Understanding Animal Farm


This Web page has been designed to assist students to:

  • Explore 20th century world events.
  • Develop understanding of the influence of political events on literature.
  • Deepen appreciation for allegorical literature.

For ease of study, topics have been divided into 3 categories

  1. George Orwell
  2. The Politics of Animal Farm
  3. Animal Farm:
    1. Overview
    2. Themes in focus

Note: Some of these categories will naturally overlap.

George Orwell (1903-1950)

Although well known to modern readers as the author of 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell’s reputation as a journalist, essayist, and political commentator is perhaps as enduring as his legacy in fiction.

George Orwell A biography of George Orwell with links to his essays, books, photographs, and quotes.

George Orwell A brief summary of George Orwell’s life and contributions to literature.

George Orwell A Wikipedia biography of Eric Blair and how he developed into George Orwell. The article links to the literary background of George Orwell.

George Orwell  A Wikipedia bibliography of George Orwell. The listing includes pamphlets, essays, poems, books, and short stories.

George Orwell The Literature Network biography of George Orwell relies heavily on quotes from books, essays, and letters. Also helpful is the Quiz tab at the top of the page.

George Orwell A web site devoted to collecting links related to George Orwell.

George Orwell This site focuses on the political writings of George Orwell. His essays, newspaper columns, and letters are linked on the side column.

George Orwell A collection of letters from George Orwell to his agent, Leonard Moore, about Animal Farm.

George Orwell Photographs of the house which George Orwell lived in while writing Animal Farm.

Manor Farm An essay about the farm which Manor Farm in Animal Farm is based on and George Orwell’s former home next door.

Manor Farm Photographs and descriptions of Chalk Farm which is the farm Orwell used to base Animal Farm’s Manor Farm.

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The Politics of Animal Farm

George Orwell’s books have  political implications and were meant to be understood as representing world issues in his lifetime.

Democratic Socialism George Orwell described himself as a democratic socialist. This Wikipedia essay gives a short overview of those beliefs and lists other prominent writers and leaders who have held those values.

Totalitarianism George Orwell wrote Animal Farm as a statement against totalitarianism. This Wikipedia essay describes this system of government.

A Brief History of Communism This is a PowerPoint presentation by Helen Trevizo. Designed for teachers and classroom use, the presentation gives useful information about Karl Marx, capitalism, and socialism.

Russian Revolution Another PowerPoint presentation designed for classroom teachers, this presentation gives details about allegory, Vladimir Lenin, and the Russian Revolution. Presentation created by Lisa Ward.

South Africa An essay about how the characters from Animal Farm and leaders of South African government are similar.

Animal Farm Overview

Animal Farm Created by Jackie Jura, Orwell Today is a website with hundreds of links about George Orwell and Animal Farm. Many of the links go into detail about Jura’s personal research and her correspondence with other readers and scholars about Animal Farm.

Animal Farm Part of Jackie Jura’s Orwell Today website, this essay “Orwell Speaks through Heroes” makes the argument that George Orwell used Major to voice his opinions.

Animal Farm YouTube video (1:18) by 60second Recap which gives an overview of Animal Farm.

Animal Farm A collection of videos by 60second Recap about Animal Farm. Includes videos on themes, motifs, symbols, and characters.

Theme in Focus: The Power of Words, Language, and Rhetoric

Symbolism A Wiki site with a list of Animal Farm characters and what each represents. Under the category of Squealer, the focus is on the power of rhetoric.

Rhetoric Towards the bottom of this essay, Animal Farm is used as a comparison to Brave New World and an example of speech manipulation.

The Power of Rhetoric An eNotes question and answer forum discussing the power of rhetoric in Animal Farm. Subscription required for full viewing.

The Power of Language PowerPoint slideshow which focuses on the power of language and how it can corrupt. Also includes information on how Orwell treated language.

The Power of Language A game designed for elementary classrooms. This role playing game exposes the power of speech and the use of rhetoric.

Theme in Focus: Utopia to Dystopia

Dystopia and Utopias Kain Seng compares dystopian circumstances in  Brave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, and Never Let me Go.

Utopia and Dystopia An essay detailing the differences between utopian and dystopian books. Animal Farm is an example.

Utopia and Dystopia  An eNotes question and answer discussion on the topic of designating Animal Farm as a dystopian novel. Subscription required for full access to information.

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