1. The animals act as animals do (e.g., cows chewing their cuds) but because they think and speak, they also seem to represent types of humans. What type of people do Boxer, Mollie, and the cat appear to represent? 2. Keeping in mind the Russian Revolution, whom do the animals collectively represent? Again thinking of the allegory, what person does Old Major represent? 3. Beginning on page 6, when Old Major addresses the animals, what emotions is Orwell trying to arouse in the reader? 4. Why do you suppose Orwell has this microcosm set in England, rather than Russia? Why does he name the human farmer Jones? 5. Early in the story what consideration do the animals, representing the exploited masses, show for one another? 6. The revolutionary rhetoric has stirred them and united them. What is the first sign that might break their unity? 7. On page 11, Old Major warns the animals that they must always be hostile to man and his ways. Specifically, what are man’s evil ways? 8. As they sing the song, Beasts of England, what is the mood in the barn? 9. Some critics see Old Major’s speech as a parody that makes fun of revolutionary, overblown rhetoric. How can a parody mock something while still being deadly serious?
1. Old Major dies, but his dream has awakened all the animals. Whose job is it to lead and organize the animals? Why them? 2. If there is a classless society which strives to treat everyone the same, why are the pigs taking the lead? 3. Within the ranks of pigs, which three are the most prominent? 4. When you read about Sugarcandy Mountain, what is suggested? What does the name of the raven suggest? 5. If Mr. Jones represents the state, who is the raven, Moses, meant to represent? What is implied about the relationship between the two? 6. What is “Animalism,” and what does it represent?
7. How does the revolution come about?
8. After Jones runs off, what image of the animals does the reader get? 9. Napoleon leads the animals back to the storage shed and serves everyone a double ration of corn. How did he become the one to pass out the food? Why do you suppose he gives the dogs two additional biscuits? 10. The reader is told at the end of Chapter 2 that when the animals came back, “the milk had disappeared.” What happens to the milk? What is this a sign of? Chapter 3
1. You are told “the pigs were so clever that they could think of a way round every difficulty.” Apparently it is because of their cleverness that they do not do physical work, but supervise others. Yet, in terms of the business of farming, who understands it better than anyone else does, even better than Jones? 2. In the early days of the revolution, what is the mood? What is Boxer’s attitude? 3. What happens on Sundays?
4. Since all the animals can vote, why are the pigs always in charge of saying what is to be done and when? 5. What is the result of all the committees that Snowball starts? 6. For the more stupid animals, what slogan does Snowball come up with that contained the essential principles of Animalism? 7. In this context, who do the sheep represent in their bleating of this slogan? 8. Napoleon is very interested in the education of the young. But of all the baby animals, why do you suppose he took the nine puppies to educate on his own? 9. How does Squealer justify the pigs’ appropriation for themselves of the milk and apples? 10. We are told that Napoleon and Snowball disagree on just about everything. What, however, is the one thing on which they are in full agreement at the end of this chapter? 11. How does Snowball convince the animals to allow the pigs to have control over the milk and apples?
1. How do the people who live next to Animal Farm feel about the revolution? 2. In allegorical interpretations, the neighbor Frederick is said to represent Germany, and Pilkington is said to represent the allies, especially Britain. From your knowledge is Russian history, what allegorical interpretation would you give to the raid by Jones, Frederick, and Pilkington? 3. The pigs generally do not come off too well in this story, yet Snowball is shown as being exceptionally brave. Why do you suppose Orwell did this? 4. After the battle, why is Boxer upset? What does Snowball tell him? 5. What implication may be drawn from these two points of view? 6. What aspects of human militarism are mocked toward the end of the chapter?