"Those who control the information control the people." How does Orwell's Animal Farm show this to be true?

Expert Answers
kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Animal Farm, there are numerous examples of how the control of information enables the control of the animals. Arguably, it is best reflected by the pigs, particularly Napoleon and Squealer, who create a dictatorship on Animal Farm and use propaganda to justify their status and the exploitation of others.  

In Chapter Two, for instance, Napoleon steals some milk and the animals later learn that it is to be mixed into the pigs' mash. Similarly, an order is issued that all apples are to be collected and distributed among the pigs. These acts violate the principles of Animalism, which emphasises the equality of all animals, but, when questioned, Squealer steps forward with justification for this unequal distribution of resources. He argues that pigs need milk and apples because they promote good health, not because the pigs enjoy eating them. To quell any further hint of rebellion, he alludes to the return of the tyrannical Mr Jones: 

Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back!

This implication so terrifies the animals that they immediately accept the decision to give the milk and apples to the pigs, thereby proving that propaganda and intimidation can be used successfully as a means of control.

Similarly, in Chapter Six, the pigs move out of the barn and into the farmhouse, despite agreeing that no animal should ever live there. Again, Squealer provides the ideological justification for this decision: 

It was absolutely necessary, he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, should have a quiet place to work in. It was also more suited to the dignity of the Leader...to live in a house than in a mere sty. 

By controlling the animal's perception of the pigs, Squealer again convinces them to accept the decision without complaint. We see evidence of this in Boxer's reaction: "Napoleon is always right." Controlling information as a means of controlling the people is, therefore, a very accurate description of life on Animal Farm.