In Animal Farm, Squealer is Napoleon’s right-hand man, in charge of verbally conveying Napoleon’s commands to the other animals. Squealer is an allusion to the Soviet newspaper, Pravda, which disseminated pro-Stalin propaganda to the people.
In order to fulfill his role on the farm, and to increase the pigs’ power, Squealer uses a number of propaganda techniques.
Let’s take a look at some of these:
Remember in Chapter Two when Napoleon steals the milk? Well, when it is revealed that the pigs have been mixing it into their mash (along with some apples), Squealer justifies this decision with a bit of false science:
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.
In Chapter Eight, to fool the animals into believing that life is better under the pigs than it was under Mr. Jones (which it isn’t, by the way), Squealer bombards the animals with false statistics:
On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding down 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.
Notice how whenever something goes wrong on the farm, Squealer blames Snowball? (Even though it’s never his fault):
“Comrades!” cried Squealer, making little nervous skips, “a most terrible thing has been discovered. Snowball has sold himself to Frederick of Pinchfield Farm, who is even now plotting to attack us and take our farm away from us! Snowball is to act as his guide when the attack begins.
Snowball even gets the blame for destroying the windmill, even though it was the wind that blew it down.
Squealer loves nothing more than terrifying the animals into believing that if they do not obey the pigs, Mr. Jones will come back. Here’s an example from Chapter Six when Squealer uses propaganda to justify the pigs’ decision to sleep in beds:
“You would not have us too tired to carry out our duties? Surely none of you wishes to see Jones back?”
Have you noticed how Squealer is often described as moving around while he talks to the animals? Look at this example from Chapter Nine when Squealer is lying to the animals about Boxer’s death:
It was almost unbelievable, said Squealer, that any animal could be so stupid. Surely, he cried indignantly, whisking his tail and skipping from side to side, surely they knew their beloved Leader, Comrade Napoleon, better than that?
This skipping from side and side and whisking the tail distracts the animals from what Squealer is saying because they are focusing on his movements instead of his words.
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