Animal Farm

Just in case you prefer to read online you can access the full text here. Personally I prefer to read a book, but that’s me!

Animal Farm online version

Political satire

political satire


How does this cartoon help us to understand what political satire might mean? What do you need to know before the satire is understandable?

Cover sheet for assignments

Cover Sheet – Senior School 2015

Reading the novel:

In chapter 1, we have the seeds of revolution sown in the animals’ minds as Old Major describes a utopian society where all animals are free. He sets out the rules for such a society. Watch how these rules are bent, broken and destroyed either by deliberate actions or lack of careful accountability.

Old Major’s ideas

While reading the novel, fill in the attached sheet: Communist Russia/Animal farm

Communist Russia-Animal farm

Each student to pair up with another and be responsible for leading the class discussion on a chapter

After the novel has been read, students will be asked to write an essay. Choices are listed here so information can be gathered as we read

1. “Orwell’s satirical novel Animal farm shows us not that it is inevitable that any idealistic society will become unfair, only that the process can be ridiculous.”
2. “Orwell’s novel Animal farm shows that when societies become unfair, everyone is at fault”
3. There is no hope in Animal farm
4. Lord Acton, a British historian once said that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Use Orwell’s novel Animal farm to affirm or refute this statement.
5. Orwell’s Animal Farm is a novel that Christian schools should study because it shows the world as it is

Students can access the assessment rubric and the essay details on the sheets below

Animal Farm essay rubric

Animal Farm essay


To understand characterisation in Animal farm you need to think about the purposes of satire and metaphor. Metaphor is when one thing represents something else. One example is that corrupt leaders are greedy pigs. Each animal on Animal Farm metaphorically represents a type of person or group

Satire is when something is shown to be ridiculous. Napoleon who is the leader of the pigs is ridiculous because he is so obviously corrupt and hypocritical.

So one basic point Orwell is making is that human behaviour can be stupid and ridiculous.

Use the attached sheets below to explore character

Animal farm characters

Animal Farm cause and effect

Key question: Cause and Effect.

A key question that Orwell asks is this: How do societies go from trying to be fair to end up being unfair? He suggests it is in two ways

a) People actively want to make it unfair
b) People let it become unfair


Divide into pairs and get the Cause and Effect sheet. Cut out each section and arrange into a cause and effect flow chart by asking:

1. What are the characters and actions that most directly lead to Animal farm becoming an unfair society – put into a sequence showing how one thing leads to another
2. For the remaining characters, arrange them and their actions around the first sequence trying to show how they contributed to an unjust society

Key ideas

There are a number of key ideas that Orwell explores in detail in Animal farm. See the attached sheet

Animal Farm key questions

are poor role models more powerful than good role models?
Who is the worst role model and who is the best?
Which has more influence?
Will corruption always triumph?

Is everyone driven by self-interest?
Does the instinct to survive and look after your own interests always triumph over selflessness?
Does any animal do anything to truly stop another animal being harmed in Animal farm?

Can we always rationalise how our behaviour is fair or right?
Is it true that the stronger or ‘purer’ our beliefs and ideals, the worse it is when we don’t live up to them?
Is it true that the more righteous our beliefs, the more likely we are to engage in behaviour which is destructive?


Take any one of these questions and prepare a 2-5 minute speech or monologue around the topic

Students can access the assessment rubric here

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