George Orwell - Animal Farm

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Animal Farm
George Orwell

Resource Pack for Forms 4 and 5

Based on Longman Literature Guidelines


Animal Farm is a fable, a story in which animals speak and behave like human beings. It is also called an allegory, which is defined as “a symbolic story that serves as a disguised representation for meanings other than those indicated on the surface”.

This means that George Orwell not only wrote a story in its own right (about a group of farm animals which rebels against the farmer), but also wrote a story which meant something much more. He wanted to show his opinion about a political system which he didn’t agree with.

The best way to study Animal Farm is to first examine the story, and the animals themselves, regardless of their symbolic and their political significance. This is because, when we read the story, our feelings are aroused by Boxer, Napoleon and Benjamin. They are characters in their own right, not just symbols. This gives Animal Farm its life; its significance would be much weaker if the animals were mere symbols.

1. The Animals

By Chapter 3, the characters are already quite well developed. As readers, we can already predict what is going to happen in the following chapters.

Imagine that you have been entrusted with the task to find out top secret information about the animals, to warn humans about any potentially dangerous characters. This might be the dossier (character study) below.


The Battle of the Cowshed

The Commandments

The commandments were often altered according to what the pigs thought was best. Most of the animals never realised although some did perceive that some things were being changed.

2. Propaganda: Turning Black into White

It is very obvious that Squealer is the most frequent public speaker (orator) for the pigs. To say he is very diplomatic is an understatement and the other animals say that he could turn black into white. This is one of the tools of Animalism.

3. The Pigs’ Treatment of Boxer

Boxer is a character whom we feel sorry for. He is the embodiment of a faithful worker that trusts its leader blindly without question. He worked harder and harder, until it took away all his strength.

4. A School for Pigs
It was announced that a schoolroom would be built in the farmhouse garden. For the time being, the young pigs were being taught by Napoleon himself in the farmhouse kitchen. They took their exercise in the garden, and were discouraged from playing with the other young animals.

8. Piggish

Activity 7:

This is the basic examination all teachers must pass before obtaining their certificate. Help the class put this speech into Piggish. Make sure that you give a piggish explanation of the changes announced in the speech.

9. The Animals’ Motives

Orwell keeps the reader’s interest in the story itself by the variety of human characteristics the animals show. For example, Mollie, vain and self-indulgent, was a favourite of Jones’ and had much to lose from the revolution. The cat, sly and cunning, hiding from trouble or work, joins the Wild Animal Re-education Committee to try and catch sparrows. Each of these animals has a clear motive for its actions; most of the other animals that are less selfish have too little intelligence to rebel.

Activity 1:

Fill in the following table by browsing through the book to find the characters:

| |CHARACTER’S NAME |WHAT IS HE/IT? | |1 | | | |2 | | | |3 |...
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