In many ways, Squealer’s name says it all. Squealer is an extremely clever pig, “a brilliant talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive. The others said of Squealer that he could turn black into white” (2.2). Squealer becomes the mouthpiece of Napoleon’s regime. He rises to power because of his quick mind, his nimble tongue, and the fact that he seems to have absolutely no morals whatsoever.
Squealer makes his debut appearance when he justifies the fact that the pigs have hoarded milk and apples for themselves. He claims that these foods “contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of the pig. We pigs are brainworkers” (3.14). Later, when Napoleon eliminates the public meetings, Squealer is sent to explain the decision to the other animals. He tells them:
“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” (5.19)
Squealer's logic is completely backward. If the animals are going to be allowed to make decisions, then they should be allowed to make whatever decisions they choose – right or wrong. Yet Squealer’s logic is always tricky. Its whole purpose seems to be to trip up the other animals, to confuse them enough that all they can do is conclude resignedly that perhaps Squealer knows best.
More than to their logic, Squealer appeals to the animals’ gut instincts and prejudices. He often justifies decisions by telling the animals that the pigs want to break from the way of Jones. Time and again, he hits them with the line, “Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?” (5.21). Meanwhile, Squealer’s entire job seems to be to the hide the fact that Jones is coming back, except this time in the form of a pig named Napoleon. As the pigs begin to act more and more like the humans, Squealer is the one who makes up artificial distinctions to convince the animals that they have made a clean break with the oppressive past.
As the story goes on, Squealer justifies a number of strange decisions. He explains to the animals why Napoleon seemed to be against the idea of the windmill but then embraced it; he spreads the rumor that Snowball is a threat in their midst; he constantly changes the Seven Commandments to fit the pigs’ needs; he justifies the elimination of the revolutionary song "Beasts of England"; he even manages to explain the confusion with Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington as Napoleon’s own cleverness.
Perhaps Squealer’s most despicable deception of the other animals comes with Boxer’s death. After Benjamin reveals to the animals that Boxer has been placed in a knacker’s (horse slaughter’s) van, Squealer comes to tell them that the vehicle only used to be a knacker’s van. It now belongs to a doctor. He then crafts an elaborate story about his experience at Boxer’s deathbed, telling them, “It was the most affecting sight I have ever seen” (9.25). Boxer continues to be useful to Squealer even in his death as Squealer reminds the other animals how loyal Boxer was to the very end. It’s almost as if he thinks Boxer’s loyalty is great enough to erase the pigs’ betrayal.
Some critics have suggested that Squealer is meant to stand for Vyacheslav Molotov, a constant supporter of Stalin through the struggles with Lenin and Trotsky. Molotov served as Stalin’s Prime Minister in the 1930s, and signed off on many of the death warrants during the Great Purge. Molotov was the main proponent of the non-aggression pact with Germany in 1941, and he was so loyal to Stalin that at one point there were rumors that Molotov would be his chosen successor. Like Squealer, Molotov remained loyal to his despotic leader, and used his first-rate intelligence to further policies that grossly oppressed the Russian people. (See "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" for more on the Great Purge and the non-aggression pact.)
More generally, Squealer serves as an allegorical figure for the power of propaganda in Stalin’s regime, for the many ways that Stalin and his men abused language in order to keep the public calm and to maintain their own control. Some have pointed out the similarity of some of Squealer’s arguments to those in Pravda, a daily paper that came to prominence after the Bolshevik Revolution, and was the official voice of the Soviet Party in the 1930’s.
Regardless of exactly what or whom Squealer is meant to stand for, it is clear that Orwell meant him as hypocrisy embodied. Squealer seems to have little hold on reality, or perhaps he is just so selfish and power-hungry that he is willing to bend reality every which way to suit his interests. Squealer’s indifference to the truth of the world around him is captured in the very last image that we get of him, “Squealer was so far that he could with difficulty see out of his eyes” (10.2).