What do the public confessions and executions represent?  

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

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From a historical point of view, I would say that the public confessions and executions that follow represent the Stalinist purges.  Stalin used the purges as a way to consolidate his own control and the power he held over the people.  He used them as a way to eliminate dissent and silence any potential criticisms of he and his governing.  In Orwell's work, Napoleon uses them in much the same way.  He is concerned with identifying anyone who spoke out or acted against him.  Napoleon is driven to keep them silent, and to ensure that there is total devotion and obedience to what he says and does.  In bringing out the public confessions and executions, Napoleon is able to make a statement about how things will function on the farm.  This represents his own desire to consolidate control at all costs, a line drawn that clearly demarcates where order and structure lie on the farm.  Napoleon's actions in chapter  seven demonstrate and represents his utter brutality and the fact that he is not afraid to doing what he has to do in order to ensure allegiance and absolute conformity to he and his reign.

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