Understanding the term totalitarian government refers to absolute power, a dictator that controls all. This term is present in the film text Animal Farm by George Orwell and the written text The Wave by Todd Strasser. Each author has related techniques within their writing and film to power. According to this quote: power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, initially these texts present the techniques which show how power can take over, the author does this by using, verbal and non verbal language, symbolism, motifs and mass media.
A similarity between the style of the two texts is that each story is short a simple, both are told from the narrators perspective. They tell of a new revolution that has taken over their lives in one way or another, and both are based on a form of government that has previously influenced society in the past. The Wave focuses on the ruling by the Nazis, how Hitlers influence was able to be so strong and powerful without any Germans speaking out against him. Animal Farm is different in a way that it focuses more on a dictatorship, showing how after the takeover of the farm instead of ruling together as a group the pigs slowly take control till they have absolute power. Another difference in style is the use of language within the text; The Wave uses a lot of verbal communication between characters. Animal Farm uses only short dialogue between characters, short yet direct and clear.
Throughout the text one of the occurring themes in The Wave seems to be a desire for power and success. The Wave although starting off as a harmless experiment brings into the classroom a group of students that suddenly feel like they belong a sense of unity, to please their leader and obey commands without thinking on their own. The result of this however does produce a successful outcome; the wave then moves outside the classroom to the football field and rallies involving the whole school. In the wave there is no one leader, in their unity the move as a group, enforcing the wave upon everyone with group force. A similar theme occurs within The Animal Farm, after the uprising against farmer Jones; the animals again feel a sense of unity. Together they keep the farm running. Unlike The Wave though, the pigs branch of from the others taking over total control in a dictatorship. They rule the other animals, changing their laws/rules to suit their needs. An example of this includes the law stating that all animals are equal, the pigs then change this to say all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.
An important technique used to represent power within the texts is symbolism. Both texts have symbols that represent them, that stand for their congregation. Within The Wave the use of their symbol (a wave within a circle) shows a moving force, one that takes over everything in its path just like a wave. Similar in Animal Farm the animals construct a windmill; the windmill represents opposite outcomes instead of together it shows what the pigs have made them do, turning on their fellow animals to gain more money and therefore more power. Both symbols are representations of power used with each group.
Motifs, another technique present within these texts. The Wave uses rallies, the first rally shows how the school has become taken over and influenced by this new group. It marks the high point within the group as well as an important low point. The second rally marks the end of the wave, when teacher Ben Ross shows the group who their true leader is and what they have become. Much like in Animal Farm instead of rallies the animals have bonfires. Their use of song is a sort of ritual marking the high and low points; the use of this is used when Old Major dies as well as rejoicing when farmer Jones was run off. As well as these rituals the pigs evoke a sort of chant Animal farm, animal farm this developed into an atmosphere that filled the animals with power, giving them a sense of identity and value. The same use of chants is used within The Wave creating a similar atmosphere by chanting the wave slogans Strength through discipline, strength community and strength through action.
The third technique pointed out within both texts is the use of mass media. Mass media within theses text has become a voice that spreads through the community. Within The Wave it is a way that Laurie Sanders has an opportunity to speak out against the wave using the schools newspaper. A similar method is used in Animal Farm; the pigeons become the messengers that tell the other animals of the revolution within the farm, they continue to deliver messages of the happening including the dictatorship by the pigs which brings the other animals to form a rebellion.
Therefore the use of these techniques results in a reader/viewer impact of having and understanding of a real totalitarian government, the use of similar symbols and themes impact in the realisation of what those within these governments were subjected to, the force and power that had totally taken over their lives. As said by Lord Acton power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.