What euphemism was used to convince the animals that they were not really receiving less food than they had under Jones in Animal Farm by George Orwell?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Early in the novella Animal Farm by George Orwell, the pigs begin to act better than the other animals, even though the motto on the farm is "all animals are equal." As the story progresses, the pigs take more and give the animals less. The animals are more bewildered than anything else; however, to keep the animals from getting angry and rebelling, the pigs send Squealer to spread propaganda ("turn black into white") which they hope will pacify them. 

At several points in the story, Squealer uses very impressive-sounding false facts and figures to convince the hungry animals that they are actually getting more food now than they did when Jones was here. The animals are unsure but generally believe him. By chapter nine, though, things are really difficult and the animals are starving. Everyone's rations have once again been cut--except, of course, for the dogs and pigs. Squealer has to try to explain away their complaints.

A too rigid equality in rations, Squealer explained, would have been contrary to the principles of Animalism. In any case he had no difficulty in proving to the other animals that they were not in reality short of food, whatever the appearances might be. For the time being, certainly, it had been found necessary to make a readjustment of rations (Squealer always spoke of it as a "readjustment," never as a "reduction"), but in comparison with the days of Jones, the improvement was enormous.

Squealer uses the euphemism "readjustment of rations" to disguise the truth that the animals are going to get less to eat. He does not stop there, talking quickly in an attempt to hide the truth. He "proves" to them that they have more food, work less, have better drinking water, live longer, have more children who live through infancy, have more comfortable stalls, and have less trouble with fleas. It works.

The animals believed every word of it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial