Examples of Propaganda in "Animal Farm"

Written by mark bouton
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Examples of Propaganda in "Animal Farm"
The farmhouse was the symbol of power and control in Orwell's "Animal Farm." (barn image by Cathy Kovarik from Fotolia.com)

Written and published in 1945 by English author George Orwell, "Animal Farm" was intended to be an allegorical story in regard to the Russian Revolution. Within the story itself, there are indeed examples of propaganda referring to the ideals of the era. Orwell used the characters and setting of "Animal Farm" to explain how political propaganda can unravel the fabric of society.

The Farmhouse

George Orwell uses the idea of the farmhouse as the structure of power. Those who reside in it are the higher class and those who reside outside are the lower working class. After the animals revolt, it is the pigs who move into the farmhouse thereby assuming control of the farm. The pigs were symbols of Russian leaders and they managed to persuade the other animals that it was in their best interest that the pigs, being the smarter animals, moved into the farmhouse through lies and manipulation.

The Seven Commandments

The animals live by a code of seven commandments, which are "whatever goes on two legs is an enemy, whatever goes on four legs or has wings is a friend, no animal shall wear clothes, no animal shall sleep in a bed, no animal shall drink alcohol, no animal shall kill any other animal and all animals are equal." At one point in the story, the pigs decide to condense all seven commandments into one, "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." The pigs dictate these laws to the other animals as propaganda believing that repetition of hearing and saying these laws will make the farm animals accept them as truth.

Law Manipulation

Over time, the other farm animals began to realise that many of their rules are being changed, allowing the pigs a firmer hold on farm. The pigs Squealer and Napoleon are consistently breaking the rules throughout the entire story and so the commandments are always being altered so that their actions may be condoned. The other animals begin questioning whether the pigs are being fair and equal at all.

A Common Enemy

The commandment "Whatever goes on two legs is an enemy" can be viewed as a means to unite the animals with a common enemy or a type of "animalism." Old Major, a pig, promises in a speech to the other animals that it would be in their best interest if they follow his lead to overthrow the humans. Again, we see how the lies and manipulation of one are being used the gain the confidence of the others.


Over the course of time the animals realise that they have been shamelessly exploited by the pigs. It was only a matter of time before the pigs themselves were viewed as evil as the humans they rebelled against in the first place. The allegory here might very well be "Absolute power corrupts, absolutely."

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