Sam DeLucaEnglish 1Ms. Cotter15 December 2017Allegorical Oppression Governments abuse their power by deceiving those who they are meant to serve, both in reality and fiction. This is evident in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a satirical book in which pigs lead an uprising of animals against their human tyrants in similar fashion of the Russian revolution against Czar Nicholas. The main pig characters, Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer, are meant to portray Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and the propaganda utilized to their benefit. Napoleon spreads false rumors to modify animal’s opinions of him and disguise his misdeeds. Snowball discreetly alters rules until his banishment from the farm. Squealer distorts rules on a regular basis, offering a clever impromptu saying when questioned about it by the animals. Subsequently all of these acts correspond with Russian revolution events. Orwell’s Animal Farm masterfully combines fiction and reality through allegory to prove that governments use propaganda to achieve and maintain control over their citizens. Governments manipulate, and eventually abandon the foundations upon which they are based to create more power for themselves, as seen with the modification of the Seven Commandments, correlating to the abandonment of the Russian Revolution ideas. The Seven Commandments are a collection of seven written laws which are the basis of the animal’s governance. Animals are required to memorize them by heart, however, some do not have the mental capacity to do so. Eventually, “‘Snowball declared that the Seven Commandments could in effect be reduced to a single maxim, namely: ‘four legs good, two legs bad.’ This, he said, contained the essential principle of Animalism” (33-34). This new maxim would be used as one of the pigs greatest assets. Whenever the pigs did something that would come into question, the constant repetition of this sole phrase served as a reminder to the animals that the pigs were right, and that their authoritarian ways should never come into question. This phrase, however, became modified into the pig-favoring propaganda of: “‘four legs good, two legs better!'” (134), to serve the pigs interest of walking on two legs and transitioning into humans. This act ensured the pig’s dominance over the other animals and that their superiority would never come into question. This is not the only thing the pigs manipulate to their advantage. The pigs physically altered the Seven Commandments. On a dark night, “…where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces. Squealer, temporarily stunned, was sprawling beside it, and near at hand there lay a lantern, a paintbrush, and an overturned pot of white paint” (108). Seeking to obtain power, the pigs manipulate the statutes that all the animals agreed on, without any other animal’s consent. Their willingness to perform this act validates their superiority over the animals and cements their position as rulers of the animals. For those animals believe they remember the altered commandments differently, the pigs simple explanation is that they remember the commandment wrong. Naturally, since the pigs are alway right, this propaganda is believed, and the animals continue to live underneath the deceptive, scheming ways of the pigs, refusing to rebut the pigs’ ways, ideas, and decisions. The animals’ unwillingness to dispute the pigs gives away all of the animals’ power, leading to the pigs dictatorship and eventual return to humankind way. This was seen in the Russian revolution after the Bolsheviks took charge, who abandoned the principles of freedom of speech, equity in law, and the right to organize. They were never disputed in their acts, and murdered at least fifty million people while in power.   By ousting and recharacterizing political enemies using propaganda, dictators, such as Stalin and Napoleon, solidify their standing as sole ruler of a government. On the farm, Snowball and Napoleon frequently dispute over how to rule Animal Farm, and the animals living on it can never decide who is right. This trend continued until Napoleon expels Snowball and proceeds to blame him for all mishaps on the farm. When the windmill inevitably fails, Napoleon states in a rage: “‘Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!'” (70). An obviously untrue and absurd statement is made at the hands of Napoleon in an attempt to reduce Snowball’s popularity, after he had been expelled from the farm. This action of Napoleon increases the likelihood of the animals gradually beginning to distrust Snowball and trust Napoleon, increasing Napoleon’s stronghold on dictatorship. Napoleon and the pigs continue to spread false information about Snowball, rewriting history, stating that, “‘The animals now also learned that Snowball had never- as many of them had believed hitherto- received the order of ‘Animal Hero, First Class'” (97). Another false statement was made, reclaiming the glory and and fame that had been given to Snowball. By defaming Snowball, Napoleon looks significantly better than him. This decreases the likelihood of the animals recognizing Napoleon’s poor, malicious leadership, in turn increasing his bastion on tyranny. The successful deception of the animals through this propaganda is crucial to the success of the pigs’ reign. Without propaganda, no government could survive, as the citizens would be mentally capable of recognizing a poor, deceptive, leader.   Administrations exploit citizen’s beliefs, such as religion, to secure people’s will towards executing state-mandated orders. Moses, the raven on Animal Farm, consistently promoted his religion and version of heaven. While watching the animals slave away at the pigs will, he would remark: “‘Up there, comrades,’ he would say solemnly, pointing to the sky with his large beak-‘up there, just on the other side of that dark cloud you can see-there it lies, Sugarcandy Mountain, that happy country where we poor animals shall rest for ever from our labours!’… Many of the animals believed him” (117). Moses is using his religion as propaganda to cause mischief and distract the animals from the pigs’ orders. However, the pigs find a way to use this to their advantage.  “A thing that was difficult to determine was the attitude of the pigs towards Moses. They all declared contemptuously that his stories about Sugarcandy Mountain were lies, and yet they allowed him to remain on the farm, not working, with an allowance of a gill of beer a day” (118). Externally, the pigs declare all religion as lies, seeing it as a threat to their superiority, something even more powerful and influential then they are. However, the pigs curiously allow Moses to remain, even allowing him rations of their sacred beer, demonstrating their appreciation to him. Despite their denouncing of Moses’ ways, they are glad he is expanding his religion as it increases the likelihood of animals working harder if they know they have something to work for. Without this, the animals would recognize the fact that they are living in an oppressive regime and have no motivation to work. Having a motivation makes the animals more likely to work harder to satisfy the pigs’ orders and accept miserable living conditions. This form of deception is common in governments. On the surface, it appears that the government is troubled by religion, while in reality, it greatly helps them maintain control over their citizens. Propaganda and deception are the keys to success of a government, whether fictional or authentic. The authority in Orwell’s writing use propaganda, and, as a result, remain the authority. The animals are confused by the government’s manipulative words, schemes, and actions, all various forms of propaganda. Their confusion only benefits the pigs, and affirm their gradual conversion into the ways of mankind, similar to the way in which the Communist Party’s rule became a more brutal, authoritarian regime that the Russian Czar’s rule was. Inevitably, no matter what foundations it was based upon, government will fail. What citizens do to fill the power vacuum will determine their future and well-being.

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