English Literature: Animal Farm Introduction

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What is Animal Farm about?
Animal Farm is a novel about an animal uprising on a farm in England.
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Is Animal Farm based on real events?
Yes, it's an allegory of the Russian Revolution.
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What are the real events of the Russian Revolution?
In October 1917, Vladimir Lenin led a revolution against the Russian government. He wanted the working classes to have more power. After Lenin died, Stalin took power and became a dictator. Lenin's vision was completely destroyed.
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Why did George Orwell write Animal Farm?
He wrote it in response to Stalin's corruption of communism. The Russian Revolution had failed and life in Russia wasn't equal.
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What did Orwell want to show through Animal Farm?
He wanted that a revolutionary leader could be corrupted by power and that this could happen in any country - not just Russia.
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Describe the main events in Orwell's life.
1903 - Born in India as Eric Blair. 1907 - Moved to England. 1922 - Joined the Indian Police in Burma. 1927 - Returned to England. 1933 - Published first book by 'George Orwell.' 1945 - Published Animal Farm. 1949 - Wrote 1984. 1950 - Died age 46.
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What was first Orwell's book called?
'Down and Out in Paris and London'
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Was Animal Farm easily published?
No, several publishers refused to print it because it was so controversial. After publication it became a huge success.
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What did Orwell die of?
Tuberculosis.
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What are the ten key locations in Animal Farm?
Animal Farm, Cowshed, Henhouse, Big Barn, Farmhouse, Barley Field, Hayfield, Pasture, Foxwood Farm and Pinchfield Farm.
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Describe life under Stalin.
Stalin ruled Russia alone and had absolute power over Russians. He used fear to stay in control, used propaganda to develop a cult of personality. Russians worked harder and suffered more under Stalin - but benefited less.
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How did Stalin use power to stay in control?
He arrested, imprisoned or executed people without warning.
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What is a 'cult of personality?'
When you create an idealistic public image to increase popularity.
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Who are the main ten characters in Animal Farm?
Napoleon, Squealer, Snowball, Old Major, Boxer, Benjamin, Mollie, Moses, Clover and Mr Jones.
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Describe Napoleon's character.
Napoleon is a fierce boar who always gets his own way. He leads the revolution but the power goes to his head.
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Describe Squealer's character.
Squealer is Napoleon's right-hand man and is in charge of propaganda. He's a very persuasive speaker.
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Describe Snowball's character.
Snowball is clever, brave and enthusiastic. Napoleon thinks Snowball is a threat and chases him off the farm.
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Describe Old Major's character.
Old Major is the principled old boar who starts the revolution.
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Describe Boxer's character.
Boxer is a very hard worker but a slow thinker. He tries to solve problems by working harder, and never doubts Napoleon.
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Describe Benjamin's character.
Benjamin is a cynical donkey who does no more than he has to on the farm.
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Describe Mollie's character.
Mollie is a vain, pretty horse who cares more about herself than the revolution.
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Describe Mose's character.
Moses is a religious who tells the animals tales of 'Sugarcandy Mountain'. The pigs call him a liar but let him stay on the farm.
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Describe Clover's character.
Clover is a kind, motherly horse. She worries about the other animals on the farm.
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Describe Mr Jones' character.
Mr Jones is a cruel, drunken farmer. His animals rebel against him, chasing him off his farm.
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Describe the key points in Chapter one.
Old Major calls the animals to a meeting, He tells them about the dream of animals living in harmony and working only for themselves. Major dies, but when Jones forgets to feed the animals, the pigs lead a rebellion against him and chase him away.
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Describe key points in Chapter four and five.
News of animals' successful revolution spread to neighbouring farms owned by Frederick and Pilkington. They help Jones try to recapture his farm. The humans attack and Snowball bravely leads the animals to a victory at the Battle of the Cowshed.
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Describe key points in Chapter four and five - 2 (after Battle of Cowshed)
Sn and N disagree over everything and tensions run high. Sn wants to build a windmill but N urinates over the plans. At the final windmill debate, N sets his dogs on Sn and he's chased from the farm. N announces that he's going to build the windmill.
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Describe key points in chapters six to eight.
The animals work harder and eat less under N. N starts ignoring the principles of animalism, trading with humans and sleeping in farmhouse beds. Sq changes commandments to suit pigs' needs. When the completed windmill falls down in storm N blames Sn.
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Describe key points in chapters six to eight - 2 (after windmill knocked down)
The farm has a bad harvest. N tells the hens he's selling their eggs to raise money - when they refuse he starves them until they give in. To prevent further rebellion, N forces many animals to confess they're working with Sn, then executes them.
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Describe key points in chapters six to eight - 3 (Napoleon executes animals)
N sells timber to Frederick, who pays he forged notes. Frederick then invades the farm and blows up the windmill. After a great struggle, the animals win the battle of the Windmill.
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Describe key points in chapters nine and ten.
The animals continue to work hard, and rebuild the windmill. They're starving, while pigs get fatter and lazier. N introduces new rules that benefit pigs, not other animals. N invites humans to play cards. The animals can't tell pigs and humans apart
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What happens to Boxer in last two chapters?
Boxer, the farm's most loyal worker, collapses from all the work and is sold to the knackers yard.
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What happens to Napoleon in last two chapters?
Napoleon becomes more like Jones - he walks on two legs, wears clothes and carries a whip.
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What happens to the Commandments in last two chapters?
All the commandments are removed and replaced with just one - 'ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHER ANIMALS'
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Card 2

Front

Is Animal Farm based on real events?

Back

Yes, it's an allegory of the Russian Revolution.

Card 3

Front

What are the real events of the Russian Revolution?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Why did George Orwell write Animal Farm?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What did Orwell want to show through Animal Farm?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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