Animal Farm


‘Animal Farm’ was written at a time of historical crisis in Europe. What was happening at the time? A bit of research is necessary. In groups, investigate the following topics, some of which you may already know about, or will soon find out about, in your Humanities lessons.

The Russian Revolution of 1917.

  • Why did it happen?
  • What effect did it have on the rest of Europe?
  • Explain the ‘isms’ (Marxism, Communism, Socialism, Leninism).
  • Who was Leon Trotsky? How did he get on with Stalin after Lenin’s death?

Josef Stalin as President of the Soviet Union (1923 – 1953).

  • Who was he?
  • How did he gain power?
  • How did he maintain power (explain some methods he used to stay in power)?
  • What kind of leader was he?

The rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany in the early 1930’s.

  • Who was he?
  • How did he gain power?
  • How did he maintain power (explain some methods he used to stay in power)?
  • What kind of leader was he?
  • What kind of public speaker was he?
Read ‘Animal Farm’ here, by clicking on either one of these two images.

Reading Tasks

As we read this book, we need to understand what Orwell meant by his allegory. He was writing about the world in his time, about its politics, its ideologies, and some of its political figures that are maybe not so well-known now as they used to be. There is a bit of history that we need to learn to really understand Orwell’s message here.

As you find out more about the background to Animal Farm, print out and fill in the worksheet below:

Animal Farm Reading Process

To fill in this worksheet, you need to understand the political vocabulary of the time, and also the historical characters that are portrayed in the book. Be prepared to explain your research to the rest of the class so that we can all have a clearer understanding.

The Reading Process document above also contains important background information that will help you understand the period of history Orwell was focusing on. Make sure you read and understand it; if anything is unclear, always ask to find out more!

As you are reading the novel, don’t forget that it is an allegory. Use your knowledge of this type of story, and the background research work you have done already, to add to this document below. Exactly how does Orwell make the animals mirror real actions and events?

Character Chart (with blanks)

Make sure you print out the document, especially the second page; fill it in as you read and keep it in your file.

Below is some more important information for you to have a look at as you read. Hopefully, this will help you understand a little more about the way the book works.

The first focuses on the language in Animal Farm.

Language in Animal Farm

Next is information about the way language is used in politics. This will be useful when you come to make your own speeches later.

The Language of Politics

To be read alongside this is a summary of Orwell’s own views on writing style.

The Writer on Writing


Assessed Tasks

Written Task: Napoleon’s Guide to Power

Manor Farm Memo 1331:25/11/Year 7 of Napoleon

To: Personal Secretary to Our Great Leader Napoleon Pig (AH(1st), AH(2nd)).

As part of Our Great Leader’s determined effort to extend the great revolution to other farms, you have been ordered to write a leaflet that will be sent to our comrade pigs on neighbouring farms to help them in their revolutionary struggle against their human oppressors. This leaflet is intended to instruct our fellow pigs on how to take control of their farms, and then how to exploit the principles of animalism in order to maintain power over the lesser animals for their own benefit.

Our Great Leader’s spokespig, Comrade Squealer, has left you instructions for the front page, which has been designed by his team of young pigs. Now your job is to fill in more detail on the second page, following the pattern set out in the six bullet points, giving detail and examples of each point.

Napoleon’s Power Strategy

You will have some class time for this. Keep watching Veracross for dates.

(If it’s late you will be denied apples and milk for a month!)

Exam: Analytical Essay

Your final assessment for this book will be an essay, to be written in your Semester Exam. Here are some revision tasks to help you prepare.

Revision Tasks

To help you further with the allegorical side of the story, below is a set of cards that you can print and cut to use as a memory aid.

Animal Farm Research Cards

Finally, here are a few extra tasks to enhance your understanding of characters and events in ‘Animal Farm’. We will look at some of these in class during Revision Week, so please look through these two documents beforehand (see Veracross for dates).

Animal Farm Tasks 1                                                                      Animal Farm Tasks 2

Finally, to lead in to the next unit about persuasive speech-making – Squealer is the master of persuasive speech-making on Animal Farm. Let’s see how he does it.

Squealer Speech Analysis Instructions


That’s the end of our studies of ‘Animal Farm’. However, you will find what you have learned important for the next part of this unit: persuasive speech making. Follow the next page on the drop-down menu for Grade 9 English A, above, to find out more.

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