What persuasive techniques are used in chapter 7 of Animal Farm?

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In chapter seven, Napoleon asserts his power more cleverly and brutally than ever before. In an effort to gain more power and control over his comrades, he seeks to change what they remember as their own history while also using fear, manipulation, and death to persuade everyone to accept his rule over them. It starts when Napoleon has clearly failed as a leader to provide for his comrades. During the winter, everyone is starving due to Napoleon's selfishness, and lack of planning and preparation. Rather than take responsibility for driving Animal Farm into the ground, Napoleon sends out Squealer to blame Snowball for sabotaging everything. By distracting the animals with gossip, rumors from the humans, and distorted facts, they become confused as to who is truly responsible for their plight. As a result of Squealer's speeches blaming Snowball for everything that goes wrong, the animals follow the unsubstantiated claims and spread more rumors.

"If a window was broken or a drain was blocked up, someone was certain to say that Snowball had come in the night and done it, and when the key of the storeshed was lost, the whole farm was convinced that Snowball had thrown it down the well" (70).

The animals are so easily persuaded to believe whatever Squealer tells them that they eventually help perpetuate the problem of spreading lies! It's always easier to blame someone else than take responsibility for one's own negligence; so this is one of the most persuasive techniques used by Squealer to get the animals on his and Napoleon's side.

Next, Napoleon uses fear and intimidation tactics to persuade his comrades to obey him. The dogs that he raised from when they were puppies are now his bodyguards and henchmen. One day Napoleon calls a farm meeting where the dogs force four pigs to confess that they had been in league with Snowball from the beginning and aided him with his treachery with Mr. Jones. The dogs slaughter them in front of everyone. Three hens, three sheep, and a goose are all slaughtered next for miscellaneous crimes in front of the whole farm. The demonstration by Napoleon shows those who remain living what will happen to them if they are not persuaded to obey him.

As a result of these tactics, no one dares say or do anything against Napoleon. Clover expresses her feelings about such persuasion as follows:

"If she could have spoken her thoughts, it would have been to say that this was not what they had aimed at when they had set themselves years ago to work for the overthrow of the human race. These scenes of terror and slaughter were not what they had looked forward to on that night when old Major first stirred them to rebellion. . . Instead. . . they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes" (77-78).

Clearly times had changed over the years because now the animals lived under a ruler who lies and threatens them with their lives if they disobey or question anything he says or does.



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