Animal Farm: A Fairy Story

by George Orwell

Summary of the rise and fall of the USSR: Headed for The Dustheap - TIME.pdf

You need to be familiar with the following terms, events, and people:

Literary Context:
  • allegory
  • fable (beast fable)
  • fairy story (tale)
  • satire
  • symbolism
  • propaganda and doublespeak

Historical Context:
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Leon Trotsky
  • totalitarianism
  • socialism
  • communism
  • Stalin's Great Purge
  • Karl Marx
  • Vladimir Lenin

Discussion Leader Grading Sheet - Revised Animal Farm .pdf

Discussion Leaders for Animal Farm

For your assigned section, you need to be prepared to discuss the items below. You must attempt to have multiple examples of your assigned discussion topic, providing specific page numbers and quotations. In order to prepare for the discussion, you need to write-up your findings on the designated wiki page. You should divide up the work equally, and clearly label your contributions to the wiki page, for example (Mr. Stephens). You are encouraged to check your partner's work for accuracy, but you will receive a grade on your specific contributions. Your grade will be based on accuracy, thoroughness, participation, and knowledge of the text.

Discussion topics for each chapter:
  1. summary - you will simply provide a verbal summary
  2. allegorical connections (What is the 'below the surface meaning?)
  3. symbolism (see below for symbols to look for)
  4. satire (How is Orwell making fun of and making a point about the object of his satire? See information below for help.)
  5. character change, focusing on the pigs (How do the pigs change?)
  6. twisting of logic and history to serve political ends (What examples do you see?)
  7. use of propaganda/doublespeak (look for slogans, songs, etc.); EXPLAIN the significance; use the handout
  8. abuse of power (How do some abuse power at the expense of others?)
  9. questions: develop a minimum of five (total) interpretive and evaluative questions based on the section (see below for question writing help)

Please go to your class wikipage for the link to your discussion write-up:
Block C Semester 2
Block E Semester 2

C Block:

Chapter 1: Example Analysis - Mr. Stephens
Chapter 2: whole class
Chapters 3-4: Katie, Carol
Chapter 5: Eldred, Arnold
Chapter 6: Peter, Eric
Chapter 7: Jasmine, Jenny
Chapter 8: Jane, Christine
Chapter 9: James, Andy
Chapter 10: Sam, Hyeunjin

E Block:
Chapter 1: Example Analysis - Mr. Stephens
Chapter 2: Joanna, Susie, Jane
Chapter 3: John, PeterL
Chapter 4: Eric, Alex
Chapter 5: Erin, Rosa
Chapter 6: Seung Hyon, Tae Yoon
Chapter 7: Stella, Sally
Chapter 8: PeterP, PeterK
Chapter 9: Christina, Rachel
Chapter 10: Min, Joon

Symbols in Animal Farm

What might the following represent? Also, be on the lookout for more - this is not a exhaustive list.

Sugarcandy Mountain
Manor Farm
The windmill
Animal Hero, First Class
The barn and the farmhouse
The Seven Commandments
The green flag
Foxwood Farm and Pinchfield Farm
Spontaneous Demonstration


Allusion: a reference in a literary work to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature. Allusions are often indirect or brief references to well-known characters or events. For Animal Farm, you should specifically note allusions from your recent work in World History class.

Satire: Criticizes human or individual vices, follies, abuses or shortcomings through the following methods:

Ridicule: deride; make fun of

Irony: A mode of expression, through words (verbal irony) or events (irony of situation) or performance (dramatic irony), conveying a reality different from and usually opposite to appearance or expectation.

Exaggeration or Hyperbole: intentional and obvious overstatement

Sarcasm: A form of sneering criticism in which disapproval is often expressed as ironic praise (verbal irony).

Juxtaposition: compare and contrast = placing two things side-by-side

Double Entendre or Pun: words or phrases with double meanings

Rules of Satire

  • The opposite meaning is usually true. When Voltaire sounds like he is praising someone or something, he is usually not.
  • Exaggeration will get you everything. Read closely for exaggeration and how Orwell uses it to make a point.
  • Shock value is okay. In traditional narratives, exaggeration would mislead and confuse the reader, but in Animal Farm, it enhances the satirical effect.
  • Typical narrative devices can be used or not at the author’s whim. Orwell is not bound by rules of time, place and action in his work.
  • Characters’ names typically have multiple meanings. This is true of almost every one of Voltaire's characters so read carefully.
  • Language is crucially important. It is not always what Orwell says but how he says it.
  • Fantasy and reality can interplay without penalty.
  • Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, the purpose of satire is not primarily humor but criticism of an event, an individual or a group in a clever manner.

Types of Questions:

(examples from Bram Stoker's Dracula)

Factual Questions: A factual question has only one correct answer that can be supported with evidence from the text.
Interpretive Questions : An interpretive question has more than one answer that can be supported with evidence from the text. Often begins with "WHY."
Evaluative Questions: An evaluative question asks us to decide whether we agree with the author's ideas or point of view in light of our knowledge, values, or experiences of life. This is where you might as questions about the historical context of Dracula. For example, "How does Mina compare the the stereotypical Victorian woman?"
Other Questions: Questions that interest you, but don't seem to fit in the other categories. Maybe connections with other texts we have read.

Also ponder the following ideas when writing discussion questions, but DO NOT write the following type of question: "What is the theme in Dracula?" or "What is symbolic in Dracula?" You need to identify the themes, symbols and ask questions about them. For example, "What does blood symbolize in Dracula?" Most of these ideas will fall into the evaluative question category.
  • setting
  • plot structure
  • character motivations (often a good source for interpretive questions)
  • conflict
  • point of view
  • theme
  • writing style
  • symbols
  • tone (the author's attitude toward the subject or the audience implied in a literary work; tone may be formal, informal, intimate, solemn, somber, playful, serious, ironic, condescending, etc.)