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Animal Farm; the Problematic Nature of Rhetoric

  • Date Submitted: 11/08/2012 05:03 AM
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1. How does Orwell explore the problem of rhetoric in Animal Farm? (Why speeches are problematic) Paying particular attention to the character of Squealer, how is language used as an instrument of social control? How do the pigs rewrite history?

THESIS speeches are problematic because they can be used to persuade, this quality of speeches can be taken advantage of by those with sinister or selfish intentions resulting in manipulation (of the truth) suffering for many people.

The problematic and complex nature of rhetoric is explored indepth in the book, Animal Farm, by George Orwell. These qualities of speech are depicted through several characters and language devices, and contribute to the progression of the plot throughout the book.

Firstly, the persuasive nature of speech is discussed during the early chapters of the novel. Old Major, an ageing boar at the Farm calls the animals together and gives a speech, proposing that the animals “get rid of man… and among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship,” using repetition to emphasise his point. This speech results in the animals being “[thrown] into the wildest excitement.. giving the animals on the farm a completely new outlook on life” with the use of metaphor emphasising the great extent of their change in belief due to the speech. Similarly, after the resulting successful rebellion on the farm, the leading pigs denounce all clothing as a mark of humans, resulting in boxer “fetching [his] small straw hat…and [flinging] it onto the fire” with alliteration being used to draw attention to the extent of his persuasion. Likewise, when the two new leaders, Snowball and Napoleon write up and give speeches about the new rules of the society, “All the animals nodded in complete agreement…[beginning] to learn the commandments by heart,” with the use of the latter colloquialism accentuating the resolve in the animals due to the speeches. Evidently, during the early parts of the novel, the...

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