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Animal Farm - Writer's Technique.

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by

Alex Campbell

on 6 December 2015

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Transcript of Animal Farm - Writer's Technique.

Animal Farm - Writer's Technique.

Why does Orwell do what he does and why does it work?
The structure of Animal Farm

The animals start off being oppressed by a drunk and neglectful master - Jones
The animals end up being oppressed by a drunk and neglectful master - Napoleon and his pigs
It has a simple chronological structure like most fairy stories so it is easy to follow (except they don't all live happily ever after)
The structure allows the reader to see the gradual decline of Animalism as each of the Seven Commandments are undermined by Napoleon as he takes control
The events are cyclical - the beginning is very similar to the end
The farm changes name from Manor to Animal to Manor (So nothing changed then)
The pigs "melt" and become indistinguishable from the men
REMEMBER A REVOLUTION IS A COMPLETE CIRCLE YOU END UP WHERE YOU STARTED!!


Did you spot the following ?

Jones is a drunk "drinking more than was good for him" at the start of the book
AND
Napoleon becomes drunk telling his guests to fill their "glasses to the brim" at the end of the book
Old Major teaches the animals "Beasts of England" as a revolutionary song to inspire the Animals
BUT
Napoleon bans it and it becomes once again a revolutionary song but it is sung in private and hummed quietly
Old Major warns
Boxer
that when he is old Jones will sell him to the knacker's yard where he will be killed AND when Boxer becomes ill Napoleon......you know the rest
Allegory and Fable

An allegory is a story which uses its characters and events to symbolise something else
This makes it easier for readers to understand difficult ideas
Animal Farm is based on complicated Russian History but acts as a warning about giving leaders too much power as it will corrupt them
Jones and Napoleon both represent leaders who abuse their power and they are both greedy, selfish and cruel
The Animal represent inequality - specifically the poor peasants and workers in Russia who believed that they could change their lives but they had no real power against their leader
Animal Farm is a
Beast Fable
which uses animals to teach a moral lesson


Narrative Style - or how is it written?

The narrator doesn't directly influence the reader
Simple unemotional language is used and only describes what the working animals see
The reader is left to make up their own mind about events (eg good for the pigs for taking the milk and apples they saw an opportunity or what happened to all animals are equal?)
The narrator is detached and his thoughts are controlled. Remember that the pigs twist language so it is essential that the narrator does not appear to be doing this
The narrator gives the reader information to enable us to make judgements - but then that is what the pigs do. They control the information!!
We see the story unfold from the working animals' point of view
How many times do you think "how could they be so stupid?" - this is deliberate it is to make us see how naive they are
We can draw conclusions - they can't.
REMEMBER THE SIMPLER THE LANGUAGE THE MORE SHOCKING IT CAN BE-THINK ABOUT THE DESRIPTION OF THE BETRAYAL OF BOXER OR THE EXECUTION OF THE REBELLIOUS ANIMALS
Satire and Irony

Irony is when you say one thing but mean the opposite
The subtitle of the book is "A Fairy Story" - but it is ironic because there is no happy ending for the "good characters". They do not live happily ever after
Squealer is often ironic "you do not imagine I hope that we pigs are doing this in the spirit of selfishness." Orwell uses irony to show how language can be manipulated
Dramatic irony is used several time when we know what the animals do not understand
Satire pokes fun at people and ideas. This is done by exaggerating and making them seem ridiculous. It is often funny but serious
By comparing political leaders to pigs Orwell is making a satirical comment
The foolish workers who knew what was going on but didn't speak out are satirised as sheep
Satire disguises criticism.


Talking Animals - serious study!!
How the animals speak reflects their position on the farm. Look carefully at any section in the book.

Simple Characters
The sheep are manipulated by the pigs and have no ideas of their own. They simply repeat "Four legs good, two legs bad" to "drown out debate" which they can't participate in
Boxer repeats "I will work harder" showing he is unable to think for himself

Powerful Characters
Old Major uses political and rhetorical language. He uses emotional appeals "I feel my duty". He uses lists of three and rhetorical questions. The animals listen attentively
Snowball uses emotional language when he makes a "passionate appeal" about the windmill. A good speaker is a threat to Napoleon
Squealer is the master of persuasive language. He makes the other animals believe anything by distorting facts and rewriting history

As Napoleon gains authority so does his language
Not much of a talker but as the novel proceeds he makes political speeches using fear and persuasive techniques
He becomes more creative in his language and blames everything on Snowball
He uses names like "father" to imply he cares which are just ironic to the reader

Symbolism In "Animal Farm"

Songs and chants are used at the start of the book to unite the animals. By the end they are used to brainwash and control the animals!

"Beasts of England"
Summarises Old Major's ideals
It is patriotic and inspiring. Reflects the hope that the animals will be free
As Napleon's reign of terror takes hold the song once again unites the animals and used for hope
It is banned as "it no longer has any purpose" - which suggests that Animalism is no more!

Other songs/chants/poems
Napoleon creates a legend for himself through poems "giver of/All thet thy creatures love"
He encourages the chanting of slogans to keep those who can think from thinking
Songs are easily remembered and sung so the ideas are repeated without any real focus on the meaning

Rituals become meaningless

At the start of the book medals given to animals for bravery
BUT
at the end of the book Napoleon awards himself the "Order of the Green Banner" for nothing. Awards are meaningless
Rituals such as firing the gun create a sense of pride in past achievements
BUT
the "Spontaneous Demonstrations" of devotion to Napoleon were just celebrations of him
Titles and rituals were used to unite the animals in a common purpose
BUT
at the end they were just for the glorification of Napoleon and used as a means of control

Symbolism Part two

Symbols of Slavery are used by pigs and humans

The song "Beasts of England" lists the symbols of slavery - harness, rings and whips
After the revolution these are "flung down the well" symbolising freedom, even though they still have to follow orders
By the end of the novel Napoleon carries a whip symbolising that he is in control and is just like the hated man

Guns symbolise violence

At the start of the book humans use guns to control the animals. After the revolution they destroy them as a symbol of freedom form oppression
After the Battle of the Cowshed the captured gun is fired on the anniversary to represent victory over the old ways
When Napoleon takes up weapons it is a sign that things are going backwards and he is becoming more humanised
The animals have to use violence to overthrow man but it is not natural to them - think of Boxer's reaction to injuring the stable boy. Violence however creeps back onto the farm

The Flag symbolises Freedom

The flag symbolises freedom
The green symbolises "Green Fields" and the "hoof and horn" represents the unity of animals
In the final chapter the horn and hoof are removed - symbolising that the ordinary animals no longer have any power
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