illustrated portrait of English author George Orwell

George Orwell

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How does Orwell use figurative and connotative language, and how does his language affect the tone of his works?  

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George Orwell is one of the most celebrated writers of the twentieth century. This is for good reason. He created some of the most memorable works of literature of the time period, and these have served as excellent extended metaphors for one of the most intense times in the history of Western society. Orwell's works aren't just famous for the topics they covered. They're also excellent pieces of literature in and of themselves. He uses connotative and figurative language throughout novels like 1984 and Animal Farm to draw the reader in and express his key points. Let's take a look at Animal Farm to see this in action.

Animal Farm tells the story of a group of animals who start a revolution and overthrow the humans who run the farm. The story is a satire of totalitarianism. Some of the major characters in the novel are the pigs who take control of the revolution. Now, Orwell is talking about literal pigs here. However, there's also a connotative meaning that we can understand implicitly when he talks about the pigs and their political plans. We know that he's talking about the swinish behavior of "political pigs," even when he doesn't say that directly.

He uses the same literary technique to talk about humans. For example, the animals who take control of the revolution use humans as a threat and a reminder. They use slogans like "four legs good, two legs bad," and warn the animals that Farmer Jones will come back if they don't do their work.

Orwell uses techniques like this throughout Animal Farm. The result is a novel that acts as an extended metaphor for totalitarianism. The extended metaphor that Orwell creates through figurative and connotative language enables him to explore concepts in an in-depth way that wouldn't be possible if he wrote using another style.

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