1. Animal Farm by George Orwell

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1 Theme Topics: Questioning society & forming opinions 1. Animal Farm by George Orwell 2. Choose one of the following: The Giver by Lois Lowry Unwind by Neil Shusterman The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond Uglies by Scott Westerfeld The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick To Parents/Guardians: Students going into the 8th grade are strongly encouraged to read at least one book every two weeks during the summer. Keeping up with summer reading prevents students from losing valuable reading skills they gained this year, and research shows that students who read more over the summer do better in school in every subject. Please encourage your child to read every day this summer! Feel free to contact me with questions. Thank you for your help! -Meghan Manthey, Middle School Literature Teacher

2 Animal Farm What to read before you read: Historical Background (this will help you understand why he wrote this book) The Russian Revolution took place in 1917 when the peasants and working class people of Russia revolted against the government of Tsar Nicholas II. They were led by Vladimir Lenin and a group of revolutionaries called the Bolsheviks. The new communist government created the country of the Soviet Union. The Russian Tsars Before the revolution, Russia was ruled by a powerful monarch called the Tsar. The Tsar had total power in Russia. He commanded the army, owned much of the land, and even controlled the church. During the period of time before the Russian Revolution, life for the working class people and the peasants was very difficult. They worked for little pay, often went without food, and were exposed to dangerous working conditions. The aristocrat class treated the peasants like slaves, giving them few rights under the law and treating them almost like animals. Bloody Sunday: A major event leading to the Russian Revolution took place on January 22, A Large number of workers were marching to the Tsar's palace in order to present a petition for better working conditions. They were fired upon by soldiers and many of them were killed or injured. This day is called Bloody Sunday. Before Bloody Sunday many peasants and working class people revered the Tsar and thought that he was on their side. They blamed their troubles on the government, not on the Tsar. However, after the shootings, the Tsar was perceived as an enemy of the working class and the desire for revolution began to spread. In 1914, World War I began and Russia was at war with Germany. A huge Russian army was formed by forcing working class and peasant men to join. Although the Russian army had great numbers, the soldiers were not equipped or trained to fight. Many of them were sent into battle without shoes, food, and even weapons. Over the next three years, nearly 2 million Russian soldiers were killed in battle and nearly another 5 million were wounded. The Russian people blamed the Tsar for entering the war and getting so many of their young men killed. The people of Russia first revolted in early The revolution began when a number of workers decided to strike. Many of these workers got together during the strike to discuss politics. They began to riot. The Tsar, Nicholas II, ordered the army to suppress the riot. However, many of the soldiers refused to fire on the Russian people and the army began to mutiny against the Tsar. After a few days of riots, the army turned against the Tsar. The Tsar was forced to give up his throne and a new government took over.

3 The government was run by two political parties: the Petrograd Soviet (representing the workers and soldiers) and the Provisional Government (the traditional government without the Tsar). Over the next several months the two sides ruled Russia. One of the main factions of the Petrograd Soviet was a group called the Bolsheviks. They were led by Vladimir Lenin and believed that the new Russian government should be a Marxist (communist) government. In October of 1917, Lenin took full control of the government in what is called the Bolshevik Revolution. Russia was now the first communist country in the world. Lenin leading the Bolshevik Revolution Results After the revolution, Russia exited World War I by signing a peace treaty with Germany called the Treaty of Brest- Litovsk. The new government took control of all industry and moved the Russian economy from a rural one to an industrial one. It also seized farmland from landholders and distributed it among the peasants. Women were given equal rights to those of men and religion was banned from many aspects of society. From 1918 to 1920, Russia experienced a civil war between the Bolsheviks (also called the Red Army) and the anti- Bolsheviks (the White Army). The Bolsheviks won and the new country was called the USSR (United Soviet Socialist Republic). Literature Terms to Know This novel is an allegory, satire, and fable in one. It ridicules the Russian Revolution. Fable: a very brief story told to teach a lesson; usually it involves animals Satire: a form of writing that implements symbolism to ridicule abuses and human foibles in hope of improving or remedying them Allegory: a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one---characters and events stand for people and things in reality. It is also a prophecy that points toward a possible future life. Animal Farm is an allegory about the Russian Revolution mentioned above.

4 Assignment 1: Annotations are a way for you as the reader to connect deeper with the book. It is as if you are having a conversation with the book through your notes in it. While you are reading, you must annotate using the following key below. Make notes, either on the pages of your text or on sticky notes, regarding the following: Expectations and Anticipations in the margins What do you think the book will be about? Do you expect to enjoy it (despite it being required summer reading)? What does the illustration and design of the cover imply about the book? While Reading Characters: name, species, qualities that make them stand out Setting: where and when (point out in book) Vocabulary: circle unfamiliar words (look them up and write the definition as your annotation) Figurative Language: underline examples of simile, metaphor, irony, symbolism, personification What?: put a question mark next to anything that is confusing to you or that you don t understand Connections: does this remind you of anything else you ve read or watched? or something that you have experienced? Write about it in the margins (does not have to be complete sentences) Agree/Disagree: Is the idea or comment made valid or not? After Reading Is there a moral to the story? What is the author trying to tell us about human nature? 1. Choice Novel Assignment 2 After you have read one of the novels from the list above, respond to the following question in 5-7 complete sentences. You must include an introduction and a conclusion; Responses should be typed in 12-pt font and double-spaced. This should be printed out and ready to turn in on the assigned due date. Some say that one of the reoccurring ideas found in dystopian novels is that human beings are inherently/naturally evil. What is your author s message about human

5 nature (characteristics, feelings, and behavioral traits of shared by all humans)? How does the author use character, plot, and/or symbolism to convey different views of humanity? Provide evidence from your novel to support your answer with page numbers. Grading: /20 You are very aware of the impact the text has and you make intelligent comments in your response. /20: Your answer demonstrates personal growth as you are reading and watching. You show political and historical awareness in your answer. /20: You have a very good command of Standard English and you write with voice, style, and originality. /20: You are able to clearly express arguments, opinions, and responses in your original writing. /20: You are able to make inferences well and comprehend the book s deeper meaning consistently. You demonstrate insight in your answers. /100

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