Suggested Essay Topics

Chapter I
1. Major cautions the animals not to resemble man. Yet by creating animals who speak and reason, Orwell has endowed them with two characteristics which are thought to separate people from humans. Why do you think he does this? Does the ability to speak or to reason lead to any of the vices that Major attributes to humans?

2. Research the life and work of Karl Marx. What were the fundamentals of his Communist Manifesto and how do they compare to the ideas expressed by Old Major in Animal Farm.

Chapter II
1. Research the life of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. What role did he play in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and what was his role in the government after the Revolution?

2. Research the life of Josef Stalin. What part did he play during the Revolution? What was his role in the Soviet government through World War II?

3. Research the life of Leon Trotsky. What was his role during the Revolution and after in the Soviet Union? What was his relationship to Lenin and Stalin?

Chapter III
1. Compare the different attitudes of Napoleon and Snowball in Chapter III of the novel. What do they reveal about each of the characters? How do the other animals respond to each of them?

2. Animal Farm is based on actual events which occurred in Russia, each animal or group of animals represents either historical figures or groups of people. By Chapter III, differences in personality and intelligence are established among the animals. How does this relate to Orwell’s portrayal of people? Do you think he is suggesting that certain kinds of people are more intelligent or capable than others?

Chapter IV
1. Research the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920. What part did the Allied Forces (Great Britain, France, the United States) and Japan play in this war? How did the foreign invasion of Russia affect the outcome of the war and the Communist Party’s rise to power?

2. In Chapter IV we learn that news of the animals’ rebellion has spread to neighboring farms, the inhabitants of which are “normal” human characters. They are not surprised by the fact that the animals can talk and reason. Does this make the novel seem more realistic or more fantastical? Does this make it...

(The entire section is 941 words.)