Animal Farm, The Significance Of Squealer Essay, Research Paper
The novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell,
is an allegory portraying the dangers of a totalitarian government. It
seeks to show how a society where all live completely equal has not been,
and cannot be achieved. Orwell, through the use of the character Squealer,
shows how propaganda can affect members of a communist society in a negative
way. By drawing parallels to events in communist Russia, Orwell’s Animal
Farm illustrates how propaganda was used to control the Soviet people by
deceiving them, threatening them and keeping them ignorant in an attempt
to maintain order. The story uses simple language to explain and expose
the corruption of communist Russia.
Throughout the story, Orwell uses Squealer
to illustrate how propaganda persuaded and victimized Russian citizens.
Squealer is a sly, crafty pig who is not only intelligent, but a manipulative
speaker as well. His cunning is key to the deception of the other animals.
In chapter three, Squealer deceives the animals of the farm for the first
time. The animals find out that the milk and apples are given solely to
the pigs, and Squealer is sent to explain the uneven distribution of farm
resources. “‘Comrades’ he cried. ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs
are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege?’” (Orwell 42)
He goes on to explain, ” ‘Milk and apples (this has been proved by science,
comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of
a pig. We pigs are brainworkers (42). Here, Squealer tries to convince
the animals that it’s for health reasons that they take the apples and
milk, but he tries to persuade them in other ways as well. Squealer continues,
” ‘The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us….
It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples’”(42).
Finally, he convinces them with fear. ” ‘Do you know what would happen
if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would
come back!’” (42) Here, Squealer frightens the animals into submission
with the threat of the return of Mr. Jones, the abusive farmer that was
driven out of the farm by the animals. Squealer is desperate to obtain
the apples and milk and will stop at nothing to manipulate the other animals
into believing that the pigs should be the sole recipients of this luxury.
By masking their true intentions by misleading the animals, the pigs are
soon able to acquire whatever they want with little resistance. Orwell
uses Squealer to represent the Pravda, the Russian newspaper controlled
by the government during Joseph Stalin’s regime. Orwell points out the
corruption of the Soviet authority in his criticism of the propaganda used
to subdue opposition from the masses. Orwell also criticizes the monopoly
of all Russian media by the government.
Squealer was the messenger of the government.
It was his responsibility to inform the animals of the arrangements of
labor distribution and any other relevant legislation or news. Orwell establishes
that a government-run publication as the only source of public information
will inevitably be biased. Napoleon, Orwell’s representation of the Soviet
dictator Joseph Stalin, stops his association with the animals in chapter
eight. “All orders were now issued through Squealer or one of the other
pigs” (89). Squealer is the only source of data the farm animals have.
The animals have no way to dispute or question any of the statistics he
delivered. “There were times when it seemed to the animals that they worked
longer hours and fed no better than they had in Jones’s day. On Sunday
mornings Squealer, holding a long strip of paper with his trotter, would
read out to them lists of figures proving that the production of every
class of foodstuff had increased by two hundred per cent, three hundred
per cent, or five hundred per cent as the case might be” (89). Squealer
is the liaison between the government and the public. Though the animals
believe they are being fed the same amount as when Mr. Jones was in power,
their government information source showed figures to the contrary that
the populace couldn’t dispute. Orwell was able to show that by keeping
the public in ignorance, communism can be carried out without interference.
In addition to being a corrupt media source, Orwell shows how the Pravda
was used completely as a tool to glorify Joseph Stalin and Communism as
well as slander capitalism and anyone that might oppose him.
Squealer is a pawn of the Animal Farm government.
He is the device by which Napoleon communicates with the people. Squealer
gives an account of government tidings that put Napoleon in a good light,
regardless of the accuracy. An example of Napoleon’s use of propaganda
for personal gain is in the explanation of the expulsion of Snowball. Snowball
is Orwell’s representation of Leon Trotsky, Stalin’s political nemesis
in Russia. Snowball and Napoleon disagree over nearly all political issues
as did Stalin and Trotsky. Trotsky was eventually exiled to Mexico just
as Snowball is exiled from Animal Farm. Squealer is employed by Napoleon
to slander his political enemy Snowball several times. In chapter five,
Squealer explains the new arrangements now that snowball has been expelled
and smoothes over the shock of his unexpected banishment. ” ‘Suppose you
had decided to follow Snowball with his moonshine of windwills- Snowball,
who as we now know, was no better than a criminal?’” (60) In Snowballs
defense, one of the animals reminds Squealer of his bravery at the Battle
of Cowshed, an ambush attack on the farm by Mr. Jones. Squealer responds
sharply, ” ‘And as to the Battle of Cowshed, I believe the time will come
when we shall find that Snowball’s part in it was much exaggerated’” (60).
Napoleon exercises Squealer’s speaking talents to vanquish all doubt of
the Snowball’s treachery and to elevate himself to a higher tier of importance
by exposing Snowball as a traitor. Orwell clearly finds fault with using
a mass publication to deceive the public. He points out Stalin’s unscrupulous
use of propaganda for his own personal gain, thus criticizing the inadequacy
of communism as an ideal society.
Animal Farm effectively displays the immorality
of propaganda and the injustice of communism. By the shady use of false
publications, Stalin was able coerce an entire nation into believing what
he wanted. He exploited his position as dictator and used the Pravda for
personal gain. Napoleon was able to enjoy the benefits of communism and
the luxuries of leadership, which is contradictory to the idea of a true
socialist society. In addition to his criticism of Stalin and Soviet leadership,
Orwell condemns the entire Russian government as well, for the Pravda was
controlled as much by the Russian parliament and communist party loyalists
as Joseph Stalin. It is clear that Orwell abhors the use of propaganda
and doesn’t believe it is possible to create a utopian civilization.