ANIMAL FARM Exploring the modern allegorical and satirical novel

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1 ANIMAL FARM Exploring the modern allegorical and satirical novel

2 THE AUTHOR S MOTIVATION In explaining how he came to write Animal Farm, Orwell says he once saw a little boy whipping a horse: It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the [worker]. Orwell said it was the first book in which he consciously tried to blend artistic and political goals.

3 ALLEGORIES VS. METAPHORS Allegories are similar to metaphors: in both the author uses one subject to represent another, seemingly unrelated, subject. However, unlike metaphors, which are generally short and contained within a few lines, an allegory extends its representation over the course of an entire story, novel, or poem.

4 QUESTION TO DISCUSS What makes an allegory effective? Discuss. How are the allegories in Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm the same or different? Discussing allegory is a great way to analyze rather than focusing on summary in your critical writing. What are some literary devices that an author uses to support allegory? Personification Simile Metaphor Symbolism Themes Overstatement Colloquialism

5 ANIMAL FARM IS ALSO A SATIRICAL NOVEL Orwell attacks a serious issue by presenting it in a ridiculous light or otherwise poking fun at it. He uses animals to criticize the socialist political structure. This fantastical story has similarities to fables by such authors as Aesop and Jean de la Fontaine. The stories have a moral or message and generally use animals to communicate this to the author s audience.

6 DISCUSSION How is Orwell s Animal Farm an allegorical retelling of the end of feudalism and the rise and consolidation of communism in Russia? How does Orwell parallel Czarist Russia and the life of the Russian peasantry in the characters and events of Animal Farm? What internal feud within the Communist party is paralleled in the struggle for power between Napoleon and Snowball? During the Stalinist period the Communist State repeatedly set industrial and agricultural production goals that were often difficult or impossible to reach. These goals played a major role in the government s Five Year Plan and similar plans. How are these plans represented in Orwell s novella?

7 DISCUSSION How does Napoleon respond to criticism or resistance? Is there a parallel to his behavior in the history of Soviet Union? How does Napoleon gradually begin to abuse his power? Why do the other animals of Manor Farm allow him to encroach upon their rights and freedoms? In the last paragraphs of the novella Napoleon, amongst the other human farmers, is heard to give a toast to the prosperity of Manor Farm. Contained within this scene is the irony that makes Napoleon s behavior so ghastly. Describe the irony inherent in Napoleon s behavior, and explain how it corresponds to the behavior of the party elite in the Soviet Union.

8 DISCUSSION What is important about the title? What is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or meaningful? What are the conflicts in Animal Farm? What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional) do you see in this story?

9 DISCUSSION How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else? What role does the written word play in Animal Farm? What are some themes in the story? How do they relate to the plot and characters?

10 DISCUSSION How does George Orwell reveal character in Animal Farm? Elucidate the symbolism inherent in the characters' names. Throughout the novel, the natural characteristics of each animal figure heavily in their motives and pronouncements. How do the actions of Napoleon (a pig), Boxer (a horse), Benjamin (a donkey) and the dogs and sheep reflect the traits normally associated with the animal? Do your feel that Orwell purposely chose certain types of animals to assume certain roles?

11 DISCUSSION What are some symbols in Animal Farm? How do they relate to the plot and characters? Do you find it strange that Molly, the narcissistic and lazy horse, successfully leaves the farm and goes to live among humans, even though she is fully aware of the "evil" that Man represents? What deeper meanings or symbolisms do Molly's actions hold?

12 EXTENDING MEANING: WHAT IS ORWELL S MESSAGE? How is this allegorical tale also a rhetorical tale? How does it differ from a political speech? What is Orwell trying to persuade the audience to see or understand? What is Orwell cautioning his audience against? How does the story of Boxer act as a persuasive argument against tyranny? What are the lessons to be learned from Napoleon s behavior? What is the warning contained in the changes to the list of commandments? What is the lesson contained in the final, single commandment: All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others?

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