GCSE Animal Farm – Writers Techniques

GCSE Animal Farm – Writer’s Techniques


The Structure

Animal farm has a chronological structure.  The events are described in the order in which they happen so the story is easy to follow.  The story is also cyclical.  The end of the novel is very similar to the beginning. There is also lots of repetition to link events together and show that the new regimes is mirroring the old regime, which the animals were trying to get away from. This is a key writers technique.

Allegory and Fable

Animal Farm is an allegory for corrupt communism, particularly the Soviet Union under Stalin.  However the story’s location is general, it could’ve happened anywhere so it has universal appeal.

Jones and Napoleon symbolise all dictators.  They are both portrayed as cruel and evil and represent all tyrannical dictators in history. Whereas the animals symbolise inequality and any community who have no power against their leader.

The novel is a beast fable.  This means that it is a short story which uses animals to teach a moral lesson.  By using animals instead of real people, the story appeals to a wider audience whilst still passing on a political message.

Narrative Style

Animal Farm isn’t narrated by a specific character.  The narrator doesn’t directly influence the reader and uses simple, unemotional language, only describing what the working animals see.  As a result of this, the reader’s view of the farm is restricted, and you’re left to make up your own mind about what is happening.

The narrator is factual and describes events matter-of-factly.  This lack of reaction from the narrator makes the terrifying events being described seem even more shocking.

Satire and Irony

Irony is when you say one thing but mean the opposite while satire makes fun of people or ideas.

In Animal Farm, Squealer’s language is often ironic. Orwell uses this irony to show how words can lose their meaning.  He also uses dramatic irony to emphasis the animals’ ignorance or how much Napoleon  takes advantage of them.

Animal Farm is a satirical attack on the Soviet Union. Comparing political figures to pigs is satirical because it makes them see absurd. Satire also makes some events in Animal Farm darkly humorous because they seem so ridiculous. It allows Orwell to disguise his criticisms rather than condemning communism directly, it sounds less preachy and more appealing.

How the Characters Speak

The language the animals use is symbolic of their place in the social hierarchy.  The better educated the animal, the more sophisticated their language use. Some of the animals use repetitive language while others use persuasive language. Also, as Napoleon gains more authority, his language does as well. Language is a key theme in this novel and Orwell uses the characters to show how powerful and influential language can be.

The Setting

The setting of Animal Farm symbolises the Soviet Union, with the events of the book reflecting what happened in Russia is the early twentieth century.  Although it symbolises the Soviet Union, it could apply to any country.  Orwell suggests that the novel’s events could, and did, happen all over the world.


Songs and chants are used at the start of the book to unite the animals and spread the message of Animalism.  By the end of the book, they’re used to control and brainwash the animals.

The anthem ‘Beasts of England’ at the start represents the revolution and is patriotic and inspiring. Towards the end though, it is banned as the ideals of Animalism have been completely disregarded by this point. 

Guns symbolise violence in the novel and the flag is used as a symbol of the animals’ freedom.