Character Sketch of Squealer in Animal Farm
In Animal Farm, Squealer is Napolean’s Public-relation officer and his propaganda spokesman. He was a small fat pig. “with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movement and a shrill voice. He was a brilliant talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive.”
He serves Napolean well, since he has the ability of turning black into white. He first comes into his own when he explains Napolean’s entire change of fronts in connection with the windmill after Snowball‘s expulsion, stressing the significance of “tactics”. But how cleverly Orwell drives home the point that Squealer was not too sure of himself.
“Squealer spoke so persuasively, and the three dogs also happened to be with him growled so threateningly, that they accepted his explanation without further questions.”
Thereafter, Squealer in his propaganda pronouncements is always accompanied by two or three dogs. He assures the animals that they are quite mistaken in their belief about a resolution having once been passed against engaging in trade and using money; he explains away the pigs sleeping on beds, the rule was only against sheets; he turns the history of the Battle of the Cowshed upside down; he converts Frederick’s destruction of the windmill into a glorious victory for Animal Farm, and paints an affecting picture of Boxer’s death.
Squealer is, then, Napolean’s henchman; he misses no opportunity to inflate the “leader’s “father image in the eyes of the simple animals and keeps unrest among them at bay by quoting strings of imaginary figures to prove how well off they really are; in fact, he is an arch exponent of the technique of “how to lie with statistics.”
At the same time, Squealer develops many of his master’s less pleasing character traits; he drinks himself into stupor, shows complete cowardice during the Battle of the Windmill, selects victims for “Liquidation”, and becomes so fat with over-eating that he can hardly see properly.
Squealer, however, is caught during one of his midnight operations of altering the writing on the barn wall according to necessity. When the pigs move into the farm house, he alters the fourth commandment into ‘No animal shall sleep in bed with sheets.’ After the purge he changes the sixth commandment into “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” After the pigs start drinking whisky he tried to alter the fifth commandment into ‘No Animal shall drink alcohol to excess’. But, being himself drunk, he cannot keep his feet on the ladder. He crashes to the ground with the brush, white paint and lantern. The animals rush out, awakened by the noise. He has to beat a hasty retreat, guarded by Napolean’s dogs. Finally, he wipes away all the seven commandments and paints instead the one motto- ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ He trains the sheep also to change their slogan into ‘Four legs are good, but two legs are better.’ With this slogan the transformation of the Animal Farm once again into Manor Farm is complete and the P.R.O. has played a very effective part in the transformation.
It appears that Squealer’s character is drawn party from real life; Orwell had in his mind the career of Joseph, Goebbles, Hitler’s minister for propaganda and “national enlightenment”, who believed that bigger the lie the more convincing it would sound.
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