Manipulation as a Means of Control in George Orwell’s Animal Farm Download PDF

Journal Name : SunText Review of Arts & Social Sciences

DOI : 10.51737/2766-4600.2024.067

Article Type : Short commentary

Authors : Mbon A

Keywords : Manipulation; Means; Control; Dictator; Dystopia


This article investigates manipulation as a means of control in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Animal Farm. It purports to demonstrate how the pigs shape the mentality of the people symbolized by animal characters in this political allegory intentionally to gain, maintain and control power. In fact, this work sheds light on the Napoleonic maxim that the world suffers a lot, not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people. Today, though this allegory is a hackneyed work just like its themes, it, however, remains topical because it discusses the ever-growing abuses of political leaders over impotent peoples. The exploration of this novella understandably displays huge inequalities as the exploitation of the masses continues at varying levels in different countries around the world, even today. To do this, there is recourse to the historical approach since it involves understanding between other things, the events surrounding the composition of a work, like the Russian Revolution on which this work is based, using the findings to interpret that work of literature.


Manipulation; Means; Control; Dictator; Dystopia


Manipulation is the relevant and most obvious motif of Orwell’s masterpiece because the pigs, known as the ruling class, manipulate the other animals in order to indoctrinate and achieve their ultimate control over them. The prevalence of manipulation would not be possible without the lack of education of the other animals and their gullibility. Thus, this lack of literacy proves to be one of the most important reasons animals are subjugated, manipulated and forced to false trials, confessions and blind acceptance, and prone to control. They are too trusting and unsure of their own ability to comprehend what they have been told by Old Major, and so rely on the pigs to interpret his words for them. Manipulation in the eyes of farm animals results in the inability of the other animals to realize the extent of their suffering, vulnerability and unhopeful tone under the leadership of the pigs. The farm is controlled solely by the pigs disabling the other animals to realize their situation in life. At this point, the hope for a better life is unattainable; now the animals seem to lose control of their fate in their own hands for, the pigs have a very different vision for the future of ‘’Animalism’’. Orwell’s portrayal of manipulation urges me to put the following fundamental question: What are some early signs of manipulation as a means of control in Orwell’s dystopian novel Animal Farm? The author’s reference to Animal potential ignorance, the Tamed raven Moses’s Sugar Candy Mountain story, false confessions and blind acceptance, and the use of fear tactics to control push me to hypothesize that they are signs of manipulation as a means of control in Orwell’s account. We find it necessary to resort to the sociological approach, psychological and Marxist approaches. As for the sociological approach, most of literary critics have taken some accounts of relation of individual authors to the circumstances of the social and cultural area in which they live and write as well as of the relation of a literary work to the segment of society that its fiction represents or to which the work is addressed. This means that sociological criticism considers the novel as being a social product. They analyze and interpret the relationship that characters have with their counterparts in a given society. They also study the way the author recreates the community he or she belongs to within a work of fiction as Toni Morrison (1984, 339) writes about her own novels: “If anything l do, in the way of writing novel or whatever l write is not about the village or the community or about you (The African Americans), then it is not about anything’’. As it can be seen, Toni Morrison confesses that the writer, whoever he may be, does not write in a vacuum, but is inspired by his society. This means that the novelist reconstructs the experience of people in a given society. Very often, when we go through a given novel, we discover that what the writer has done is a depiction of a society with its people, the relations that these have among them and with the land or community in which they live. 

It is indeed in this regard that Krutch (Krutch, quoted by Scott: 1963, 123) writes

Sociological criticism starts with a conviction that art's relations to society are vitally important and that the investigation of these relationships may organize and deepen one’s aesthetics response to a work of art. Art is not created in a vacuum; it is the work not simply of a person, but of an author fixed in time and space, answering to a community of which he is an important. Because articulate part. The sociological critic, therefore, is interested in understanding the social milieu and the extent to which and manner in which the artist responds to it. The psychological approach or psychoanalytic criticism is associated with the appearance of Sigmund Freud's early time in the first half of the twentieth century. It is indeed the application of Freudian theories to all literary processes from the mind of the writer and motives of characters he creates to the reaction. This approach helps people analyze not only the spiritual link that characters have with their community, but also the work itself. One will understand the work by examining conflicts, characters, dream sequences and symbols. In this sense, the psychological approach or psychoanalytic theory of literature is similar to the formalist approach.

In reference to this approach, Wilbur Scott (1962, 71-72), states [8]

Psychology, of course enables biographers to speculate upon ‘’the interior’’ part of life. The criticism that employs this approach assumes that an important part of the relationship artist and art is similar to that between patient and dream, (…) psychology can be used to explain fictitious characters. Lastly, Marxist Criticism is a strongly politically-oriented criticism, deriving from the theories of the social philosopher Karl Marx. Marxist critics insists that all use of language is influenced by social class and economics. It directs attention to the idea that all language makes ideological statements about things like class, economics, race, and power, and the function of literary output is to either support or criticize the political and economic structures in place. Some Marxist critics use literature to describe the competing socioeconomic interests that advance capitalistic interests such as money and power over socialist interest such as morality and justice. Because of this focus, Marxist Criticism focuses on content and theme rather than form. It is keen to observe how classes are represented in literature and what is more, how class distinctions are reinforced.

In the light of this logic, Barry (2002, 108), opines

Marxist Theory as established in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Engels highlights the prevailing socioeconomic situation and encourages the formation of a society devoid of class. It postulates a classless society, based on the principles of common ownership. Four main points are discussed in this paper. The first focuses on Animals’ potential ignorance. The second scrutinizes the Tamed raven Moses Sugar candy Mountain Story, the third evaluates false confessions and blind acceptance and the fourth examines the use of fear tactics to control.

Animals’ potential ignorance

Ignorance is an important theme in Orwell’s Animal Farm. To better understand pigs’ manipulation as a means of control, it is important to go through this potential ignorance too. It is explained as a lack of knowledge or information about something. In another way, it is a way to not to do what should be done or a way of laissez-faire. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the other animals, considered as the citizens of this society make a large to potential ignorance chapter other chapter, relying only on their leaders, the pigs gradually take advantage of this potential ignorance to lie, deceive and manipulate them. The other animals, too illiterate as they are, cannot remember the original version of the commandments written on the wall of the big barn as it is asserted in the following passage.

None of the other animals on the farm could get further than the letter A. It was also found that the stupidest animals, such as the sheep, hens, and ducks, were unable to learn the seven commandments by heart. After much thought Snowball declared that the seven commandments could in effect be reduced to a single maxim, mainly: ‘Four legs good, two legs bad’’ This, he said contained the essential principle of Animalism. Whoever had thoroughly grasped it would be safe from human influences. (p.21) from this passage, one sees how potentially ignorant the animals are since they are unable to memorize even the first four letters of the alphabet. It demonstrates how Snowball finds it important for his fellow comrades to learn this maxim given that they are not able to read, write or retain those commandments which govern the farm animals in order not only to adopt human vices, but also to not be manipulated by the rulers. However, because of their intellectual superiority, the pigs who rule the farm manipulate the other animals. When comrade Napoleon overthrows his fellow comrade Snowball, he eventually adopts human vices and manipulates animals. Their ignorance does not help them be really aware of pigs’ manipulation and about what they know or what Snowball said in the earlier days when the commandments were set up and loudly read by Snowball. Again, the animals are too ignorant in the sense that they are unable to realize that they are not working for the pigs, but not for themselves and they cannot make up their minds to notice that the pigs are secretly manipulating them. By doing so, the pigs exploit, manipulate and enslave them too much that they give them little food only as illustrated by Davis (2010, p.10) in this passage.

What are living conditions like for all of the animals except the pigs and dogs? The animals are working harder than ever and are given less food. Ration is cut repeatedly, a “readjustment’’ according to Squealer, who uses more facts and figures to prove how well off the animals are. And the other animals believe it!

This quotation enlightens how conditions of life worsen because not only the pigs exploit, enslave and manipulate the other animals for their own profit, but also by giving little food which will prevent them from starving, to recall Major’s words. As the work on the farm increases, Napoleon imposes them willingly volunteer if not their ration is cut eventually. Squealer manages himself to give them hope, holding a large list to prove the improvement of their production which increases in accordance with the production of the stuff. Too ignorant, they cannot even remember whether the living conditions are better now than during Jones’s time. This Animal potential ignorance leads to the failure of their society because even Benjamin, who can read as well as the pigs, does not seem to speak. Her position of never complain retains the reader’s attention to think that she is afraid, but why does she not react? It is because she knows that even though she can reveal it to her fellow comrades, it will not have any effect. Or again perhaps she thinks that sooner or later, justice will be done. The author uses this potential ignorance in his masterpiece to mock any society for not reacting against manipulation or something the masses should react to. Orwell, by doing so, wants any society to arm itself as it is depicted as follows.

Orwell’s message is a warning that a society needs to arm itself with knowledge in order to protect itself from its own government. People who are ignorant are likely to become oppressed because they have no way of protecting or fighting for their rights. Through this quotation, the reader discovers that ignorance leads to manipulation and oppression and so, knowledge is power. Unfortunately, those animals are too ignorant and their illiteracy makes them be easily deceived, manipulated, oppressed and controlled by the pigs. Orwell scrutinizes this potential ignorance to condemn the Soviet citizens for not reacting against Stalinist’s manipulation and oppression towards them. Apart from animals’ potential ignorance, the tamed raven Moses’s Sugar candy mountain Story is another mean of manipulation that will be discussed in the coming section.

The tamed raven Moses sugar candy mountain story

To begin with, the Tamed raven Moses is George Orwell’s Animal Farm “religious figure’’ and “Sugar candy Mountain’’ is seen as a utopian world where all hard working is rewarded. Then, like his biblical counterpart, Moses offers his listeners or the other animals the descriptions of a place Sugar Candy Mountain where they can live free from oppression, hunger, exploitation and manipulation. In Animal Farm, the tamed raven Moses also embodies this sign of manipulation and represents an organized religion on the farm animals used by the pigs to deceive, manipulate and control the other animals. Since Mr. Jones’s time, he had been a spy used not only to blind the animals, but also to manipulate and prevent them from protesting as they were completely enslaved or controlled. He is a character able to convince the other animals with his Sugar Candy Mountain Story, which claims that there is a better place up to the sky full of sweets and where all animals go after the earth’s life or death. Through this tale, Jones used Moses to manipulate the animals by forcing them to accept their present miserable conditions and believing only in that coming life up to the sky. There, all animals will be free and enjoy their times, as the writer describes it in the following passage:

Moses, who was Mr. Jones’s special pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugar Candy Mountain, to which all went when they died it was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. (p.10)

After reading this quotation, the reader is aware of how Mr. Jones used the tamed raven

Moses with his Sugar Candy Mountain story to blind the animals, manipulate and control them so that they may not realize that their life is miserable and laborious. That is, Jones uses him as a key-figure to manipulate and keep his animals under his control despite their miserable conditions. At first, the pigs find Moses irksome or annoying before they realize that he may be an advantage for manipulation. They fear his religious presence will distract the animals from the concept of Animalism as illustrated below: “The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work, but some of them believed in Sugar Candy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place’’ (p.11). This assertion is a perfect illustration of how the author demonstrates the pigs’ hatred against the tamed raven Moses Sugar Candy Mountain Story which they consider to be Jones’s tool or key-figure used for deceiving, gaining and maintaining control, sanity and manipulation in the animals. They believe that Jones essentially attaches or uses Moses to form authority in a bid for superior advantage. It is evident that the pigs struggle to abolish Moses due to his strength. They initially consider him as an enemy of the animals and an opiate of the masses. The fear is that, if the other animals believe in an after-life paradise, they would not be motivated to change their earthly conditions in this life. Therefore, the pigs search to discredit Moses soon after taking power. Here is how Orwell puts it in the novella: “The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put by Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr. Jones’s especial pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker’’ (p.10) These lines evidence hatred from the pigs towards Moses the tamed raven’s Sugar Candy Mountain Story, since they want animals to believe that Animal Farm is a paradise and fear that the animals will be prompted by Moses’s tales to seek a better place. However, Moses left the farm, but then, interestingly, Orwell has him reappear late in the novella. But now, everything has changed on Animal Farm, and the pigs are not in such a hurry to get rid of him. As conditions on the farm worsen, the pigs accept and allow Moses to come back to stay so that to use him as a way to pacify with the oppressed animals and manipulate them because his tales offer the other animals the promise of rest after a weary, toilsome life. They realize that Moses the tamed raven can be taken to advantage or manipulate the other animals. Despite his lack of contribution towards work around the farm, Napoleon tolerates Moses’s brash presence on the farm after his return from the Battle of the Windmill as illustrated in the following passage:

In the middle of the summer Moses the raven suddenly reappeared on the farm, after an absence of several years. He was quite unchanged, still did no work, and talked in the same strain as ever about Sugar Candy Mountain. He would perch on a stump, flap his black wings, and talk by the hour to anyone who would listen. (….) Sugar candy Mountain, that happy country where we poor animals shall rest for ever from our labours (p.7). Through this passage, the reader sees how Moses, like his biblical counterpart, offers his listeners the description of a place Sugar Candy Mountain where they can live free from oppression and hunger. Moses is unknowingly benefitting by manipulating and keeping control in the animals; which the Russian Orthodox Church was known for doing. Now that the pigs have become much the same as the cruel master they overthrew, Mr. Jones, they see the value in having their workers listen to Moses Sugar Candy Mountain Story and go about their daily tasks with good behavior and a minimum of fuss. Many people feel that religion serves a function in a society. Moses’s tale of Sugar Candy Mountain serves as an opiate to the other animals’ misery, exploitation and manipulation.

Another, the pigs even give Moses a daily ration of beer because they know that his talk of Sugar Candy Mountain is good for morale. It will keep the other animals from rising up against Napoleon because they will be rewarded of their obedience and hard work when they die. The tamed raven Moses offers a story about an obviously fictitious place to advantage the pigs that manipulate and control the other animals. The following lines bring evidence:

A thing that was difficult to determine was the attitude of the pigs towards Moses. They all declared contemptuously that his stories about Sugar Candy 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 (p.78). From these lines, the reader understands how the pigs, although disagreed themselves with the supposed existence of a better world, tolerate it because, of a small offering of beer towards Moses. Such fantasies are the underlying reason of manipulation, sanity and control amongst the animals. The other animals are tricked and pressured into believing that just like the Christian view of Heaven; Sugar candy Mountain is an idyllic utopia place where there is no suffering or pain. They believe there is such thing as an after-life, and they are lulled into a state of endurance, therefore, continuing to work hard. The oppressed and manipulated animals have something to look forwards to; they look past the barbaric working conditions and dream about the Promised Land. The role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the revolution is uncannily similar. Moses unknowingly becomes a great asset to the pigs, only if he speaks to the farm animals about Sugar Candy Mountain regularly to mislead them. Essentially, the pigs realize why he was Mr. Jones’s favourite pet, because he manipulated and kept control on the farm. The fact that the other animals are willing to believe him reveals their wish for a utopian place in the heaven or on the farm which will never be found. Thus, Moses the raven is the ‘’religious figure’’, but in a strictly ironic sense, since Orwell never implies that Moses’s tales better the other animals’ conditions. He fills the heads of the animals with tales of Sugar Candy Mountain. What the animals fail to realize is that Sugar Candy Mountain, a so-called paradise or utopian place is as unattainable a place as a farm wholly devoted to the principles of Animalism. Moses plays a useful but illusive psycho-therapeutic role by bringing consolations which make animals adherents to forget their frustrations. He does not really solve the animals’ problem of suffering, but he is simply a misguided attempt to make life bearable. As such, one sees Moses as merely stupefying, manipulating the animals rather than bringing them to happiness and fulfilment. Napoleon establishes his relation with Moses to use him as a susceptible means to deceive in order to gain and maintain power, manipulate, control and keep the other animals from protesting against him despite his misleading and oppression towards them. He also tames Moses to justify his position both to himself and to others. Moses is directed and supported by Napoleon to further his interests. Using Moses, Napoleon tends to discourage the other animals from making efforts to change their social situations and conditions. He prevents the idea of overthrowing the existing social and political structure by means of revolution and acts as a mechanism of social and political manipulation and control. In this way, Moses reinforces class. Equivalently, the Russian Orthodox Church was heavily prominent around the Revolution. The Bolsheviks found it difficult to reduce religion during the revolution because of the church’s large following and tenacity. Stalin, the leader of the Bolsheviks, believed in science and reason, completely disregarding the Russian Orthodox Church. However, it was only after the World War II when the Orthodox Church gained status and toleration by the government, only because it was seen as an opportunity to deceive, manipulate, control and keep the Slaves and peasants subdued. The Orthodox Church resembled a pain-killing drug; used on the poor to manipulate and keep them working. Religion maintained manipulation and control by creating a fantasy for workers. This particular idea of an after-life provided solace for the hard working and distressed poor during the revolution, thus eliminating controversy and maintaining discipline. Without the Church, there would have been uproar, chaos and the chance of more rebellions. The Russian Church kept stability and hope amongst the working-class society, paralleling Moses’s role in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It is in this perspective that Karl Marx and Engels (1975, p.39), in his Essay “Toward a Critique of the Philosophy of Hegel’’ argued that: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed soul, it is the emotion of an emotionless world, and, in the same way that it is as it were, the spirit of a spiritless system, so religion is the opium of the people.’’ Here, Marx and Engels’s views of religion can be summarily examined in three perspectives as: a reflection and projection of social alienation; an ideological tool to legitimize and perpetuate the oppressive social order and as the opium of the masses. They sum up their own idea of religion. It has been said that this statement forms “the cornerstone of the whole Marxist outlook on religion.’’ They mean to say that religion acts as an opiate to dull the pain produced by oppression and make the oppressed docile and anaesthetized. Karl Marx and Engels use the language of imagery to show that religion possesses the important social function of providing spiritual consolation to people in their suffering. In his original meaning, Marx was in no way intending to pass judgment on this political and social function of religion, nor in describing it figuratively, could he have been making a judgment about its intrinsic character? In explaining these words, however, Vladimir Lenin creatively added the word “anaesthetizes’’, which altered the quotation to the familiar “religion is the opium which anaesthetizes the people’’, and also changed Marx’s original words about “the people’s need for religion’’ to “the ruling class used religion to anaesthetize the people’’. Eventually, this means that religion is a drug for the people. Before the Russian Revolution, religion presumably “sedated’’ the members of the working class, enabling them to look past the pain and hard work and dream about the after-life.

To cite not only Moses, there are many other means of manipulation in this novella which the author demonstrates through false confessions and acceptance that I am going to examine in the following section. After attempting to investigate on the tamed raven Moses’s Sugar Candy mountain story a means of manipulation, it is also important to scrutinize false confessions and acceptance.

False confessions and acceptance

‘’False confessions and acceptance’’ can be viewed as any form of a written or oral acknowledgement of guilty by a person or party accused of an offense lacking naturalness or sincerity tending to mislead. Manipulation is greatly used by totalitarian leaders in order to control and maintain their subjects under subjugation and serves as a major weapon. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, false confessions and acceptance are the result of the pigs’ use of manipulation which comes from their intelligence superior. They make use of death to manipulate, frighten and gain control over the other animals. They abuse their power by forcing animals to confess and accept the things which they do not do, as it is asserted in the following lines:

Presently, the tumult died down. The four pigs waited, trembling, with guilt written on every line of their countenances. Napoleon now called upon them to confess their crimes. They were the same four pigs as had protested when Napoleon abolished the Sunday meetings. Without any further prompting they confessed that they had been secretly in touch with Snowball ever since his expulsion (…) they added that Snowball had privately admitted to them that he had been Jones’s secret agent for years past. When they had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore their throats out, and in terrible voice Napoleon demanded whether any other animal had anything to confess. (p.56)

Through this quotation, one can see how Napoleon lies, deceives, falsifies history, fabricates stories, manipulate, and wrongly accuses innocent animals of treason and coerce them to confess their uncommitted crimes, and finally kill them in cold blood. The four pigs that had suggested that Sunday’s meeting should continue are forced to confess that they have been in touch with Snowball and collaborated in the destruction of the windmill. For instance, when they had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore throats out, and in a terrible voice Napoleon demanded whether any other animal had anything to confess. To manipulate, control and teach the rest of the animals a memorable lesson, Napoleon asks his dogs to drag four pigs to a general meeting and place them at his feet to falsely confess and accept what they did not do. By putting these innocent pigs to death in such a blood-thirsty manner, comrade Napoleon violates the sixth commandment of the law which he and the other animals have established to help them run the farm animals justly. This is what most of dictators and tyrants do to manipulate, exploit and have total control over the masses. This use of violent spectacle and manipulation to create hysteria and a subsequent terrified obedience is the ultimate corruption and contradiction of the ideals of Old Major espoused. The fact that the animals are manipulated and killed by having their throats torn out is Orwell’s way of symbolizing the literal silencing of dissent which went on under Josef Stalin’s rule. The brutality of the stark description shows the power of his conviction that the ideal of Socialism had gone dreadfully wrong.

Then follows another series of false confessions and acceptance on the farm to manipulate and control the other animals. With Napoleon as the sole leader of the farm, the possibility of manipulation and total control throughout false confessions and acceptance invested with him becomes even greater. He violates the unchangeable law which he, along with the other animals, have vowed to abide and live by forever so as to multiply his wealth, manipulate, misinform, threaten, terrorize, control the other animals and satisfy his lust of power. In the novella, false confessions and blind acceptance are described by the author as follows.

The three hens who had been the ringleaders in the attempted rebellion over the eggs now came forward and stated that Snowball had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey Napoleon’s orders. Then a goose came forward and confessed to having secreted six ears of corn. (…) then the sheep confessed to having urinated in the drinking pool. And so the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon’s feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since the expulsion of Jones (p.56). These above lines illustrate the pigs’ use of power through death. Being frightened, the snow-white four pigs, the three hens, a goose, and the three sheep are forced to confess to be in touch with Napoleon’s so-called opponent or enemy, Snowball. They are innocently executed. That is, under Napoleon’s influence and pressure with their lack of literacy, those animals blindly accept having done what they did not do. Being under influence and pressure of comrade Napoleon, the animals are obliged to confess and accept being responsible for something. This is in fact why they confess as they are indicted for contacting Snowball. The other animals have to accept the fact that the executions are of traitors. If not, they have to accept the situation that conditions are worse than they were under Farmer Jones. The French philosopher Montaigne (1512, p.85) calls this stoicism, the fact of not complaining or showing what one is feeling when one is suffering. It is in this sense that he states in his philosophical Essay: “Celui qui pense a la mort se libere de sa pensee.” As a matter of fact, all those animals free themselves from fear on the farm animals by accepting to be in touch with Snowball and by being killed, whereas, the pigs are in search of Epicureanism, the fact of devoting oneself to pleasure and enjoying oneself. Orwell scrutinizes this scene of false confessions and acceptance to take us back to what actually happened in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s era show trials, when he proceeded to execute Leon Trotsky’s followers. Stalin’s show trials were a series of political trials held in Moscow in the late 1930s under Stalin’s direct control. The trials were not held in secret but were, as the title suggests, held in the open. Foreign journalists were invited to attend as the trials were intended ‘to show’ the guilt of the accused and have this guilt widely publicized. Many were demonized by being linked to Trotsky, Stalin’s exiled rival. Over the years that followed, many ordinary people experienced manipulation, arrest, imprisonment and sometimes execution as Stalin sought to eliminate any traces of disloyalty or opposition. The following quotation from Institut pedagogique Africain et Malgache (1988, p.219) brings evidence:

Ainsi furent elimines les partisants de Trotsky entre 1925 et 1930, les adversaires d’une « dékoulakisation » trop brutale entre 1930 et 1935. Après 1936, l’URSS traverse une nouvelle crise grave. De nombreux dirigeants du parti sont arretes, accuses de haute trahison et condamnes a mort au cours des proces spectaculaires ou les accuses reconnaissent frequemment leur culpabilite. These words echo false confessions and blind acceptance intelligently managed by Stalin to bring Trotsky’s followers to confess and accept their culpability in order to be executed. They show how Trotsky’s followers or the so-called hypocrites and political opponents of Stalin and others whom he distrusted, were accused of criminal deeds and were put under pressure to make public false confessions of their alleged crimes and were liquidated. Standards of evidence were low and the process was designed to show the use of apparently proper judicial procedures in dealing with the so-called ‘enemies’ of the State. Stalin used these murders as justification for an assault on ‘enemies’ of the State, people who he claimed were betraying the Revolution of October 1917 and threatening the economic reforms which were underway. The trials were the culmination of a process. Orwell too, exposes this scene of show trials to remind people of how falsely the idea was that the Soviet Union was a socialist State as shown in the coming section [1-8].

The use of fear tactics to control

The term “fear tactics’’ is a reference to the art of disposing and manoeuvring an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by awareness of danger. In Orwell’s Animal Farm, one of the most efficient tools of language’s manipulation used by Squealer is fear tactic, especially fear of the old regime and farmer Jones. The animals are absorbed with fear tactics which prevents them from seeing the difference between the rule of Jones and that of pigs. They have lost all their individual freedom but are unable to realize it because they are blinded by the promise of a golden future and a better life. The murder of innocent animals should have been the straw which the camels’ back, but because of constant fear tactics used by Squealer, an unclear definition of freedom, and the inability to speak their minds. They keep on believing and obeying the selfish and immoral pigs. Squealer uses more subversive forms of appealing to fear to misinform the other animals on the farm. When the circumstance calls for a softer approach, like when he must explain why the other animals should trust comrade Napoleon and why Snowball’s exile is necessary, Squealer uses psychological fear. Playing off the animals’ distrust of human, he threatens them through the use of fear tactics to control their behaviour without any knowing. The following lines bring evidence: “Discipline, comrades, iron! That is the watchword for today. One false step and our enemies will be upon us! Surely comrades, you don’t want Jones back!” (p.37). It goes out from this passage that Squealer, being Napoleon’s mouthpiece, invokes scare fear tactic and misleads the other animals, thereby enabling the pigs to control them, to suit their greedy desires. Because of Squealer’s manipulation of broad language, and the implementation of this fear tactic, he is able to convince the other animals into believing untrue that is beneficial to Napoleon and the other pigs. Although this is completely untrue, seeing that Squealer only occurs in self-centred and self-beneficial engaged and the other animals believe it to be true. Squealer uses his gear to dominate and oppresses the others. Living in a world where strength is straight forward to benefit, he manipulates language to govern the relaxation of the animals on the farm to serve Napoleon’s advantage. This shows the underlying message that first, knowledge is important to all tiers of society, subsequent, for when it is not, society is stratified, ensuing in the masses struggling. Moreover, fear tactic is used in order to oppress, deceive and control the other animals in Orwell’s Animal Farm celebrated novella. Initially, Mr. Jones ruthlessly wields his authority by oppressing and intimidating the animals. Mr. Jones and his men use whips, prods, and harnesses to punish and control the animals. As a result of his intimidating presence and the threat of violence, the animals fear Mr. Jones. They passively submit to his authority. Following the successful Rebellion, Squealer uses the fear of Jones to motivate the other animals into accepting Napoleon’s principles or directives and narrowing freedom of speech. The other animals submit to the ruling pigs’ policies because they fear Jones will return and brutally oppress them. The use of fear tactic traumatizes, threatens and drives the animals to insanity and even compels them to lie and accept lies as truth. Napoleon misuses his power, but justifies his action through the use of Squealer. Thus, using Squealer, Napoleon is able to control the other animals’ way of thinking. Not only misinformation is used in books, magazines, and articles, but is also used by leaders, politicians, and companies to influence the public, attract attention, and gain and maintain power. Therefore, language’s manipulation appealing to fear tactic is one of the main tools which Squealer uses to control others and a way to justify one’s wrong behaviour, such as the abuse of power. Squealer misleads animals into obeying Napoleon’s oppressive policies by suggesting that Mr. Jones will return if they do not follow their leader’s directives. The possibility of Mr. Jones return strikes fear in the heart of the animals and this terror motivates them to obey every command. Once again, fear tactic is the essential element needed to delude and motivate the animals into believing and obeying the pigs as we read it from Squealer’s words in the following passage.

Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades, cried Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back? (p.23)

Through this passage, one can notice how Squealer exploits the other animals’ ignorance by reminding them how miserable life was and will be under Jones’s rule; he threatens a return to this existence if they do not listen and follow Napoleon’s will. Appealing to fear tactic strengthens Napoleon’s relative power over the rest of the animals. One sees the emergence of Squealer who plays a pivotal role in the farm animals. His main attribute is his brilliant or persuasive rhetoric and he is to some extent appeasing the other animals by cleverly distorting Major’s original plan. By controlling language and information through a complex coercive apparatus, Squealer realizes a mind control of the other animals that is ‘total’ in both extension and intensity. In extension, because the totality of the animals is misled, dominated, in intensity, because any individual though is totally dominated. This view clarifies that Squealer controls mind body of the other animals through language manipulation which he uses as an effective weapon to exert power on them on the farm. It is in this regard that Bakhtiar Sabir Hama (2015, p.2) writes: “The totalitarian manipulates language to dominate people, and language is not a social practice but it has political dimensions and regarded as a threat to the government if people can use it freely.’’

From this assertion, the reader understands that knowledge is a big factor which allows politicians to give false impressions, gain and maintain power, manipulate and control the masses. People with confidence and knowledge are likely to delude and gain most of control and power. People with little intelligence, but lots of confidence are more likely to have some power or work underneath the leader. Those with knowledge, but no confidence seems to have no power at all and shy away from it. Both knowledge and confidence are needed for someone to take total power. Squealer, the appointed speaker among the pigs with greater knowledge than most is more efficient due to the fact that he offers false information appealing to fear tactic and has a vast knowledge to look back on for help. Napoleon uses him as the Nazi dictator; Adolph Hitler used Paul Joseph Goebbels as his Minister of propaganda. By using fear tactic and threatening the other animals with the eventuality of Mr. Jones’s returning, he would condition them to accept the terms of self-sacrifice and even subservience without question. Orwell demonstrates that political regimes often use means such as playing on fear tactics as a way to control, consolidate their power and ensure that there will not be any questioning of their policies and practices.


The end of this exploration demonstrates that manipulation is exclusively associated with means of control, unfairness or even evil intentions, and this has consequences for the farm construction and the animals’ morality. Animals’ mental incapacity is what leads them to be manipulated, controlled and to accept the pigs as their leaders’ giving them an opportunity to create a society which only resembles a utopia for animals. Their lack of intelligence is constantly taken advantage of the other animals and control them. Being uneducated prevents the animals from voicing their opinion and fighting against the brutal manipulation of the pigs’ political regime. Clearly, the animals’ illiteracy, false confessions and acceptance, the tamed Raven Moses’s Sugar Candy Mountain story and the use of fear tactics open a door for manipulation. Through the book, the other animals are manipulated and are not able to realize that the land they once dreamt of and lived in for a short while is transforming into a nightmare. These series of false confessions and acceptance, the Tamed raven Moses and the use of fear tactics served probably one of the most important and functions. They shaped the mentality of the people symbolized by animals on the Farm. The purpose of the Tamed raven Moses was directed, first, to the maintenance of the so-called utopian image of the Animalist’s reality as well as to the peace making, manipulation of the poor masses. Moses is presented as manipulative, exploitative and acceptable religious figure of Napoleon’s political system under which have no chance for better life.


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