Animal Farm By George Orwell Key literary terms: Allegory Fable Satire Verbal Irony Situational Irony
A narrative that is an extended metaphor. In an allegory, the characters, setting, and other parts of the story have both literal and symbolic meanings. A brief tale that relates a lesson. As in Aesop’s fables, the tone is often satirical, with the intent of illustrating human folly, and the characters are typically animals. A literary mode or genre in which human folly is held up for ridicule or scorn. The use of words to mean the opposite of what they seem to say; sarcasm A situation in which the result is the opposite of what was reasonably expected
Animal Farm Vocabulary accord aloof apathy arable articulate beatifically benevolent cannibalism canvas canvassing capitulate categorically censure coccidiosis collaborate conciliatory contemplate
countenance cryptic cynical demeanor deputation devotees diligent dissentients dynamo embolden eminent/preeminent enmity ensconced frugal gambol ignominious impending
imposing incite incumbent indefatigable inebriates innovation intermediary interment intimate (v.) laborious machinations malignant malignity maneuver maxim morose obstinate
parasitical perpendicularity posthumously preeminent pretext procure propulsion ratify repose retribution seclusion sordid superannuated superintendence taciturn tractable tumult
tyranny unscathed vivacious
Guiding Questions – Keep these questions in mind as you read the novel.
Why did Orwell write this novel? Why did Orwell use animals as the main characters? What can we learn from this novel? What does the novel have to say to us today? How does the novel reflect the concept of utopia and the generalizations about the concept of Utopia? What impact does the novel have on you?
Animal Farm By George Orwell
Background for Chapters 1-4 Did you know? Many of the ideals behind the Soviet revolution were based on the writings and readings of Karl Marx. A German intellectual who lived in the mid-1800s, Marx believed that societies are divided into two segments, a working class and an owner class. The working class creates all the products, while the owner class enjoys all of the benefits of these products. This class division leads to inequality and oppression of the working class. Marx’s objective was to create a classless society in which the work is shared by all for the benefit of all, and he believed revolution was the way to achieve this goal. In leading workers toward revolution, Marx used slogans like “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” He also urged people to give up their religion, which he believed gave them false hope for a better life in heaven. The character Old Major in Animal Farm is sometimes interpreted as a representation of Karl Marx. Major’s speech in the novel’s opening chapter reflects many Marxist ideas, from the opening, “Comrades,” a typical form of address in the former Soviet Union, to the revolutionary song he teaches the other animals. Character Types A fable is a narration intended to enforce a useful truth. Fables have two important characteristics. First, they teach a moral lesson. In Animal Farm, the moral involves Orwell’s views about Soviet politics. Second, the characters are most frequently animals. These animal characters often function as a satiric device to point out the follies of humankind. Though Old Major, Snowball, and Napoleon may represent Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin, many of the story characters are much more general. Some animals are grouped together as a single character – “the sheep,” “the hens,” and “the dogs.” Orwell also capitalizes on the traits generally associated with particular animals, such as sheep as followers and dogs as loyal. Set a Purpose Read the first four chapters to find out about the farm animals who decide that revolution is the necessary course of action. Questions for Chapters 1-4 Directions: Before moving on to chapter 5-7, you must answer 15 of the 32 questions listed below. You must also complete one of the projects listed beneath the questions. 1.
In what ways do the animals behave like animals? In what ways do they behave like humans?
Review Old Major’s Speech in the barn. Describe its impact on the animals.
Why does Old Major say, “All men are enemies, all animals are comrades”? What assumptions ab out men and animals does this statement reflect?
In Chapter 2, the pigs begin to lead the other animals. Why are the animals so easily led?
Animal Farm By George Orwell 5.
Explain why Snowball says to Mollie, “Those ribbons that you are devoted to are a badge of slavery.”
Examine the Rebellion and its aftermath. Describe its affect on the animals.
Review the Seven Commandments. A strong idea concerning mankind is implicit in these commandments. What is it?
Examine the relationship between Animalism and Marxism.
A utopia is a place of ideal perfection. In what way could the farm have been a perfect place for a utopian community?
10. What is your reaction to the animals’ revolution? 11. Do you sympathize with the animals’ complaints and goals? Why or Why not? 12. Describe how the Rebellion takes place. How does the animals’ behavior during the Rebellion suggest both human and animal characteristics? 13. How do the pigs gain the rights to the cow’s milk? Why do the other animals allow this to occur? What does this event suggest about the power hierarchy on the farm? 14. How does the original vision of Animalism become the slogan “Four legs bad, two legs good”? In your opinion, do the animals want rules with simple language? What kinds of language do the pigs use? 15. What technique does Orwell use to cast doubt on the likelihood of a successful revolution? 16. Characterize Snowball as a leader. Do you think his reaction to the stable-boy’s death is the appropriate reaction to have during a revolution? 17. What images in the songs, “Beasts of England,” do you find most inspiring and stirring? 18. What connotation (associations and emotional overtones) does the use of the word comrade have for you? 19. Orwell adds characterization of Mollie each time she appears. What are the pretty white mare’s human character traits, and how does Orwell reveal them? 20. What resistance to the idea of rebellion do the pigs encounter in Moses the raven? What element of society might Moses and his message symbolize? 21. In a fable, characters are often animals that think and act like humans. What human behavior do the animals indulge in to celebrate the expelling of Jones? What human trait is exhibited when they bury the hams found in the farmhouse? 22. How does Orwell foreshadow the pigs’ decision not to share the milk with the rest of the animals?
Animal Farm By George Orwell 23. Satire is a literary form that ridicules human shortcomings, events, and institutions in an attempt to bring about change. Explain the satire behind Snowball’s committees. 24. What causes Mr. Jones, along with men from Pilkington’s and Frederick’s farms, to try to conquer animal farm? 25. Critics praise Orwell for his skill in adding dimension to the animals by characterizing them with both human and realistic animal traits. Considering your understanding of or experience with cats, what animal traits do you see in Orwell’s presentation of the cat? 26. “The pigs don’t actually work…With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume leadership.” What qualities besides knowledge make a good leader? Consider national, local, or school leaders in your answer. 27. How is the farm becoming more like a civilized society? 28. Describe the flag of the farm and analyze its symbolism. 29. What foreshadowing is given in the power struggle between Napoleon and Snowball? 30. Snowball simplifies the Seven Commandments. How is his slogan effective propaganda? 31. Explain how the pigs set themselves up to be the elite on the farm. 32. Brainwashing of the animals takes place. Describe squealer’s part in this.
Animal Farm By George Orwell Project Choices for Chapters 1-4 Performance - Pig as Prophet Old Major’s speech is a rousing one. Re-read that portion of Chapter 1 and present the monologue to the class. Deliver it in an inspiring fashion that will hold listeners’ attention. You may wish to conclude the speech with “Beasts of England” sung by you or fellow classmates. Group Project – Remember When … Pretend that a documentary retrospective is being produce d twenty years after the events of these four chapters. Select members of your group to portray particular characters and choose one group member to be the interviewer. The interviewer should ask questions about such topics as the message of Old Major, the experience of being part of such a grand plan of revolution, the early hardships of farming, the Battle of Cowshed, and the desire for power. Prepare a script and present a panel-type discussion to the class. Art – Funny Faces Draw caricatures of at least three characters in the book. Exaggerate notable physical characteristics and depict an action that displays a personality trait. Give each caricature separately or place them together to illustrate how the characters interact. Music – You Say You Want A Revolution Write a revolutionary song like Beasts of England. Base your songs on a historical revolution like the American Revolution or the French Revolution. Set your lyrics to original music or popular music. If possible, perform the song for the class. Creative Writing – Dear Diary Write five entries from a journal kept by one of the characters; a dream journal kept by a hen; a slogan notebook kept by the sheep and annotated by Squealer, Snowball’s project and committee notebook; or a secret confessions trial diary kept by Napoleon. Write your diary entries so that they reveal the inner thoughts of the character. Social Studies – Battle Log The animals recognize the Battle of Cowshed as a pivotal moment in the Revolution. What effects did the battle have on the animals, individually and as a group? On your own paper, write a short battle log describing the events and evaluating the animals’ behavior. Share your battle log with the class and discuss your evaluation of the events and the effects on the animals.