What literary techniques are used in the novel Animal Farm?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Animal farm is undoubtedly a "fairy story"  (its sub title) or fable as it relates the story of farm animals trying to survive. The animals possess human qualities and adopt human characteristics in the fight for what is rightfully theirs. A fable is an 

imaginative narrative, usually with animal characters, that illustrates a moral

and is a technique used because it is straightforward and easy to follow, the language usually being uncomplicated. The allegorical nature allows anyone to read the novel without the need to understand the historical significance although it

makes the characters easily identifiable for those who know the historic parallels.

An allegory is a form of extended metaphor as the comparison is sustained throughout. Orwell despised all forms of oppressive governance and was himself disillusioned by the abuse of power he had seen. In his allegorical fable then he uses satire to show his disapproval of the "system." Satire makes light of a very serious issue by making it almost ridiculous and is a literary technique widely used.

 The very fact that he uses animals with pigs as the leaders shows his lack of respect for Russia's leaders during the Revolution. He satirizes the way the communists (the pigs ) under Stalin (Napoleon), exploited the Russian people (the other animals) just as the Tsar (Mr Jones) had previously.

Irony features throughout in all its forms.  It is ironic that replacing one leadership type with another does not help the animals.

in those days they had been slaves and now they were free (Ch 9)

Ironically,it made no difference. Irony is obvious in the mantra" Some animals are more equal than others" and ultimately, it is ironic at the end when the pigs are indistinguishable from the humans and they toast not, Animal farm but to “The Manor Farm” .

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Above all, Animal Farm is an allegory. An allegory is a literary technique in which the author uses a fictional tale to make a serious political or moral point. In this case, Orwell fairly transparently intends for the story of the animals to represent the course of the Russian Revolution, which, like the uprising on Animal Farm, began as a reaction to tyrannical rule, and, motivated by an ideology (communism) that emphasized economic and social equality, attempted to establish an ideal society. Like the Russian Revolution, the leaders of the revolution, the pigs, are instrumental in corrupting its ideals and claiming tremendous power for themselves. By the end of the book, Animal Farm, like Stalin's Soviet Union, has become as brutal and tyrannical as the society that preceded it. Orwell means to make a serious political point using the story of the animals as an allegory for what happens when power is left unchecked, even when its aim is the promotion of equality.

The end of Animal Farm is also rife with irony, another literary device. By the end of the book, the animals cannot tell the difference between the pigs and the humans. This is because through their leadership of the "revolution," they have become corrupt, brutal, and greedy. The uprising, meant to establish equality, has concluded with the animals in the exact same position that they began. Obviously, Orwell perceives this irony in the revolution in Russia. He, like many other socialists in Europe, had once been cautiously optimistic about the revolution. As news of Stalin's abuses became known around the world, however, leftists like Orwell became disillusioned. It is this sense of disappointment that runs throughout Animal Farm.