Edward Bulwer-Lytton proposes the idea that “The pen is mightier than the sword.
” This suggests that physical force is not the key to power. Indeed, words are more persuasive than violence is and can be used as a way to manipulate others. I agree with Lytton’s statement, as this idea is portrayed in George Orwell’s, Animal Farm. Orwell’s novella begins with a group of animals that overthrow humans to achieve their goal of creating a farm where all animals are good and all humans are bad. All animals are meant to be equal. However, Napoleon and the pigs use their intelligence to their advantage in order to deceive the other animals of the farm.
They use language rather than violence as a way to gain power for themselves. The other animals are too oblivious to see how Napoleon and his pigs lie to them as a means to avoid hard labor. Since the beginning of their rebellion, it is mentioned that no animal is better than another and they all must be treated equally. All the animals have their own position and role in the farm. The roles of the pigs change as they begin to notice that they are superior to the rest. Instead of working like all the other animals, they instead “supervise” them.
The animals get ready for their first harvest and work diligently, but Orwell tells us that, “The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership” (27). They use their intelligence to excuse themselves from doing labor. They persuade the animals that they are the brainworks of the whole farm so they don’t need to do physical work. While the pigs don’t do any manual labor, all the animals do so in order to earn their share of food. Since every animal must be treated “equally” in this society, every animal earns the same amount of food, expect the pigs. The pigs want more than what they are given, and for that reason, they steal milk and apples.
As the animals get ready to begin the harvest, they notice that the milk had disappeared. The mystery had soon been solved; the pigs have stolen the milk and apples. Squealer then explains to the other animals that, “Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig” (36). Squealer lies to the animals by telling them that they in fact do not like the apples; they are doing this for the sake of all the animals. He is able to manipulate them in order to make them think that this will benefit all the others as well. Since the animals know the pigs are the brightest of the farm, they assume they are correct and do not think to question them.
As time goes on, Snowball is expelled from the farm by Napoleon and he explains that there will be new arrangements. Most of the animals do not approve of this change, but Squealer uses propaganda to justify this alteration. He tricks them into thinking that Napoleon is doing what is right for everyone and that he is the brave hero, not Snowball. By mentioning Mr. Jones, Squealer is able to instill fear in the animals, and make them believe that Mr.
Jones will not come back as long as they are loyal to Napoleon. Napoleon and his pigs prove Lytton’s idea that words are more effective than physical force is. Throughout the novella, lies, propaganda, and deception are used by the pigs to gain power and achieve whatever they desire. They make use of words to tell the animals what they like to hear and cover up anything they don’t want the rest to find out about. This theme presented by Orwell tells us that the intelligent of society use the force of their words to attain their own desires, so we should not let ourselves by deceived by such people.