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Animal Farm

By: George Orwell  |  Grades: 11-12  |  Lexile Level: 1170

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Teaching Animal Farm by George Orwell

Every student should read Animal Farm; it is the best book about how power corrupts--and how difficult it is to maintain a free society. Although Orwell wrote Animal Farm about the Russian Revolution, the story of the animals is far more universal than that one point in world history.

Written as a simple fable, Animal Farm is straight-forward and easy to follow. The challenge in teaching this book is to get students to make the connections between the fable and real life, to see the lessons to be learned from the animals' actions.

Making the connections with Stalinist Russia helps students see a real-life, historical application of the fable, but if your students aren't up to digging into Russian history, the same lessons can be learned; just dig into the actions of the animals, explore how and why one event leads to another, how the pigs come to power, how they abuse that power, and how they get away with it. Explore how the free animals lose their freedoms.

This book gives you the perfect vehicle to teach the art of persuasion: persuasive writing, how to argue effectively, how to recognize persuasive techniques in advertising and other media, and much more.

The teaching resources below will help focus your discussions and activities so your students will get the most out of reading Orwell's classic story of Animal Farm.

Summary of Animal Farm by George Orwell

George Orwell's classic satire of the Russian Revolution is an intimate part of our contemporary culture. It is an account of the bold struggle that transforms Mr. Jones's Manor Farm into Animal Farm, a wholly democratic society built on the credo that All Animals Are Created Equal.

Out of their cleverness, the pigs Napoleon, Squealer, and Snowball emerge as leaders of the new community in a subtle evolution that bears an insidious familiarity.

The climax is the brutal betrayal of the faithful horse Boxer, when totalitarian rule is reestablished with the bloodstained postscript to the founding slogan: But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.

Reviews

"Animal Farm remains our great satire on the darker face of modern history."--Malcolm Bradbury

"As lucid as glass and quite as sharp...[ Animal Farm] has the double meaning, the sharp edge, and the lucidity of Swift."-- Atlantic Monthly

"A wise, compassionate, and illuminating fable for our times."-- The New York Times

"Orwell has worked out his theme with a simplicity, a wit, and a dryness that are close to La Fontaine and Gay, and has written in a prose so plain and spare, so admirably proportioned to his purpose, that Animal Farm even seems very creditable if we compare it with Voltaire and Swift."--Edmund Wilson, The New Yorker

A Brief Biography of George Orwell

George Orwell (pseudonym for Eric Blair [1903-50]) was born in Bengal and educated at Eton; after service with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, he returned to Europe to earn his living penning novels and essays. He was essentially a political writer who focused his attention on his own times, a man of intense feelings and intense hates. An opponent of totalitarianism, he served in the Loyalist forces in the Spanish Civil War. Besides his classic Animal Farm, his works include a novel based on his experiences as a colonial policeman, Burmese Days, two firsthand studies of poverty, Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Pier, an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, Homage to Catalonia; and the extraordinary novel of political prophecy whose title became part of our language, 1984.

Biography of George Orwell on YouTube 

Available Teacher Guides, Lesson Plans, & Novel Units For Animal Farm: