Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 941
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.
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?
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?
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 more or less powerful as a political allegory?
1. Trace the events leading to Napoleon’s seizing complete control of the farm, and discuss the different tactics that he uses to succeed.
2. Mollie chooses to live a life of comfortable slavery rather than make the sacrifices necessary in a communal society. Is this a wise choice? What is the significance of her leaving, both in the world of the novel, and considering that the novel is a political allegory based on actual events?
1. It has become evident in this chapter that all of the animals are not equal, and life on the farm is settling into familiar hierarchies and oppressions. What do you think this says about Orwell’s beliefs about human nature? Could this happen in our society?
2. In Chapter VI Squealer plays a most important role in Napoleon’s push to become the dictator of Animal Farm. What does Squealer do to enable Napoleon to achieve this goal? What was the significance of propaganda, the management of information and the alteration of history, in Stalin’s rise to power?
1. The murders and purges which occur in Chapter VII are brutal and terrifying, yet the animals are quick to forget about them and to accept explanations. Explain how the pigs can make words appear more real than the actual murders. How does this have frightening applications in reality, both historically and today?
2. Clover seems to be the only animal to suspect that things on Animal Farm aren’t the way they had planned. Why doesn’t she communicate her suspicions to the others? Why doesn’t she consider a rebellion and why is she still willing to follow Napoleon?
1. Research Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in the 1930s and compare it to Stalin’s rise to power in Russia in the 1930s.
2. The theme of deception is prevalent in this chapter. Napoleon is tricked with phony bank notes. What qualities in the animals make them vulnerable to deception? Which “human vices” does deception utilize?
1. Old Major’s view of the future was a bleak one for the animals under Jones. He even predicted that Boxer would be sold to the knacker. His dream was for a utopian society without man and his evil ways. Discuss Old Major’s view of the future and show how and why he was both correct and mistaken in his thinking. How does this relate to historical events?
2. Boxer’s cruel death is a result of Napoleon’s tyrannical rule. Although some of the animals are smart enough to recognize that they are living under tyranny, they do not act. Do you think Orwell is passing judgement on the animals for not trying to change their situation? Does knowledge of a crime not coupled with action constitute complicity in the crime?
1. Compare Manor Farm at the beginning of the story with Manor Farm in the last chapter. What changes have taken place and what things have remained the same? What, in your opinion, is better for the animals and why?
2. Assume that Napoleon was the pig exiled from Animal Farm, and that Snowball became its leader. With your knowledge of Snowball’s ideals and beliefs, discuss how you think the animals would have done under his leadership. What do you think would have been different and why?
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