10 th grader speech : totalitarianism and propaganda portrayal in George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal farm"

This is my second speech for school, high-school level (10th grade). This is the speech that will be used in my upcoming oral exam in Lithuanian. Enjoy, once again open sourcing this as I open source pretty much everything :)

First speech: https://blog.ari.lt/b/10-th-grader-speech-george-orwell-animal-farm/

# Licensing

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Speech about George Orwell's books "1984" "Animal Farm" by Ari Archer is marked with CC0 1.0 Universal

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# Speech

Dear fellow students and respected teachers,

Today I stand before you to share my thoughts on two George Orwell's, an influential English writer, most brilliant books, "1984" and "Animal Farm". These insightful masterpieces mirror Orwell's grim prophesy of totalitarian regimes, manipulation, and misuse of propaganda, which can continue to resonate today. Both of these creative works portray the snowballing of governing systems into a rough dystopian reality in different ways.

To begin, let's settle into the dystopian reality of "1984". It represents a chilling depiction of totalitarianism, a system of governance where the citizens are under total control of a singular political authority - centralized absolute political power. This is clearly represented by the main governance power in the book - Big Brother, who is the leader of everything, he watches everyone and everything, even your thoughts. Despite of never truly confirming the existence of Big Brother, Orwell utilizes this figure to model absolute authority and personality that usually accompany such power systems.

The role of propaganda in this totalitarian regime is also very notable. "The Party", who rules the nation, manipulates reality through manipulating historical records, as said in the book - "one who controls the past, controls the present and the future". This manipulation of truth and distortion of reality gives rise of the concept of "doublethink". It is a form of overwhelmed critical thinking which coerces citizens into passively accepting two contradictory beliefs at the same time - a clever mind-control technique used by the Party. The Party implements many mind control tricks to force people into submission to the government.

Conversely, Orwell's symbolic story "Animal Farm" paints a grim picture of dictatorship. The farm animals, who represent societal groups, rebel against their tyrant farmer (an allegory for the rebellion against Czar), but their democratic society eventually turns into an oppressive regime. The name of the book ("Animal Farm") comes from when the animals rebelled against the farmer and renamed "Manor Farm" to "Animal Farm" to symbolize that they've claimed it.

Orwell uses the pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, who gradually gain power, to highlight the danger of centralized power in hands of a singular entity. Napoleon's relentless pursuit of power resonates with every dictator in world history. His leadership morphs into a totalitarian regime, and the once cherished principles of Animalism are manipulated to suit the pigs' needs. Contrarily, Snowball represents a good power which was an Animalism activist, who was overthrown by Napoleon's propaganda and relentless craving for power. It is believed that Napoleon is a representation of the Soviet dictator of 1920s - Joseph Stalin, and Snowball is believed to be representing Leon Trotsky, a revolutionary Marxist and political theorist who played a key role in the Russian revolution of 1917.

Propaganda in "Animal Farm" is personified by Squealer, Napoleon's right-hand pig. Squealer's speech and persuasion manipulate the other farm animals into believing that the pigs' ruthless orders are for everyone's benefit. His twisted use of wording, statistics, and logical fallacies such as Appeal to Fear masks the reality of their oppressive government and living conditions. This character underscores Orwell's critique of the misuse of propaganda by totalitarian governments to control and change public opinion. This is a very common real-world propaganda tactic.

In both "1984" and "Animal Farm", Orwell warns us about the dangers of propaganda in totalitarian regimes. Through the use of mind control, the rewriting of history, information suppression, fear tactics, and centralization of power. These works show how totalitarian regimes can dictate what is "truth" and "reality" - in other words, dictatorship.

Orwell's works may seem grim and pessimistic, however they are discrete warnings resonating with the course of human history. Their universal relevance speaks to the resilience of free thinking and the fearless refusal to submit to authority. These works will most likely almost always stay relevant as history repeats itself, and we must take these warnings and stay aware of unchallenged authority or else we may fall victim to oppressive regimes once again.

In conclusion, Orwell’s "1984" and "Animal Farm" go beyond mere storytelling, they integrate thought-provoking political commentary with critical insight of totalitarianism and the role of propaganda in totalitarian governance systems. Looking at both novels, Orwell's primary message remains clear: In a world where truth becomes a joke of those in power, it is our responsibility as individuals to question and analyze their wrongs, and stay ware of oppressive governments.

Remember, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". So let’s be the animals that stand for equality, truth and freedom. Thank you.

# Plan