George Orwell’s Animal Farm: CH 1-4

Did You Know?
Many of the ideals behind the Soviet revolution were based on the writings of Karl Marx. A German intellectual who lived in the mid-1800s, Marx believed that societies are divided into two segments, a working class and an owner class. The working class creates all the products, while the owner class enjoys all the benefits of these products. This class division leads to inequality and oppression of the working class. Marx’s objective was to create a classless society in which the work is shared by all for the benefit of all, and he believed revolution was the way to achieve this goal.
In leading workers toward revolution, Marx used slogans like “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” He also urged people to give up their religion, which he believed gave them false hope for a better life in heaven. The character of Old Major in Animal Farm is sometimes interpreted as a representation of Karl Marx. Major’s speech in the novel’s opening chapter reflects many Marxist ideas, from the opening “Comrades,” a typical form of address in the former Soviet Union, to the revolutionary song he teaches the other animals.
Character Types
A fable is a narration intended to enforce a useful truth. Fables have two important characteristics. First, they teach a moral or lesson. In Animal Farm, the moral involves Orwell’s views about Soviet politics. Second, the characters are most frequently animals. These animal characters often function as a satiric device to point out the follies of humankind. Though Old Major, Snowball, and Napoleon may represent Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin, many of the story characters are much more general. Some animals are grouped together as a single character—“the sheep,” “the hens,” and “the dogs.” Orwell also capitalizes on the traits generally associated with particular animals, such as sheep as followers and dogs as loyal.
Connecting to the Literature
Use your READER’S NOTEBOOK to explore the following ideas. You may answer each question separately, or craft your answers into one-two paragraphs. Why do you think revolutions occur? What circumstances would lead people to overthrow the daily political and economical structure of their lives? Identify one revolution with which you are familiar. Answer the following questions about it: What were the circumstances of the revolution? What sorts of goals were the revolutionaries seeking to accomplish? What was the outcome of the revolution? (Ask your parents about these ideas if you need some help.)
Define the Vocabulary Words for each lesson before you read the chapters. They are located in the Notes Section of the lesson, and will be included in the Online Quiz for those chapters.
Chapters 1-4 Vocabulary
Define the following words that appear in Chapters 1-4 (before reading).
    1. scullery
    2. mincing
    3. tyranny
    4. enmity
    5. preeminent
    6. expounded
    7. apathy
    8. parasitical
    9. obstinate
 10. cryptic
 11. indefatigable
 12. maxim
 13. ignominious
Questions: Answer the following questions
  1. What was your reaction to the animal’s revolution? Do you sympathize with the animals’ complaints and goals? Explain.
  2. (a) Describe how the Rebellion take place. (b) How does the animals’ behavior during the Rebellion suggest both human and animal characteristics?
  3. How do the pigs gain the rights to the cow’s milk? Why do the other animals allow this to occur?
  4. (a) How does the original vision of Animalism becomes the slogan “Four legs bad, two legs good.” (b) In your opinion, do the animals want rules with simple language? (c) What kind of language do the pigs use?
  5. What technique does Orwell use to cast doubt on the likelihood of a successful revolution? Explain.
  6. (a) Characterize Snowball as a leader. (b) Do you think his reaction to the stable-boy’s death is the appropriate reaction to have during a revolution? State what his reaction was, then explain your opinion.
  7. The animals recognize the Battle of the Cowshed as a pivotal moment in the Revolution. What effects did the battle have on the animals, individually and as a group?
  8. Summarize Old Major’s speech to the animals.
  9. Does Jones suspects that the animals are plotting a revolt?
  10. Does the Rebellion, takes the animals by surprise? Or have they planned for it?
  11. What part does Moses play in the Rebellion?
  12. Who is the leader who is an idealist with the good of all the animals as his aim?
Getting Creative: Chapter Projects
In addition to expanding your vocabulary, reading the novel, and taking quizzes, you will be working on a few, short Chapter Projects in this unit. The first two are described here in this lesson. You will choose ONE of these to complete. Take time to fully understand what is being asked for before choosing, and begin working on it this week as you complete the chapter to which it relates. The projects are designed to be fun, creative, challenging, and to enhance your understanding of this book.
Chapter 2 Project
Imagine that you were given a piece of land the size of Texas. You have plenty of farming land, plenty of water resources, plenty of oil reserves, and enough forest land to cover over half of your country. You also inherited a population of about one million people. You are in charge.
  • View a world Atlas. Notice how countries are drawn and labeled. Do not copy any particular country. You are creating your own in shape, size, and features. You may use other maps as models for certain features, but yours must be original. Will your country be boxy like the Dakotas? Long and skinny like California? Connected to other countries? Have an ocean on one or more sides? The choices are yours.
  • Create a map of your country and include the capital, other major cities, rivers, lakes, forestland, mountain ranges, oil reserves, and water resources you think are necessary and ideal. Spend time planning strategically. For example, your largest towns should reflect where the greatest number of people live. Be sure that you have placed those cities where this would be logically possible. Indicate the population of each town (if you like, optional) and give some visual representation of industry that would be possible, if any.
  • The process is to help you think about what you could do if you were given a new country to manage . . . based on its topography (mountains, rivers, type of land, natural resources, etc), location, and population (cities, towns, etc).
  • This is a free-hand (or computer-generated) drawing with color. Your goal is to scan it, or take a picture of it, and transfer it to a PowerPoint slide (or slides, depending on its size).
  • Name this country that you inherited. Place the name somewhere on the drawing. Why did you choose this name? What does it stand for? (Put the answers to these questions on a separate slide.)

Chapter 4 Project
Almost all countries dedicate monuments to their heroes or leaders. All countries have a national anthem (a song that unites the people of that country).

  • Find 3 monuments and 3 national anthems from 3 different countries that exist in our world today.
  • Present each country, one at a time, as part of a PowerPoint presentation. Include: Name of country, Picture of the monument you have chosen, and a Copy of the Lyrics for their anthem. If you discover an audio recording of any of the anthems you choose, create a link to your source so others can listen.
  • On your last PowerPoint slide for each country, include two-three statements (or a well-written paragraph) characterizing the country, based on its monument, the lyrics of its anthem, and your prior knowledge. You could end up with 3-5 slides per country=9-15 slides, total.

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