Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Animal Farm book cover
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How does Napoleon trick the animals into forgetting how hard life is for them?

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As a manipulative tyrant, Napoleon uses propaganda, scapegoats, and fear to alter the animals' perception of their standard of living on the farm. Napoleon employs Squealer, a pig with an extraordinary ability to articulate and persuade others, to manipulate the animals into believing they are living independent, fulfilling lives. Squealer spreads false propaganda by making up favorable harvest statistics to "prove" that the farm is efficient and producing. He also congratulates the animals on their accomplishments and alters the Commandments, which are written on the wall of the barn. Napoleon feeds the animals lies regarding the windmill and tells them that it will dramatically improve their standard of living, which gives them false hope in the future and motivates them to work harder.

Napoleon also blames every issue on Snowball and uses him as a scapegoat to distract from his mistakes. Squealer continually reminds the animals of conditions before Napoleon became their leader and scares the animals into believing that Mr. Jones might return. Napoleon also prevents the animals from learning, and only young pigs are provided an education. Given the cult of personality that quickly develops around Napoleon, the animals blindly trust his leadership and soon forget about the previous conditions on the farm under Mr. Jones.

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knielson | Student

Napolean uses manipulative techniques similar to those that Joseph Stalin, or any dictator, have used to control the masses. There are many forms of propaganda but the primary methods used in Animal Farm include: fear, begging the question/circular reasoning, manipulation of information, ignorance of the masses, faulty cause and effect, bandwagon, slogans and a scapegoat.The techniques often overlap and are used in conjunction with others.

Here are some specific examples of each from the novel

Fear: Napolean, and his main propaganda agent, Squealer, instill fear in the animals by constantly reminding them that Jones may come back if they don't support or believe the actions of the pigs. When the pigs move into the farm house, for example, it is explained that they need these surroundings to do the "work of the farm" and that if they don't have such an environment Jones might come back. This scares the animals and therefore they have no choice but to support this action of the pigs.

Begging the question/circular reasoning: This is a technique that is meant to detract the one being manipulated by creating a fallacy, or false logic. The example used above about the pigs moving into the farmhouse uses the technique (as well as fear). When questioned about living in the farmhouse, they provide a false logic for the need and therefore have provided a circular reasoning by returning the question back to the animals (You don't want Jones to come back, now do you?)

Manipulation of information: This is done often in Animal Farm. When Squealer relays to the animals the productivity of the farms, as compared to the days when Jones ran it, the information is not accurate. But, it leads them to believe that things are so much better.

Ignorance of the masses: Keeping the general population ignorant about the truth keeps allows them to be manipulated. If you don't know any better, you are likely to accept what is told to you. Just as in the example above, because the animals are kept in the dark about what is really going on, they accept that the data Squealer relays is, in fact, true.

Faulty Cause and Effect: By falsely stating that one thing causes another, subjects can be manipulated to believe that it is actually true. The milk and apples disappearing is an example. When it is discovered that the milk and apples were consumed by the pigs because it is "brain food" and they need this to do the mental work of the farm, the animals believe it. Here, one can see how the techniques are used in conjunction because the animals need to be ignorant in order to accept this faulty cause and effect.

Bandwagon: This is a technique that plays on one's need to belong. It can be seen in advertising when statements like "3 out of 4 people use ______." People tend to follow what the bulk of people are doing. In the book, when the sheep, which are in great number, start to support the pigs, it causes many of the other animals to follow suit.

Slogans: Slogans are catchy phrases that are oversimplified. For example, in the book, the sheeps bleat "Four legs good, two legs bad" to convey that the humans are bad and the animals are all good.

Scapegoat: This is a techniques used to distract the subjects when they question or complain. In this case, Snowball is the scapegoat. When anything goes wrong, it is blamed on him, even thought he didn't do it. It keeps the animals thinking that the pigs are flawless and great leaders.

Other techniqes are used but these are most prominent and they often work in conjunction in order to manipulate the animals in to thinking that Napolean is their great leader.

knielson | Student

Napolean uses manipulative techniques similar to those that Joseph Stalin, or any dictator, have used to control the masses. There are many forms of propaganda but the primary methods used in Animal Farm include: fear, begging the question/circular reasoning, manipulation of information, ignorance of the masses, faulty cause and effect, bandwagon and slogans.The techniques often overlap and are used in conjunction with others.

Here are some specific examples of each from the novel

Fear: Napolean, and his main propaganda agent, Squealer, instill fear in the animals by constantly reminding them that Jones may come back if they don't support or believe the actions of the pigs. When the pigs move into the farm house, for example, it is explained that they need these surroundings to do the "work of the farm" and that if they don't have such an environment Jones might come back. This scares the animals and therefore they have no choice but to support this action of the pigs.

Begging the question/circular reasoning: This is a technique that is meant to detract the one being manipulated by creating a fallacy, or false logic. The example used above about the pigs moving into the farmhouse uses the technique (as well as fear). When questioned about living in the farmhouse, they provide a false logic for the need and therefore have provided a circular reasoning by returning the question back to the animals (You don't want Jones to come back, now do you?)

Manipulation of information: This is done often in Animal Farm. When Squealer relays to the animals the productivity of the farms, as compared to the days when Jones ran it, the information is not accurate. But, it leads them to believe that things are so much better.

Ignorance of the masses: Keeping the general population ignorant about the truth keeps allows them to be manipulated. If you don't know any better, you are likely to accept what is told to you. Just as in the example above, because the animals are kept in the dark about what is really going on, they accept that the data Squealer relays is, in fact, true.

Faulty Cause and Effect: By falsely stating that one thing causes another, subjects can be manipulated to believe that it is actually true. The milk and apples disappearing is an example. When it is discovered that the milk and apples were consumed by the pigs because it is "brain food" and they need this to do the mental work of the farm, the animals believe it. Here, one can see how the techniques are used in conjunction because the animals need to be ignorant in order to accept this faulty cause and effect.

Bandwagon: This is a technique that plays on one's need to belong. It can be seen in advertising when statements like "3 out of 4 people use ______." People tend to follow what the bulk of people are doing. In the book, when the sheep, which are in great number, start to support the pigs, it causes many of the other animals to follow suit.

Slogans: Slogans are catchy phrases that are oversimplified. For example, in the book, the sheeps bleat "Four legs good, two legs bad" to convey that the humans are bad and the animals are all good.

Other techniqes are used but these are most prominent and they often work in conjunction in order to manipulate the animals in to thinking that Napolean is their great leader.