What is an example of appearance versus reality in Animal Farm?

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belarafon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One very good example is the use of statistics and numbers to "prove" that the Animal Farm is a success, despite the evidence of hunger and poverty in the animals themselves. For the pigs, this becomes an important strategy because they are easily able to confuse and convince the other animals; the more Squealer talks, the more confused the animals get, until they can't help believing him. While earlier in the novel Squealer simply thinks fast and makes up stories, reading the "facts and figures" to prove that they are all better off is much more credible, and since most of the animals can't read, they are unable to argue.

Reading out the figures in a shrill, rapid voice, he proved to them in detail that they had more oats, more hay, more turnips than they had had in Jones's day, that they worked shorter hours, that their drinking water was of better quality, that they lived longer... They knew that life nowadays was harsh and bare, that they were often hungry and often cold, and that they were usually working when they were not asleep. But doubtless it had been worse in the old days.
(Orwell, Animal Farm, msxnet.org)

Like the Soviet Union, the pigs use these fake reports and figures to keep the populace satisfied while using up most of the resources themselves. The reality is what the animals experience every day: they are hungry and cold, and work twice as hard to support the pigs. The appearence -- not tangible, but instead simply assumed -- is that they are better off only because Jones is gone; Jones represents the myth of the terrible past, and so things must be better now.

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Queen Langosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Orwell revisits the theme of appearance versus reality through Animal Farm . Most broadly, the animals' revolution is undertaken in order to achieve freedom and equality, and while it initially appears that they have accomplished this, there are many underlying inequalities...

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