Animal Farm

By George Orwell

Sample Questions

1) Is Animal Farm a novel of universal meaning, or a specific indictment of the Communist regime?

Talk about the nature of a fable, and use Aesop's Fables, Just so Stories (Kipling) and Biblical examples. Discuss how the morals to be taken from the fables can be simple and singular or complicated and multiple. Discuss the universal truths found in Animal Farm:

  1. That man needs leadership
  2. That there are certain basic and base human traits which mean that an equal community will never exist
  3. That politics use a currency of lies

Next, discuss the direct Communist allegories mentioned in the guide above.

Finish by stating that Orwell uses the Communist regime as a form of allegory: that it is representative of essential problems which mean that a society based upon the equality of the individuality.

2) How does Orwell satirise politics in the novel?

Talk about the fact that Orwell is not only targeting Communism, but also the manipulative nature of politics on a global level. The way that the pigs slowly take power is reminiscent of the Nazi takeover of Germany. The Seven Commandments are the tenets upon which the Animal Farm is founded. The rewriting of the Commandments, and of the history of the Farm, is just one example of Orwell's satire of the political process. The lies and fabrication of the pigs show the ways in which the politicians insinuate their way into the collective psyche through manipulation. The workers are used both as a tool for the politicians, and a source of the labour whose products they use to line their own nests. The final betrayal of the final Commandment shows the ultimate result of political propaganda - the letting down of the people it set out originally to woo.