The Author's Style of Writing in "Animal Farm"
George Orwell uses a unique writing style in his political allegory "Animal Farm".
In Chapter 1, rebellious farm animals sing the rallying song "Beasts of England", and the music is described as "something between 'Clementine' and 'LCucarachaha.'" The seriousness of this scene is undermined by the imagery of the silly tune which clues us into Orwell's writing style.
George Orwell is as straightforward as a manifesto but with a satirist's underlying playfulness in writing "Animal Farm."
Silliness Reported Seriously
Orwell pokes holes in the balloon of socialist attitudes throughout "Animal Farm". At one point, the animals' vote on the question, "Are rats comrades?" Only the dogs and cat disagree, having "voted on both sides."
Orwell reports this childish nonsense in clipped, balanced sentences.
Later, the leaders argue over a pig named Snowball, pivotal founder denounced as a traitor: "I could show you [his treachery] in his writing if you were able to read it." We are left to wonder how a pig puts pen to paper at all.
Orwell's dialogue hints at his satirical intent.
- The animals speak in crisp, brief sentences of slavish devotion: "I will work harder!" and "Napoleon is always right."
- The leaders' dialogue is entirely party slogans: "Forward, comrades!" and "All animals should go naked."
- When a leader speaks at length, Orwell -- whose stylistic rules demand that writers omit needless words -- devotes entire paragraphs to the speech to demonstrate how little of it has real content.
His syntactical style implies that the more words are used, the more they are misused.
The politically correct aspects of Orwell's style darken as the takeover of Animal Farm becomes more sinister; like a good party member, he reports all lies as truth.
The pigs become the Stalin-like ruling class, taking all the food because "the importance of keeping pigs in good health was obvious."
Orwell begins the animal rebellion with the "Seven Commandments" of Animal Farm, the last being "all animals are equal."
By the novel's end, he has verbally shaved the commandments down to one corrupt, equivocal message: " ... but some animals are more equal than others."
Manifesto into Nightmare
In the final chapter, the pigs become human. They transact business, walk on two legs, and carry whips.
Orwell's dazzling ending underlines this change and evokes fairy-tale horror straight out of "Beauty and the Beast."
The other animals spy on a business conference and "looked from pig to man and from man to pig ... impossible to say which was which." The manifesto becomes a cautionary nightmare.
Michael Stratford is a National Board-certified and Single Subject Credentialed teacher with a Master of Science in educational rehabilitation (University of Montana, 1995). He has taught English at the 6-12 level for more than 20 years. He has written extensively in literary criticism, student writing syllabi and numerous classroom educational paradigms.