Squealer in Animal Farm
What makes Squealer such a significant character in Animal Farm? Throughout the novella, Orwell uses the character Squealer, a silver tongued pig, to manipulate language to convince other animals on the farm. Orwell uses Squealer to mainly show how some governments and politicians use propaganda to brainwash the minds of their fellow people. Squealer is very much Napoleon’s propaganda machine.
His manipulation of language is key to grasping the trust of animals under their leader Napoleon’s reign.
Squealer is a very convincing actor to the animals and his persuasion used to justify Napoleon’s actions overcomes their doubts, “he could turn black into white”. He makes the animals turn against their trusted Snowball when Squealer deceitfully tells them “Squealer was in a league with Snowball”. Squealer himself does not voice much of his own opinion, he merely regurgitates orders from Napoleon as he knows he’s arguing from a certain position of knowledge that he thinks can be trusted.
He manipulates the animals’ fear of Jones in order to increase Napoleon’s power. He gives the animal’s meaningless and often false statistics to convince them that life is better than it used to be, for example when he ‘proved’ to the animals in detail that they had more food not than before the Rebellion. In specific language terms, Squealer uses a lot of rhetorical questions limiting the animals from thinking for themselves and so forcing them to submit to his authority, ‘’Surely Comrades you don’t want Jones back? ’’.
Squealer cleverly complicates the language he uses and practises jargon that the animals do not know the meaning of so that they will think he must be an intelligent individual and they must follow his orders. By complicating language, “A bird’s wing… is an organ of propulsion and not of manipulation”, he confuses the other animals. He also causes them to have a sense of hopelessness; the other animals feel they can never understand the truth without the pigs’ intervention and guidance. Combining the animals’ ignorance of the changing of history to suit the pig’s needs, Squealer changes the commandments to make the pigs “more equal. Furthermore, by radically simplifying language instead, like when he teaches the sheep to bleat “Four legs good, two legs better! ” he limits the terms of debate. Additionally, Squealer’s name fits him well: squealing, of course, refers to a pig’s typical form of vocalization, and Squealer’s speech defines him. At the same time, to squeal also means to betray and so this fittingly evokes Squealer’s behaviour to the other animals. Overall, Squealer is remarkably good at playing on the animals’ ignorance and gullibility. He redefines his words to prevent the animals from having a mind of their own.