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Study Guide : Animal Farm: Language



About the story

Animal Farm tells the story of Farmer Jones’ animals who rise up in rebellion and take over the farm. Tired of being exploited for human gain, the animals—who have human characteristics such as the power of speech—agree to create a new and fairer society. The novel reads like a fairy tale, and Orwell originally subtitled it as one, but it is also a satire containing a message about world politics and especially the former Soviet Union. In a satire, the writer attacks a serious issue by presenting it in a ridiculous, funny way. Orwell uses satire to expose what he saw as the myth of Soviet Socialism. The novel tells a story that people of all ages can understand, but it also tells us a second story— that of the real-life Revolution. Since the Bolshevik Revolution of the early 1900s, the former Soviet Union had captured the attention of the world with its socialist experiment. This form of government had some supporters in Britain and the United States, but Orwell was against this system. 

Form, Structure and Language

The language used in Animal Farm as well as its form and structure are vital to Orwell’s storytelling. His use of persuasive language, circular narrative and allegory are particularly significant. Read more...

Language as Power

From the beginning of the popular revolution on Manor Farm, language—both spoken and written—is instrumental to the animals’ collective success, and later to the pigs’ consolidation of power. Through Animal Farm, Orwell illustrates how language is an influential tool that individuals can use to seize power and manipulate others via propaganda, while also showing that education and one’s corresponding grasp of language is what can turn someone into either a manipulative authority figure or an unthinking, uneducated member of the working class. Read more...


The style of Animal Farm is simple and clear. The novella’s language is concrete, factual and delivered in short sentences. The simplicity of style culminates at the novella’s end, in one-sentence paragraphs: “It was a pig walking on his hind legs.[…] He carried a whip in his trotter” (Chapter 10). The simplicity and clarity of the novella’s style contrasts with the way Animal Farm’s characters use language. Read more...

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