In Chapter 6 of Animal Farm by George Orwell, Napoleon and the pigs make decisions that seem to go against the early resolutions made by the animals following the revolution. In order to keep the other animals pacified, Squealer must manipulate them into believing that the pigs are doing nothing wrong.
In this chapter, Squealer uses gaslighting to make the animals question their own memory. As defined by Encyclopædia Britannica, gaslighting is:
an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation. . . . Its effect is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings.
Napoleon announces that they will trade with neighboring farms, which causes some uneasiness, and the animals remember early resolutions to not have dealings with humans. Squealer uses gaslighting to make the animals question their enemy, and he convinces them the resolution never existed:
Afterwards Squealer made a round of the farm and set the animals’ minds at rest. He assured them that the resolution against engaging in trade and using money had never been passed, or even suggested. It was pure imagination, probably traceable in the beginning to lies circulated by Snowball. A few animals still felt faintly doubtful, but Squealer asked them shrewdly, “Are you certain that this is not something that you have dreamed, comrades? Have you any record of such a resolution? Is it written down anywhere?” And since it was certainly true that nothing of the kind existed in writing, the animals were satisfied that they had been mistaken.
Squealer does this again when the pigs move into the farmhouse:
It was about this time that the pigs suddenly moved into the farmhouse and took up their residence there. Again the animals seemed to remember that a resolution against this had been passed in the early days, and again Squealer was able to convince them that this was not the case. It was absolutely necessary, he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, should have a quiet place to work in.
Linguistic manipulation comes into play when Clover and Muriel read the Fourth Commandment after hearing that the pigs are now sleeping in beds.
“You have heard then, comrades,” he said, “that we pigs now sleep in the beds of the farmhouse? And why not? You did not suppose, surely, that there was ever a ruling against beds? A bed merely means a place to sleep in. A pile of straw in a stall is a bed, properly regarded. The rule was against sheets, which are a human invention. We have removed the sheets from the farmhouse beds, and sleep between blankets."
Squealer argues that they are allowed to sleep in the beds in the farmhouse because they are not using sheets—although sleeping between blankets is basically using sleeps. He claims that sheets are not allowed because they are a human invention, ignoring that the bed frame and blankets are human inventions as well.
It is also important to note that "Clover had not remembered that the Fourth Commandment mentioned sheets; but as it was there on the wall, it must have done so," therefore implying that the pigs added on the mention of sheets simply so they could manipulate the other animals into believing it was okay for the pigs to sleep there.