The Plot (Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature)
A prize-winning boar named Major has a dream that he shares with the other animals of Manor Farm one night after the drunken farmer who owns the farm, Mr. Jones, has fallen asleep. Major advises the animals to reject misery and slavery and to rebel against Man, “the only real enemy we have.” The rebellion, on Midsummer’s Eve, drives Mr. Jones and his men off the farm.
Major draws up Seven Commandments of Animalism to govern the newly named Animal Farm, stipulating that “whoever goes on two legs is our enemy,” that “all animals are equal,” and that they shall not wear clothes, sleep in beds, drink alcohol, or kill any other animal. The pigs quickly assume a supervisory position to run the farm, and two of them, Snowball and Napoleon, become leaders after the death of old Major. Factions develop, and Napoleon conspires against Snowball after the animals defeat an attempt by Mr. Jones and the neighboring farmers to recover the farm at the Battle of the Cowshed.
Snowball is a brilliant debater and a visionary who wants to modernize the farm by building a windmill that will provide electrification. Two parties are formed, supporting “Snowball and the three-day week” and “Napoleon and the full manger.” Meanwhile, the pigs reserve special privileges for themselves, such as consuming milk and apples that are not shared with the others.
Napoleon raises nine pups to become his guard dogs. After they have grown, his...
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Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Manor Farm. English farm at which the entire novel is set. When the novel opens, it is called Manor Farm and is run by a farmer named Jones. These names indicate that this farm stands for any farm, or any place, and that the entire novel should be read as an allegory. However, since Orwell wrote in the introduction to the Ukrainian edition that he wanted to expose the Soviet myth, Animal Farm also stands for the Soviet Union in particular. When the animals take over the farm, they rename it Animal Farm; when the pigs revert to the name Manor Farm in the final pages of the book, the complete failure of the animals’ revolution is indicated. No animal leaves the farm unless it is a traitor (Molly), declared an enemy of the state (Snowball), or sold to the enemy to be killed (Boxer). When they do leave, the animals rewrite history. Animal Farm is like the Soviet Union in having its own official history that serves the purposes of its rulers.
Orwell’s love of animals and his practice of raising his own vegetables and animals are clear in his loving description of the farm; his socialist politics come through in his sympathies with the animals as real workers and in his descriptions of the barn.
Farmhouse. House in which Jones originally lived. Like the farm, the farmhouse is perfectly ordinary, until the animals drive the humans from what the humans see as their rightful place....
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Ever since Orwell wrote Animal Farm readers have enjoyed it as a simple animal story. While it is possible to read the book without being aware of the historical background in which Orwell wrote it, knowing the world's situation during the 1940s adds interest to the novel. The reader understands why the political implications of the book were so important to Orwell, and is encouraged to read the book again, looking for its less obvious political and societal references. As the date of the original publication of the work becomes more remote, the historical events that preceded it lose their immediacy, but Orwell's story remains viable. In fact, Orwell emphasized the universality and timelessness of his message by not setting the story in any particular era, and, while placing the farm in England, not making that fact important.
World War II
The target of Orwell's satire in Animal Farm was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the U.S.S.R , or the Soviet Union), which at the time the work was written was a military ally of Great Britain during World War II. The book's publication was delayed until after fighting had ended on the war's European front in May 1945. When England declared war on Germany in September 1939, it would not have seemed likely that by the war's end England and the U.S.S.R. would be allies. Just a week before, the world community had been stunned by news of a Soviet-German nonaggression pact. Adolf Hitler...
(The entire section is 1008 words.)
The novel takes place on Manor Farm, which is renamed Animal Farm after the animals expel Mr. Jones, the farmer, from its grounds. It is a typical barnyard, except that the animals have assumed the farmer's tasks. Their aspirations are high; they write seven commandments on the wall of the bam, including "All animals are created equal," and "Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy," and thus stake their claim. They build a windmill—an object of much contention—that is rebuilt several times after being destroyed by a storm and then by a band of farmers with dynamite. Originally, the animals pledge to preserve the manor house as a museum, but as the power structure becomes more unbalanced, the pigs move into the house, which becomes their domain. The farmhouse symbolizes the new totalitarian rule of the pigs and is indeed indicative of the "revised" commandment: "All animals are created equal but some animals are more equal than others." Orwell, by restricting all the action to the farmyard, creates a microcosm of society.
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Chapter I Questions and Answers
1. What is the setting for the story?
2. What four characteristics are noted about Boxer the horse?
3. What comment does Benjamin the donkey make that shows his cynicism and bad temper?
4. How does Clover help the other animals at the meeting?
5. What does Old Major say is the reason the animals have such miserable lives?
6. What is Major’s prediction about Boxer.
7. What decision is made concerning the status of wild creatures such as rats and rabbits?
8. What is the name of the song Old Major teaches the animals?
9. What are the main ideas expressed in Major’s speech?
10. What indications does Orwell give in this chapter that indicate the pigs may be superior to the other animals?
1. The setting is the Manor Farm in England.
2. Boxer is an enormous horse. He is respected for his steadiness of character, as well as his tremendous powers and his ability to work. But he is not of first-rate intelligence.
3. He says that God gave him a tail to keep off the flies, but he would rather have no tail and no flies.
4. Clover protects the lost ducklings by making a wall around them with her legs to keep them from getting trampled by the others.
5. Old Major identifies man as the cause of all the animals’ problems. Man takes without producing, and he...
(The entire section is 391 words.)
Chapter II Questions and Answers
1. What happens to Old Major?
2. Who are Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer?
3. What qualities do they each possess?
4. What are some of the problems the pigs have to face in organizing the other farm animals?
5. Who is Moses and what role does he play on the farm?
6. What is Sugarcandy Mountain?
7. What is the immediate cause of the Rebellion?
8. What are the immediate results of the Rebellion?
9. What are the Seven Commandments?
10. What early indication does Orwell give to show that not all of the animals are treated equally?
1. Old Major dies peacefully in his sleep.
2. Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer are the three pig leaders who assume the roles of teaching Old Major’s ideas to the other animals.
3. Napoleon is large and fierce, not much of a talker, but accustomed to getting his way. Snowball is vivacious, quick in speech and inventive, but lacking Napoleon’s “depth of character.” Squealer is a brilliant talker, who is persuasive and capable of turning black into white.
4. Some of the animals feel a duty of loyalty to Jones as the master who feeds them. Some of the animals are indifferent about some vague future rebellion. Some animals are concerned for their own personal comforts.
5. Moses is the tame raven, a special pet of Jones, who...
(The entire section is 396 words.)
Chapter III Questions and Answers
1. What is the result of the harvest after the Rebellion and why?
2. What part do the pigs play in the harvest?
3. What is Boxer’s personal motto?
4. What is the attitude of Mollie and the cat toward work on the farm?
5. What is Benjamin’s attitude after the rebellion?
6. What is Benjamin fond of saying and what does it mean?
7. What committees does Snowball organize on the farm?
8. What is the maxim that Snowball teaches the sheep?
9. How does Napoleon deal with “the education of the young”?
10. What happened to the milk taken from the cows, and how does Squealer explain this to the other animals?
1. Immediately after the Rebellion, the harvest is better than it ever was under Jones because all of the animals (with few exceptions) work hard for their own food.
2. The pigs are the supervisors, directing the other animals in their work.
3. Boxer’s personal motto is, “I will work harder.”
4. Mollie gets to work late and makes excuses to leave early, and the cat disappears whenever there is work to be done. She reappears at meal time with such good excuses and purrs so affectionately that the others believe her good intentions.
5. Benjamin remains unchanged, cynical, and obstinate. He does no more and no less than he has to do.
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Chapter IV Questions and Answers
1. How does Mr. Jones spend most of his time after he is kicked off his farm?
2. Who is Mr. Pilkington and how does Orwell describe him?
3. Who is Mr. Frederick and how does Orwell describe him?
4. What is the typical relationship between these two men?
5. How do Foxwood Farm and Pinchfield Farm compare?
6. How do the farmers try to discredit what is happening on Animal Farm?
7. What is the cause of the Battle of the Cowshed?
8. What is Snowball’s role in the battle?
9. What part does Boxer play in the battle?
10. What are the results of the Battle of the Cowshed?
1. After being kicked off his farm, Mr. Jones spends his days at the Red Lion Inn in Willingdon, complaining to anyone who will listen of the injustice that was done to him.
2. Mr. Pilkington is one of Mr. Jones’s neighbors. The easygoing gentleman farmer and owner of Foxwood Farm spends his time fishing and hunting.
3. Mr. Frederick is another neighbor and the owner of Pinchfield Farm. He is a tough, shrewd man with a reputation for driving hard bargains and for suing his neighbors.
4. Pilkington and Frederick are on permanently bad terms with each other. They dislike one another so much it is difficult for them to come to any agreement, even in their own best interests.
5. Foxwood is a...
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Chapter V Questions and Answers
1. Why does Clover confront Mollie?
2. What happens to Mollie?
3. How does Napoleon use the sheep’s bleating of “Four legs good, two legs bad” to his advantage?
4. What does Snowball see for the animals as a result of building the windmill?
5. How does Napoleon show his disapproval of Snowball’s plans?
6. What is Benjamin’s opinion of the windmill?
7. What happens to Snowball?
8. What changes on Animal Farm does Napoleon announce to the animals?
9. How does Squealer explain these changes and Napoleon’s intent to build the windmill after all?
10. How does Squealer try to undermine Snowball?
1. Clover questions Mollie after Mollie is seen standing near the hedge of Foxwood Farm with one of Mr. Pilkington’s men stroking her nose. Clover later finds ribbons and sugar hidden in Mollie’s stall.
2. Mollie runs away from Animal Farm and the pigeons report seeing her pulling a cart for a human. The animals never mention her again.
3. The sheep begin their bleating whenever Snowball tries to speak at the meetings, and he is unable to get his ideas across to the other animals.
4. Snowball sees the windmill as a source of electric power and heat. He says it will run machinery and do the work now done by the animals. Eventually, the animals’ work week would be...
(The entire section is 427 words.)
Chapter VI Questions and Answers
1. How did the lives of the animals become more difficult in the beginning of Chapter VI?
2. How does Boxer deal with these new difficulties?
3. How do conditions on the farm under Napoleon’s leadership compare to when Jones was
4. Who is Mr. Whymper and why does he come to the farm?
5. How does Squealer address the animals’ concerns about engaging in trade with the humans?
6. What change occurs to the living conditions of the pigs?
7. What happens to the Fourth Commandment?
8. How does Squealer answer their questions concerning the Fourth Commandment?
9. What happens to the windmill?
10. What does Napoleon say happened to the windmill, and what does he do?
1. The animals have to work a 60 hour week, including Sundays, or their food rations are cut in half. The harvest is less successful, and gathering stones for the windmill is hard work.
2. Boxer makes arrangements to get up three-quarters of an hour earlier so he can go to the quarry to collect a load of broken stone for the windmill. His two slogans, “Napoleon is always right” and “I will work harder,” help him to deal with the hardships.
3. In the summer, conditions were about the same. They had no more food, but they had no less. Later, there were some shortages, including paraffin oil,...
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Chapter VII Questions and Answers
1. How do the animals plan to prevent the second windmill from being destroyed?
2. Besides the work on the windmill, what other hardships do the animals have to face in Chapter VII?
3. How does Napoleon hope to prevent the outside world from finding out about the food shortages on Animal Farm?
4. What is the cause of concern among the chickens?
5. How do the hens react to Napoleon’s news about the eggs?
6. How does Napoleon deal with the Mutiny of the Hens and what are the results?
7. Besides the destruction of the windmill, for what other things is Snowball blamed?
8. What “news” does Squealer reveal about Snowball and the Battle of the Cowshed, and what is Boxer’s reaction?
9. What happens at the assembly of the animals in the yard?
10. What is Clover’s reaction to the violent events?
1. They plan to make the walls three feet thick, which means more stone is needed and more work is required of them.
2. The winter is bitter cold and food is in short supply. The animals’ corn ration is drastically cut and the frost spoils the greater part of the potato crop.
3. Napoleon uses Whymper to spread the word that the animals are prospering. He does this by filling the almost empty bins with sand and covering it with grain and meal. He has the sheep remark in Whymper’s...
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Chapter VIII Questions and Answers
1. How does the Sixth Commandment change?
2. What are the titles invented for Napoleon?
3. What happens when Minimus composes the poem “Comrade Napoleon”?
4. What other confessions are made by animals in this chapter and what are the results?
5. What is the latest information Squealer reveals to the animals about Snowball?
6. What does Napoleon do with the woodpile?
7. How does Frederick cheat Napoleon?
8. What happens in the Battle of the Windmill?
9. Why does Squealer tell the animals that Napoleon is dying?
10. How is the Fifth Commandment changed?
1. The commandment becomes “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.”
2. The pigs call him “Father of All Animals,” “Terror of Mankind,” “Protector of the Sheep-fold,” and “Ducklings’ Friend.”
3. Napoleon approves of the poem and orders that it be inscribed on the barn wall opposite the commandments.
4. Three hens confess to entering into a plot with Snowball to murder Napoleon. A gander confesses to working with Snowball to put weeds in the corn seed. The hens are executed, and the gander promptly commits suicide. Later, a pig is assigned the job of tasting all of Napoleon’s food to see if it is poisoned.
5. Squealer tells the animals that Snowball never received a...
(The entire section is 313 words.)
Chapter IX Questions and Answers
1. What is Boxer’s ambition after the Battle of the Windmill?
2. How do the animals’ lives become harder after the windmill is blown up?
3. How does Squealer convince them that their lives are
4. What is a “Spontaneous Demonstration”?
5. What new information does Squealer reveal about Snowball?
6. What purpose does Moses the raven’s return to the farm serve?
7. How do the pigs react to Moses’ return?
8. What happens to Boxer?
9. How does Squealer explain the events surrounding Boxer’s removal from the farm and his death?
10. Where do the pigs get the money to buy whiskey for their banquet?
1. Boxer hopes to see the work on rebuilding the windmill get well underway before he reaches the age of retirement.
2. The winter is severe. Their rations are reduced, and they must rebuild the windmill as well as do their work on the farm. The contract for the sale of eggs is increased to 600. Lanterns are removed from their stalls to save oil.
3. Squealer produces lists and figures indicating they have more oats, hay, and turnips than they did under Jones. He tells them that they work shorter hours, their drinking water is better, and more of their young survive infancy. They have more straw in their stalls, and they have fewer fleas.
4. At an...
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Chapter X Questions and Answers
1. What happens to Mr. Jones?
2. How does the farm prosper in the years after Boxer’s death?
3. What kind of work do the pigs do on the now-prosperous farm?
4. What is the new slogan learned by the sheep and why?
5. What happens to the Seven Commandments?
6. What modern conveniences do the pigs enjoy after they learn to walk on two legs?
7. What observations has Mr. Pilkington made on his tour of Animal Farm?
8. What changes does Napoleon announce at his meeting with the humans?
9. What causes the fight between Napoleon and Pilkington?
10. What happens as the animals look into the farmhouse window, and what does it mean?
1. Mr. Jones died in an inebriate’s home in another part of the country.
2. It is enlarged by two fields bought from Mr. Pilkington, and threshing machine, hay elevator, and new buildings are added. The windmill is successfully completed, and it is used for milling corn, which brings in a handsome profit.
3. The pigs are involved in the endless work of supervision and organization, work the other animals are too ignorant to understand. They fill up large sheets of papers with writing, and as soon as they are so covered, they burn them in the furnace.
4. When the pigs learn to walk on two legs, the sheep learn a new slogan, “Four legs good,...
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Point of View
The third-person point of view traditionally used for fables and fairy tales is the one Orwell chooses for Animal Farm, his tale of an animal rebellion against humans in which the pigs become the powerful elite. The storyteller in this case, as is also typical of the fable, tells the reader only what is needed to follow the story and the bare minimum about each character, without overt commentary. Orwell focuses on the bewilderment of the simple beasts—the horses, birds, and sheep—in the face of their manipulation by the pigs, eliciting sympathy from the reader.
Animal Farm takes place at an unspecified time on a British farm near Willingdon, a town that is mentioned only in passing. The farm is first called Manor Farm, later renamed Animal Farm and, finally, Manor Farm once more. Manor— which can mean the land overseen by a lord, the house of a lord, or a mansion—associates the farm with the upper, or ruling, class. Orwell focuses entirely on activities taking place at the farm, except for a brief scene in Willingdon when Jones asks his neighbors to help him. By keeping a narrow focus, Orwell makes the location in England unimportant.
The narrator in the novel functions as a storyteller, telling a fable Orwell gives the fable ironic overtones by using a naive narrator, one who refuses to comment on events in the novel that the reader understands to...
(The entire section is 943 words.)
Throughout his career, Orwell is generally considered to have matured both creatively and perceptively as a writer, yet he never warranted nor received critical recognition as a literary innovator. His personalized blend of moral commitment and social commentary distinguished Orwell as a major spokesperson for his generation; however, his body of work is remarkably similar in structure and temperament. An extremely disciplined writer, Orwell consistently utilized language to enhance the development of plot while providing insight into thematic concerns. This is especially true in Animal Farm, an imaginative examination of the interaction of language and political method.
Written in a pure, subtle, and simplistic form of narrative, Animal Farm evokes both descriptive imagery and stunning clarity of purpose. As political allegory, Animal Farm was conceived as a beast fable, the ideal form for Orwell to communicate his highly sensitive and unorthodox message. In so doing Orwell was able to employ irony as the most effective means to articulate the embodiment of human traits in the animals of the farm. Interspersed with religious overtones, the novel begins with a relatively light tone before depreciating into a menacing and debilitating void. Coming full circle, the novel ends with a tremendous sense of futility and loss as even the memory of the revolution fades into quiet and passive oblivion. oLiterary Precedents
Created as an allegorical...
(The entire section is 398 words.)
An extremely disciplined writer, Orwell consistently used language to enhance the development of plot while providing insight into thematic concerns. This is especially true in Animal Farm, an imaginative examination of the interaction of language and political method. Written in a pure, subtle, and simplistic style, Animal Farm evokes descriptive imagery and stunning clarity of purpose. Although the novel begins with a relatively light tone, it gradually evolves into a menacing and debilitating void. Coming full circle, the novel ends with a tremendous sense of futility and loss as even the memory of the revolution fades into quiet and passive oblivion.
Orwell conceived of Animal Farm as an allegorical beast fable, drawing on a literary convention attributed to Aesop and dating from the seventh century B.C. Popular in almost every literary period, the beast fable is most often designed to satirize human folly as well as to provide moral instruction. An avid reader, Orwell was undoubtedly influenced by the work of the seventeenth-century French writer La Fontaine and in his own century by Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book and Just So Stories.
Orwell clearly descends from an impressive lineage of English satirists, particularly those of the eighteenth century including Dryden, Swift, and Pope. Animal Farm is consistently and appropriately compared to Swift's Gulliver's Travels as having the capacity...
(The entire section is 310 words.)
During the mid-1930s, Orwell like many of his literary contemporaries became increasingly aware of the social and political concerns of the age. Clearly a turning point for Orwell, this period would ultimately define his artistic purpose and direction as a writer and simultaneously crystallize his prophetic vision of the future. Deeply affected as a young man by the social injustice he encountered in Burma, Orwell entered the decade in direct opposition to the doctrine of imperialism which fostered aristocratic privilege at the expense of the poor and disadvantaged. By 1936, this perspective would be radically altered, transforming Orwell into one of England's most prominent political writers.
Commissioned by Victor Gollancz to write a book on the conditions of the unemployed in the industrial north of England, Orwell began what was intended as a study on poverty. The result, however, was The Road to Wigan Pier, published in 1937, which is best described as an expose of the English class structure and the first significant identification of Orwell with the ideology of socialism. This was followed by Orwell's investigative journey to Spain and his subsequent involvement in the Spanish Civil War. Undoubtedly, this experience had a profound impact on Orwell, confirming his inherent belief in human decency and community as well as deepening his political commitment to democratic socialism. Adversely, however, Orwell returned from Spain with a fervent...
(The entire section is 541 words.)
Ideas for Group Discussions
1. Discuss the pig's idea of "animalism." What happens to this theory as the novel progresses?
2. Why is the windmill such an important object?
3. Why is the song Beasts of England important to the animals in the beginning, and why do they abolish it at the end?
4. What happens to the original seven commandments? Why are they later revised?
5. Discuss how the events of the Battle of the Cowshed are changed to present snowball in a bad light.
6. Why are the sheep taken to a corner of the farm at the end of the novel and kept there for a week?
7. Why do Snowball and Napoleon disagrees. Could the farm have functioned with both pigs as leaders?
8. Moses, the tame raven, speaks of Sugarcandy Mountain. What is the significance of this? Why do the animals hate him?
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Compare and Contrast
1940s: The first half of the decade is spent dealing with the hardships and turmoil caused by World War II; the second half, adjusting to a post-war economy and the new U.S. role as a world superpower.
Today: Controversy erupts over a planned $100 million World War II memorial slated to be built on a 7.4 acre site on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
1940s: The truth of rumors of Nazi atrocities during World War II were finally confirmed in 1945 as the Allied Armies liberated the remaining occupants of the Nazi death camps.
Today: The World Jewish Congress and other organizations demand a full accounting for millions of dollars in gold and other valuables looted from Jews and others killed by the Nazis in World War II that remain in unclaimed Swiss bank accounts.
1940s: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin met at Tehran, Iran, and other locations to discuss war strategy.
Today: After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, U. S. presidents regularly meet with the president of Russia to discuss European security and strategic warhead stockpiles in both countries.
(The entire section is 190 words.)
Topics for Discussion
1. Discuss the pigs' idea of "animalism." What happens to this theory as the novel progresses?
2. Boxer and Clover, the two cart-horses, are described as the "most faithful disciples." What makes them such?
3. Why is the windmill such an important object in the novel?
4. Examine the novel's ending and particularly the final paragraph. Has Napoleon compromised the integrity of the farm?
5. Why is the song Beasts of England important to the animals in the beginning of the novel? Why is the song later abolished?
6. What happens to the original Seven Commandments? Why are they later revised?
7. Discuss how the events of the Battle of the Cowshed are changed later in the novel in order to present Snowball in a bad light.
8. Why are the sheep taken to a comer of the farm in the end of the novel and kept there for a week?
9. Compare Snowball and Napoleon. Why do they disagree? Do you think the farm could have functioned with both pigs as leaders?
10. Moses, the tame raven, speaks of Sugarcandy Mountain. What is its significance? Why do the animals hate him?
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Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. Research the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its origins. What similarities do you see between it and the events in Animal Farm? Are the major characters in each of the revolutions alike? Why or why not?
2. Why does Napoleon take great efforts to downplay Snowball's contributions to the rebellion and to denounce his memory? List the episodes in which Squealer and Napoleon retell events in order to discredit Snowball. Why do the other animals believe them?
3. Read Nineteen Eighty-Four and discuss any similarities it has to Animal Farm.
The animals react differently to the revolution —some are trusting, some resist. Discuss the way Orwell characterizes the different breeds of animals. Are they symbolic of the different classes of humans?
5. How do the pigs take advantage of the other animals' lack of intelligence. Explain some of the situations where the pigs use this to their advantage. How is language important to the pigs and the novel in general? Would the revolution have been more successful if all the animals were indeed equal?
(The entire section is 170 words.)
Topics for Further Study
Research a current political scandal on the state, local, or national level, or one from the past (such as Watergate or Tammany Hall). Develop a brief animal allegory of the main figures involved, using some of the same animals found in Orwell's novel.
Using examples from classic animal fables, report on how Orwell's novel conforms and/or deviates from features found in those you've investigated.
Analyze how Squealer manipulates language to get the animals to go along with him, then watch the evening news or read periodicals to find similar uses of language in speeches or press releases from contemporary politicians.
(The entire section is 101 words.)
Similar in thematic content to Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four is both an indictment of political oppression and a vigorous attack on the corruption of language. Throughout the novel, Orwell is relentless in his disparaging analysis of totalitarian society. More impressive, however, is his ability to demonstrate the use of language as a tool of government to exercise and ensure control over its people. Deprived of access to their historical and cultural traditions, the inhabitants of Orwell's world become enslaved to the immediacy of existence.
Animal Farm was made into an animated cartoon in 1954, directed and produced by John Halas and Joy Batchelor and released by Louis de Rochemont Associates. Presented as a full-length adult satire, the film was considered an artistically successful rendering of Orwell's book made into vivid and realistic animation. A superb creative achievement, the film is executed with technical precision and visual brilliance, distinctly reminiscent of the "Disney" style. The thematic elements of Orwell's novel remain consistent in the film and quite possibly are enhanced by the striking contrast of presenting political satire in the medium of cartoon.
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What Do I Read Next?
Child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim's National Book Award-winning The Uses of Enchantment (1976) examines the characteristics of the classic fairy tale and the importance of such stories in society.
George Orwell's essays, especially "Why I Write" (1947) and "Politics and the English Language" (1946), in which the author explains his dire need to express himself in words and how politicians and others misuse them, ending with a list of six principles for good writing.
Orwell's 1949 look at a terrifying future world dominated by a totalitarian state, 1984, which added to the English language such catchwords as "Big Brother," "doublespeak," and "Orwellian."
Jonathan Swift's satirical Gulliver's Travels (1726), especially the fourth voyage which takes Gulliver to Houyhnhnmland, a country inhabited by a race of horses and a human-like inferior race called the Yahoos.
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For Further Reference
Atkings, John. George Orwell: A Literary Study. London: Calder, 1954; Reprint. A Literary and Biographical Study, New York: Frederick Ungar, 1971. An early and insightful critical study of Orwell's work supplemented with biographical information.
British Writers. New York: Scribner's, 1984. Informative overview of Orwell's life and analysis of his body of work.
Crick, Bernard. George Orwell. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980. The first author with direct access to the vast majority of Orwell's published and unpublished materials, Crick has produced an exhaustive biography and analysis of Orwell's literary development and reputation.
Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, 1983. Well-written and informative summary of Orwell's literary career with selected biographical information.
Hammond, J. R. A George Orwell Companion. New York: St. Martin's, 1982. Brief biography and literary overview in addition to detailed information and discussions of Orwell's fiction and non-fiction.
Lee, Robert A. Orwell's Fiction. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1969. The first book devoted exclusively to analysis of Orwell's novels, omitting the non-fiction except for Homage to Catalonia.
Woodcock, George. The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell. Boston: Little, Brown, 1966. Combining biography with critical study, Woodcock...
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Bibliography and Further Reading
Katharine Byrne, "Not All Books Are Created Equal: Orwell & His Animals at Fifty," in Commonweal, Vol. CXXin, No. 10, May 17, 1996, pp. 14, 16.
Jenni Calder, Chronicles of Conscience: A Study of George Orwell and Arthur Koestler, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968.
Arthur C. Danto, "Animal Farm at 50," in New York Times Book Review, April 14, 1996, p. 35
Adam de Hegedus, review of Animal Farm, in Commonweal, Vol. XLIV, No. 22, September 13, 1946, pp. 528-30.
Stephen J. Greenblatt, Three Modern Satirists: Waugh, Orwell, and Huxley, Yale University Press, 1965.
Christopher Hollis, A Study of George Orwell: The Man and His Works, Henry Regnery Co. , 1956, pp. 140-53.
Arthur Koestler, "A Rebel's Progress To George Orwell's Death," in Observer, January 29, 1950, reprinted in his The Trail of the Dinosaur and Other Essays, Macmillan, 1955, pp. 102-5.
Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Russian Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Gross, Miriam, Editor. The World of George Orwell. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971.
C. S. Lewis, "George Orwell," in Time and Tide, January 8, 1955.
Jeffrey Meyers, in his A Reader's Guide to George Orwell, Thames & Hudson, 1975.
Isaac Rosenfeld, review of Animal Farm, in Nation, September...
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Bibliography (Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series)
Gardner, Averil. George Orwell. Boston: Twayne, 1987. Gives information on Orwell at the time of writing Animal Farm and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of meaning and symbols as they apply to Russian history. Includes some criticism that Animal Farm received at its publication.
Hammond, J. R. A George Orwell Companion. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982. Features pictures of Orwell spanning his career and gives an extended reference to characters and events of Animal Farm as they compare to historical Russia. Considers the evolution of Orwellian philosophy through his novels and essays.
Hollis, Christopher. A Study of George Orwell: The Man and His Works, 1956.
Hunter, Lynette. George Orwell: The Search for a Voice, 1984.
Kalechofsky, Roberta. George Orwell. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1973. Has an extended section on Animal Farm about the corruption of the seven commandments of animalism and compares the themes of Animal Farm as similar to those of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Lee, Robert A. Orwell’s Fiction, 1969.
Meyers, Jeffrey. A Reader’s Guide to George Orwell. Totowa, N.J.: Littlefield, Adams, 1977. Gives a detailed account of the political...
(The entire section is 229 words.)