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Individual Power Animal Farm

In: English and Literature

Submitted By grace1wc
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How do individuals and groups maintain power over others in society?
“The way to have power is to take it”. This was said by William ‘Boss’ Tweed, an American Politician in the 1860’s. Tweed mentions the way to obtain power, however he never once mentions how to keep it. In more than one way maintaining power is more important than gaining it. However, there are many philosophies which explore how one can maintain power. These methods include the use of propaganda, the power of language, your own sense of authority, and perhaps the most effective but least humane; violence.
The maintenance of power over others in society is highly dependent on the ability of those in control to distort and abuse language. This is highly evident in our civilization, not only modern society but going back thousands of years. Both powerful individuals, and groups of people and establishments all use language as a means of control, and through deception such propaganda allows power to be maintained. In George Orwells Animal Farm, we see the pigs use their intellectual ability to take control over “Manor Farm”, and turn it into “Animal Farm”. Animal Farm is promised to be carefree and easy, Old Major tells the animals “almost overnight, we could become rich and free”. This is a powerful statement, used to entice and excite the animals, which is soon contradicted with “it might be in a week or in a hundred years”. However due to Old Major’s skilled ability to manipulate language he quickly follows up with “justice will be done!” to ensure he hasn’t lost his audience. Again, in the novel manipulation of language is used, as in the case where the pigs are able to influence their “comrades” because they are inferior. Education is a very powerful tool to create power, when leaders deny citizens to education it gives them the power to manipulate rules and regulations to suit themselves. This is showed again in Animal Farm when the Pigs cunningly change the “7 commandments”, these are their rules, to suit themselves. The pigs begin stating the rule of “Animals shall not sleep in a bed”, however once the pigs decide they enjoy using beds they change the rule. Ingeniously, because the animals can’t read the pigs change the rule without informing any one else to “No animal shall sleep in a bed WITHOUT SHEETS”. Because the animals are illiterate, they do not notice the change, and when questioned the pigs can simply read the new commandment. In this way power is maintained in society.

Those in power seek to maintain their authority through propaganda and the tightly controlled disclosure of information. When individuals or groups in a position of power prevent any information reaching the public, it results in the community being powerless and left in the dark. An example of the disclosure of knowledge can be seen in the novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuro Ishiguro. In the dystopian society the students are “told but not told” the information regarding their future and are cut off from the outside world. Meaning the schoolchildren are rendered powerless

The process of instilling fear through violence and brutality is a key method of suppressing those who would otherwise seek to challenge a regime. Again, in society fear is a common way of forcefully maintaining power. Through violence and brutality a leader can create fear and tension in order to prevent rebellions or uprisings. This can be seen again in Animal Farm…...

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