Old Major's Speech in Animal Farm: A Book by George Orwell

1787 Words Dec 25th, 2010 8 Pages
Old Major Speech Essay

The Old Major’s speech was at the very start of chapter one of the book. It illustrates how animal farm was based on the Russian Revolution and how the Old Major character was modeled on Karl Marx who wrote the communist manifesto which was a guiding principle of the Russian Revolution. The Old Major used a huge amount of persuasive techniques in many different ways. He used emotive language to make the animals have an emotional, rather than a rational response to his speech.

He creates a number of ideas that he expresses to the animals to make them believe that the revolution is for the right ideas. The first idea is of man as a parasite, a being who ‘consumes without producing’, lazy and weak. This sets up
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The animals clearly did not realise this at the time because the one main point about the book is that the pigs are cleverer than the rest of the animals more easily.

It’s worth discussing the way in which the Old Major speaks. He alternates rhetorical questions - questions where the answer is self-evident. Occasionally he will ask a question which he then proceeds to answer himself ‘Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen from us by human beings.’ There are many questions in the speech but none of them are genuine questions, the answers are all either implicit in the question or given in the speech.
Each time he is pushing the animals along and forces them to think along the channels he has chosen. In parts of the speech he had a very clever idea of how to use the rhetorical questions for lots of purposes. He makes them believe that they are thinking for themselves, but really he is intentionally forcing the answers through the questions that he is asking. He does this partly to mask the fact that he is manipulating them into agreeing with him.

When the Old Major isn’t asking questions, he is exclaiming. ‘Fix your minds on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives!’ The speech he makes isn’t a quiet one, you can tell from the exclamations that his voice is raised and designed to be rousing.

The Old Major

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