S5 ANIMAL FARM Good Morning S5! Today we are going to... Think about Orwell’s attitude to language. Think about the power of language and how it can corrupt. Look at speeches by Old Major and Squealer. Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) 1903 – 1950. Born in India to British parents. The book questions whether a focus of power in one person is healthy for a society. Perhaps the largest overriding theme in "Animal Farm" is the famous quote by Lord Acton, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.“ Orwell’s views on language Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing regularly; (avoid cliche) Never use a long word when a short one will do; If it’s possible to cut a word out always cut it out; Never use the passive where you can use the active; Never use a foreign phrase, scientific word or jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent; Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. Orwell’s attitude to language Key Point One Orwell tells his tale simply – without long or ornate description of figurative language. Why is this important? Allegory An allegory is a story in which simple characters are made to represent ideas or the ways particular types of people might behave in the real world. Eg. Manor Farm represents the corrupt state, Napoleon represents Stalin etc. They are often simple stories or fairy tales. It is like an extended metaphor – one subject representing another. For an allegory to be effective it must be subtle yet obvious to the discerning reader what the object of writing is. Irony Orwell frequently uses irony to make readers think about the motives and morals of the characters in the story. We see that something is ironic when we are able to understand something better than those actually involved in what’s going on. For example, we can see through Napoleon’s behaviour in a way the animals can’t. Irony Look at pages 45-46. Where is the irony in this passage? Orwell and Language One of Orwell’s central concerns in Animal Farm , is the way in which language can be manipulated as an instrument of control. In Animal Farm, the pigs gradually twist and distort a rhetoric of socialist revolution to justify their behaviour and to keep the other animals in the dark. The animals heartily embrace Major’s visionary ideal of socialism, but after Major dies, the pigs gradually twist the meaning of his words. Old Major’s speech Pages 3-8. Old Major = Lenin (a revolutionary thinker who established the principles on which the Russian Revolution was based.) Read his speech and highlight techniques he uses to make his speech persuasive/effective. Old Major’s Speech Simple language Addresses animals as ‘comrades’ – a word that is associated with the Russian Revolution and has connotations of friendliness combined with military ideas. Repetition (comrades) makes speech persuasive. Emotive – emphasises degradation animals are suffering. Inflammatory – words like ‘slaughtered’, ‘misery’, ‘slavery’, ‘cruelty’. Rhetorical questions Squealer “The others said of Squealer that he could turn black into white.” Squealer = the propagandist/party spokesman. He uses language to distort the truth, cover up meaning and justify Napoleon’s actions. Read page 23 and comment on Squealer’s oratory techniques. Why is his name significant? Squealer He mentions the doubts of the animals in the form of a question that makes them sound unworthy. Uses questionable scientific evidence. False logic; if the pigs don’t eat the apples, they wouldn’t be doing their duty. Their duty is to prevent Jones’ return...so they must eat the apples. But the apples would be good for everyone! Rhetorical question to make animals feel guilty.
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