Examine how Orwell develops the theme of the power of words in Animal Farm.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Orwell displays the thematic importance in the power of words through keeping linguistic construction in the hands of the pigs.  The pigs are the only ones who develop language as a means of power.  The fact that they are the only animals on the farm who can read is an integral part of this reality.  Their ability to control language is vitally important to their power.  No other animal, except for the disengage Benjamin, understands the importance of reading.  Squealer's use of language to construct truth and to spin anything to the other animals that benefits Napoleon's leadership is another example of how the power of words can benefit those in the position of power.  The presence of words in forming the Commandments is another instance in which the power of language is evident.  As the leadership of the pigs becomes consolidated more, the Commandments become one.  The other animals do not realize how power has changed because they cannot read.  Here again, the idea of language and power being vital to consolidation of control becomes evident in the novel.  Orwell makes it painfully clear that language and the ability to construct truth out of it is of vital importance to those in the position of power and in continuing their power.