Rhetoric in Animal Farm by George Orwell
This essay will analyze the use of rhetoric in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” It will explore how Orwell uses persuasive language and allegory to critique totalitarian regimes and propaganda. The piece will discuss key rhetorical strategies employed in the novel and their effectiveness in conveying Orwell’s political message. On PapersOwl, there’s also a selection of free essay templates associated with Animal Farm.
How it works
What if the roles of life were reversed? Imagine for a second that animals had the authority of the world instead of humans. This exaggeration was demonstrated on a smaller scale in the novella Animal Farm, written by George Orwell. The rhetorical devices in Animal Farm help the reader understand how a common situation would look if flipped upside down. Working until exhaustion, the animals lived on the Manor Farm without any thoughts of a new life. That is until the oldest boar on the farm, Old Major, held a meeting to discuss a dream he had. The dream inspired him to lead the discussion of a rebellion where animals overthrow human beings. Old Major used various rhetorical devices in Animal Farm, such as ethos, pathos, and logos, to manipulate and convince the other animals that a rebellion would be for the greater good. Unfortunately, every rise has its fall — every hierarchy has anarchy. An Animal Farm rhetorical analysis is necessary to understand this system.
When delivering his speech, Old Major used his reputation to his advantage. Using his ethos (a technique to display power or authority), Old Major was able to connect with his audience. Throughout the beginning of Animal Farm, Old Major was described as being highly regarded compared to the other animals. Old Major said, “I have had a long life, I have had much time for thought as I lay alone in my stall, and I think I may say that I understand the nature of life on this earth as well as any animal now living” (Orwell 2). This quote gives the impression that Old Major is knowledgeable to the other animals on the farm. Just as today in society, the animals feel obligated to listen to him because he is established; they believe anything he says must be truthful and hold significant meaning.
How it works
Once Major had the animals’ attention, he continued the speech with a different technique. Old Major used the persuasion method of pathos, which means he connected to the animals emotionally to make them intrigued. Orwell wrote him, saying, “I do not think, comrades, that I shall be with you for many months longer”(2). Old Major feels his long life is coming to an end. By sharing this with the other animals, they feel sympathetic for Old Major. Making them more willing to do whatever he asks of them. He demonstrates how the animals have lived under the watch of Mr. Jones by using “we” and “our.” Old Major switched his style of rhetorical appeal, one of the examples of rhetorical appeals in Animal Farm, to persuade the others.
By using this method, Old Major expresses problems that are shared. This common ground is something he can draw from to win the affection of his audience. Old Major talks about problems that have plagued the farm animals for a long time, but he was never majorly affected by them. He even takes note of this in his speech by saying, “For I myself do not grumble, for I am one of the lucky ones” (Orwell 3). This is quite odd because he was trying to call himself one of them, even though he did not experience similar hardships.
The five literary devices in Animal Farm are alliteration, metaphor, simile, personification, and onomatopoeia.
A rhetorical question is a question that is asked for effect, rather than to elicit an answer. In Animal Farm, an example of a rhetorical question would be when Napoleon asks, “Do you think I am afraid of you?”
Some persuasive techniques used in Animal Farm are fear, propaganda, and scapegoating. Other techniques used are rhetoric, repetition, and simplification.