How effective is Old Major’s speech in chapter one? In Chapter one, Old Major gives a speech about how the animals should rebel against Mr Jones, the human and leader of the farm in order to please all of the animals by having satisfactory amounts of the essentials. This rebellion would lead into Animalism. Animalism represents communism and how all animals should be equal. Old Major symbolizes Lenin.
Lenin was a revolutionary thinker who came up with the basic concept of the Russian Revolution. During Old Major’s speech, a wide variety of persuasive techniques are used and this is very noticeable. He creates a number of ideas that he discusses to the animals to persuade them that the rebellion is right. The use of emotive language is easily noticed and the most effective persuasion technique used. For example, Old Major says “Before I die I feel it in my duty to pass on to you such wisdom as I have acquired”. This makes the animals feel sad as he is going to pass away, yet he is very noble and respected character. Also the animals would feel grateful that Old Major is sharing his wisdom among them. Furthermore, the animals would be listening very attentively, as they are aware he won’t be alive for much longer, so they want to preserve all of his actions and words. This would cause the animals to believe almost anything Old Major says because he is old and wise.
Old Major in his speech presents the idea of man as an enemy, a lazy and weak being who ‘consumes without producing’. However, he does not reveal it all in the beginning of his speech. Instead Old Major intrigues the animals by saying “But I will come to the dream later”. This creates suspense and keeps the animals paying full attention to him. Old Major is known to have lived a long life on the farm so he knows a lot about Mr Jones. During his time, Old Major watched Mr Jones, and realised that he is evil. This sets up the central theme of unfair treatment and injustice. This is reinforced when Old Major appeals the unfair treatment to each individual set of animals.
He does this by using rhetorical questions. For example he addresses the cows with the rhetorical question “You cows that I see before me, how many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during this last year?”By using rhetorical questions it causes the animals to really think about what Old Major is saying and the rhetorical questions make help the animals relate to the topic. Throughout the speech, Old Major calls the animals comrades. For example in his opening sentence he says “Comrades, you have heard...” By referring the animals as comrades, it brings the feeling of friendliness and makes his views more personal. Also it suggests that Old Major views and treats all of the animals as equal. Also in the speech, Old Major directly speaks to certain animals at times by using pronouns such as “You” and “Your”. For example he uses the pronoun “your” in the sentence “Fix your eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of you lives”. Through using pronouns, the speech is more personal and directly aimed at the animals so they would listen and engage more. Furthermore, in the speech, repetition is used by repeating the main points of his speech. For example “No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness...” is said and them shortly after he repeats “No animal in England is free”. He uses repetition to emphasise his meaning to his speech. But repetition can be ironic as he repeats things due to his old age. Moreover, the technique tripling is used.
He deliberates on the horror of their lives by saying “Our lives are miserable, laborious and short.” By using tripling here, it makes the animals realise the truth and understand Old Major. Later in the text, tripling is also used when the animals are discovering that man does not produce. Old Major says “He does not give us milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough...” By saying the actions that man can’t do, but instead are the actions that the animals do for man, it makes it more personal and makes the animals realise they are powerful. In addition, in his speech Old Major uses exaggeration to highlight his argument that man is evil. For example he says “I am twelve years old and have had over for hundred children”. Through saying this it makes the animals shocked and want to rebel against Mr Jones, because even though most would know that is not true, they would understand that it has been so many that Old Major has lost count. Despite this, Old Major gives his orders in as simple way as possible. He says “Only get rid of man, and the produce of our labour would be our own”, which makes it seem like his idea of rebellion was very easy to execute. This would cause the animals to favour his side more. What is more, Old Major uses opinions and partially facts during his speech. After a question which asks if the animals are meant to live in such unsatisfactory conditions, Old Major says “No, comrades, a thousand times no!” This opinion has been disguised as a fact so that the animals will believe and agree with Old Major. Also opinion in used when he states that “All men are enemies” and this is the backbone to his argument. Additionally, in Old Major’s speech, Old Major uses imperatives and sets the rules for the way of life.
The most obvious imperative he uses is “To get rid of man” as the historical context is to get rid of capitalism where everyone shares everything. An imperative used is “No animal must ever live in a house...” The use of the commands makes the animals agree with him. They are effective as not only do the animas look up to him; they believe he is equal in their roles on the farm, which is to produce for man. Another simple but powerful technique was the use of exclamation. He used a number of exclamations in his speech. For example he says “Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race!” Although this question did not require an answer, by using an exclamation mark instead of a question mark changes the mood of this statement. Overall, I think that Old Major’s speech was very effective. I think this because he has used a variety of persuasive techniques all for different reasons and he enticed all of the different animals. I also think it was effective because he was clear on his message and he was successful in portraying it. Furthermore, I know it was effective because all of the animals were persuaded and therefore rebelled. Similar Techniques
Nelson Mandela in 1964 gave a speech called “I am the first accused” on his peaceful and non-violent views on the South African Governments Racist policies. He clearly argues that the quality of human rights should not be based around a man’s skin colour. In this speech, Nelson Mandela does not exaggerate but he uses lots of facts. He does this so is speech is true and would emphasis the viewer about his views. This is different to Old Majors speech, because even though the purpose is the same, Old Major does the opposite by exaggerating but not using many facts. Furthermore, a similarity between both speeches is that they both use pronouns. Nelson Mandela uses “We” and “Us” whereas Old Major uses “You” and “Your”. By using pronouns, it made their speeches more impactful to the consumer and more included so therefore they would listen more attentively. Moreover, just like in Old Major’s speech, Nelson Mandela uses emotive language throughout his speech and this is very noticeable. For example he says “I admit immediately...” and these strong words would make the speech more hard-hitting. In addition, Nelson Mandela uses rhetorical questions however very rarely compared to Old Major. An example of this would “Who will deny that thirty years of my life have been spent knocking in vain, patiently, moderately, and modestly at a closed and barred door?” This powerful question gives meaning to his speech and makes the readers think about what Nelson Mandela is trying to express.