How is fear used throughout Animal Farm?

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

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To a great extent, the animals use fear to keep one another in check and in submission.  In order to ensure that there is acceptance on the part of the animals, fear is used as a motivating factor.  Old Major uses fear when he tells the animals that their purpose is to be used and discarded by the human beings.  Old Major makes no pretense about how he sees Jones and the other humans.  He makes a point of utilizing this fear to ensure that the animals understand his meaning by suggesting that when Boxer becomes old and no more of use he will be sent to the "knacker's."  Fear is the motivating element that he uses to make sure that the other animals embrace his vision, and after he dies, Snowball and Napoleon use this fearful element in their recruitment of animals into the Animalism philosophy.  Once the pigs assume leadership, Fear is then used by the propaganda master Squealer when he stresses to the animals that they have to struggle in order to avoid Jones' return.  Squealer uses the fear of Jones as sort of the ending to all arguments if any animal voices their discontent about life under the pigs.  Naturally, Napoleon uses fear to quell any dissent.  Through his forced confessions and public executions, Napoleon uses fear as a way to keep the animals under his control.  Orwell demonstrates that political regimes often use tools such as playing on fear as a way to consolidate their own power and ensure that there will not be any questioning of their policies and practices.