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animal farm

What are examples of figurative language such as metaphor, simile, imagery and parallelism in Animal Farm?


There are many comparisons in Animal Farm, and Old Major's speech in chapter 1 has several examples. The reader becomes engrossed with the animals' predicament and soon realizes that "the life of an animal is misery and slavery." This is a comparison between the animals' existence and slavery or misery and is therefore a metaphor. 

Imagery as a literary technique in itself creates visual pictures using the senses to inspire the reader. A good example from Major's speech is "the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty." This comment leaves nothing to the imagination and although the reader may be used to eating meat and so slaughtering animals is actually commonplace, he cannot help but be moved by this comment (and perhaps feel guilty) which humanizes the animals and makes the practice seem quite barbaric. 

Parallelism in literature uses structure to stress important information, and is purposefully quite repetitive with a familiar beat. In Old Major's speech, there is much parallelism as Major must express himself clearly because the animals are not particularly intelligent and his words need to inspire them not scare them. The structure of his speech therefore contributes to the animals' confidence. Here are some examples:

"I have had a long life, I have had much time for thought" (chapter 1)

"We are born, we are given just so much food... we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty."

"No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure... No animal in England is free"

"He (Man) does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits." Here, even though the words may differ, the rhythm remains the same, almost like a chant. There is a definite warning contained in these words, as despite all this, Man "is lord of all the animals." 

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