In George Orwell's novel Animal Farm, how is propaganda used? What are some examples of how Squealer uses propaganda?

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Squealer is a loyal supporter of Napoleon and a silver-tongued politician, who uses propaganda to manipulate and control the animals on the farm. As minister of propaganda and second-in-command, Squealer utilizes various techniques to influence the animals into accepting and supporting Napoleon's oppressive policies. Squealer utilizes name-calling propaganda to depict ...

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Squealer is a loyal supporter of Napoleon and a silver-tongued politician, who uses propaganda to manipulate and control the animals on the farm. As minister of propaganda and second-in-command, Squealer utilizes various techniques to influence the animals into accepting and supporting Napoleon's oppressive policies. Squealer utilizes name-calling propaganda to depict Snowball in a negative light, which contrasts with Napoleon's portrayal as their courageous, honest leader. Squealer refers to Snowball as a "traitor" and "criminal," who is dedicated to the demise of Animal Farm. Squealer also utilizes bandwagon propaganda by instructing the sheep to bleat "Four legs good, two legs bad," which interrupts the animals' thoughts and allows him to avoid logical arguments. Squealer also employs the plain folks propaganda technique by continually referring to the animals as comrades, which makes him seem like he is on their side and in their favor.

Squealer also utilizes testimonial propaganda by appealing to Napoleon as an authority figure when the animals challenge his arguments. For example, Squealer claims that Snowball was working with Mr. Jones during The Battle of the Cowshed, but Boxer disagrees. Squealer then appeals to Napoleon, who confirmed that Snowball was colluding with Mr. Jones the entire time. By continually blaming every problem or mistake on Snowball, Squealer uses him as a scapegoat. Squealer also utilizes euphemisms to distract the animals from the reality of their bleak situation. For example, Squealer refers to reductions in food rations as readjustments, which is a significantly less ominous term with a positive connotation. Overall, Squealer brilliantly utilizes various propaganda techniques to manipulate and control the animals into accepting and obeying Napoleon's policies.

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One of the most consistent themes in George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm is the way that propaganda is used to establish, enhance, and protect the power of Napoleon and the dictatorial regime he establishes. Squealer, the chief propagandist, plays an especially important role in advocating for, defending, and explaining the interests of this increasingly totalitarian state. Some examples of his behavior include the following:

  • When the other animals discover that the pigs are being better fed than the rest of the creatures, it is Squealer who does the explaining and justifying:

'Comrades!' he cried. ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.'

  • When Snowball is expelled from the farm and Napoleon assumes total leadership, it is Squealer who justifies the new arrangement.
  • When some of the animals try to defend Snowball from attack, it is Squealer who explains why Snowball does not deserve any praise.
  • It is Squealer who explains to the other animals that Napoleon had never really opposed construction of a windmill – a blatant lie.
  • It is Squealer who claims that Napoleon’s apparent opposition to the windmill was merely tactical, merely a clever ploy.
  • It is Squealer who claims that trading with humans is actually permissible. It is he who assures the skeptical animals that they are merely imagining prohibitions against such trading. Similarly, at one point the narrator reports that

the pigs suddenly moved into the farmhouse and took up their residence there. Again the animals seemed to remember that a resolution against this had been passed in the early days, and again Squealer was able to convince them that this was not the case. It was absolutely necessary, he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, should have a quiet place to work in.

  • Similar propaganda is needed when the other animals learn that the pigs are now sleeping in beds – a practice that had earlier been prohibited.  Squealer, of course, has a ready explanation:

'You have heard then, comrades,' he said, `that we pigs now sleep in the beds of the farmhouse? And why not? You did not suppose, surely, that there was ever a ruling against beds? A bed merely means a place to sleep in. A pile of straw in a stall is a bed, properly regarded. The rule was against sheets, which are a human invention. We have removed the sheets from the farmhouse beds, and sleep between blankets. And very comfortable beds they are too! But not more comfortable than we need, I can tell you, comrades, with all the brainwork we have to do nowadays.'

Many other examples of Squealer’s talents as a propagandist could easily be cited, but these are enough to show how propaganda is used in the novel to (1) justify the behavior of the ruling junta, (2) justify departures from the original ideals of the rebellion, (3) rewrite history, (4) justify the privileges of the rulers and intellectuals, and (5) justify the treatment of the junta’s enemies.

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