would take over and the entire farm would be back where it started. While this may be true, the fact is that the farm is even more oppressive than before Napolean took over. In order to cover this up, Napolean tells them that there must be difficult times now in order for a better future. Again, this is only partially true because as each small goal is attained, another goal is created -- thus perpetuating an oppressive work environment.

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Napoleon uses Squealer to be his mouthpiece for propaganda. Napoleon, Squealer and Snowball first codify Old Major's sayings into "Animalism". This give the animals some kind of guide and explanation for changes made to the Animal Farm. However, Napoleon is not opposed to changing some of the tenets of animalism to suit his own purposes. Using Squealer as his voice, he has explanations for why the pigs need the milk, and why the commandments keep changing. His biggest coup is changing history to include the idea that Snowball was really an enemy of the revolution and never received the order of "Animal Hero, First Class." Napoleon also has Squealer teach the animals a new song to replace Old Major's original anthem. The new song explains why the pigs are walking on their hind legs. Like all good propaganda,the changes are instituted slowly with just enough time in between to allow the animals to absorb the change and not to question the next change.

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