This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at language in Animal Farm by George Orwell. Language choice is one of the most fascinating aspects of Animal Farm. Deceptively simple language conveys the bewildering means by which a new utopia develops into another terrifying and oppressive regime. Napoleon and his propagandist Squealer, as well as the other pig leaders, use language as a weapon by changing history and obscuring the truth. In this text, those who are less literate and therefore unable to use language with the same ease and for the same range of purposes are at a terrible disadvantage.
Visual elements of a text, such as layout, font and illustration, are important, of course, but language is the primary medium through which a reader understands a text.
Authors use language with precision. Beyond the literal meaning of each word you will find a wealth of symbolic meanings and other associations. Imagery, such as metaphor, simile and personification, and other literary effects are all created through the careful selection and combination of words. Dialogue, setting and characterisation all rely on an author’s skilful use of language.
Greater understanding rewards close attention to language choices. Allow yourself time to linger over words rather than being content with the surface meaning. What does the specific use of language suggest? Are you invited to think about anything else? The author has chosen this language carefully, which means that you should devote similar time and care to your analysis, enabling you to decipher the text’s deeper meanings.
Answer the questions below to develop your understanding of the way language choices affect our interpretation of a text.