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Animal Farm: About the Author; Overview; Setting; Themes and Characters; Literary Technique; Historical and Social Context; Topics for Discussion; Questions; Related Titles and Adaptations

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Introduction

Animal Farm Published 1945 Outline About the Author; Overview; Setting; Themes and Characters; Literary Technique; Historical and Social Context; Topics for Discussion; Questions; Related Titles and Adaptations I ABOUT THE AUTHOR Born Eric Arthur Blair in Motihari, Bengal, India, on June 25, 1903, George Orwell was the son of a British civil servant and belonged to what he considered "the lower-upper-middle class". He returned to England with his mother in 1905 and attended preparatory school before winning a scholarship to Eton College, where he first demonstrated an apparent animosity towards convention and authority. Orwell decided against continuing his studies at either Oxford or Cambridge and instead enlisted with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, a decision that would permanently affect his philosophical perspective, political consciousness, and creative legacy. Orwell returned to Britain in 1927, ostensibly on leave after serving overseas for five years. Within a month of his arrival he had resigned from his post, announcing to his parents his intention of becoming a writer. Attracted to a bohemian, artistic lifestyle, he travelled to Paris in 1928, where he lived for 18 months. He started a career in journalism in Paris, but did not fully realize his literary potential until after his return to Britain. ...read more.

Middle

Orwell passes judgement on the outcome of revolution, comparing the ideological promises made in its name with the reality of their application. In essence, Orwell does not condemn revolution but agonizes over the betrayal of its ideals. Possessing superior knowledge, the pigs assume leadership of the farm, taking a first step towards replacing the tyranny of the past with a new and more terrifying threat for the future. The pigs learn to control the means of communication and literally create their own truth to dispense to the inhabitants of the farm; this is perhaps the most pessimistic aspect of the novel. In the end, pigs are indistinguishable from farmers and the ideals of the revolution seem distant in the face of terror, manipulation, and despair. The idea of revolution appears in a dream to old Major, a pig renowned for his wisdom and benevolence. But as the dream becomes reality, responsibility falls on the two most "pre-eminent" pigs, Snowball and Napoleon. Thinly disguised, the pigs represent the principal figures behind the emergence of the Soviet Union-Major and Snowball are Lenin and Trotsky, and Napoleon is Stalin. Although a clear distinction is made at the beginning of the novel between Jones, as the representative human, and the community of animals inhabiting the farm, the focus quickly shifts to the animals once Jones has been overthrown and specifically to the rivalry that develops between Snowball and Napoleon. ...read more.

Conclusion

List the episodes in which Squealer and Napoleon retell events in order to discredit Snowball. Why do the other animals believe them? Read Nineteen Eighty-Four and discuss any similarities it has to Animal Farm. The animals react differently to the revolution-some are trusting, some resist. Discuss the way Orwell characterizes the different breeds of animal. Are they symbolic of the different human classes? How do the pigs take advantage of the other animals' lack of intelligence? Explain some of the situations where the pigs use this to their advantage. How is language important to the pigs and the novel in general? Would the revolution have been more successful if all the animals were indeed equal? IX RELATED TITLES AND ADAPTATIONS Similar in theme to Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four is both an indictment of political oppression and a vigorous attack on the corruption of language. Throughout the novel, Orwell is relentless in his disparaging analysis of totalitarian society, demonstrating how language can be used as a tool of government to exercise and ensure control over its people. An animated film version of Animal Farm aimed at adults was made in 1954, directed and produced by John Halas and Joy Batchelor. Source: Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. Copyright by Gale Group, Inc. Reprinted by permission. ?? ?? ?? ?? EMILY ADHIAMBO ...read more.

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