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2014 Animal Farm Book Talk and Unit Preview

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by

Mark Gardner

on 15 April 2014

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Transcript of 2014 Animal Farm Book Talk and Unit Preview

George Orwell's
ANIMAL FARM
Manor Farm, nestled into the lush green countryside of rural ENGLAND, has seen better days.
The farmer, Jones, is a drunk.
The animals are worked too hard with too little food. And now they've decided to do something about it.
Old Major, the well-respected and aging boar, calls a meeting in the barn after Jones has gone to bed.
Animal Farm
is a "fable."
A fable is a story where animals
are the main characters; the story's
purpose is to teach a lesson or
communicate a moral theme.
The animals of Manor Farm, seeking a better life, decide the farmer MUST GO.
Battle lines are clearly drawn.
All humans are enemies.
All animals are comrades.
The rebellion is a success sooner
than the animals could have dreamed.
New laws must be established.
Animal Farm will be a place of
equality, where animal dreams can come true...
But this is not a story about animals.
At least, not
FARM
animals...
In 1917, a revolution took place.
In Russia, the vast country was ruled
by an ineffective and uncaring leader,
Czar Nicholas II
Nicholas II was notorious for his
lack of empathy toward the working
people of Russia.
While peasants and workers
starved and suffered, the Czar
and his government enjoyed
comfort, luxury and ease.
Then, out of the masses, rose
a man who offered the poor
and suffering citizens new hope.
Vladimir Lenin
Lenin was educated in the
philosophies of communism.
Lenin took the writings of a man named
Karl Marx
and translated these ideas for
the Russian people to understand.
These ideas of
communism
were based on the idea that all people
should be equal--all people should share
wealth and power--and that citizens should
not be subject to the whims and wishes of
the rich and powerful.
To the citizens of Russia, poor, hungry and impoverished, the idea of equality was appealing. Lenin grew in popularity.
In bloody street battles with the Czar's troops,
revolutionaries overthrew the government.
Vladimir Lenin
with his promise of a communist
dream of equality in labor and
wealth, was ushered in as leader of
the new Soviet Republic.
Under Lenin, two men achieved prominence:
Joseph Stalin
Leon Trotsky
Stalin was a quiet but terrifying leader.
He named himself "Stalin" (which was
not his birth name) because it meant
"man of steel." Stalin's lust for power
was total, ruthless and vicious.
Trotsky believed in the ideals of
Communism, but butted heads with
Stalin about how to achieve those ideals. Trotsky disagreed with some
of the tactics Lenin and Stalin used.
In 1922, Lenin suffered a crippling stroke.
He was unable to continue leading the newly established Russia.
When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin and
Trotsky were left to share power.

This didn't end well.
Years later,
George Orwell
would be inspired to write
ANIMAL FARM after watching
a young boy driving a horse and cart
through London.

Stalin's vision was to make
Russia an economic and manufacturing
superpower in the world.
This meant
WORK.
To achieve the dream of
Russian greatness, all
citizens had to work.
And work hard.
Unfortunatley, Stalin's promise
to the people of Russia was left
un-realized. In his quest for total
power, Stalin eliminated political
rivals through assassinations and
executions.
Even Trotsky was run out of Russia,
had his citizenship revoked, and was
eventually was assassinated in Mexico
while exiled from his home country.
Millions upon millions of Russian
citizens worked themselves to death,
starving under Stalin and his promises
of a better life now that the Czar was
gone. The promise of Communism
kept them working and dying for the
dream.
In the end,
the people of Russia worked harder and suffered more deeply under Stalin than they ever had under the Czar.
He thought:
If only the horse knew how much
stronger he was than the little boy...

never again would the horse allow
the boy to rule it by the whip.

The same was true, Orwell realized, about what happened to the people of Russia.

Millions of people were controlled, but if they only knew their collective power, they would rise up and overthrow Stalin and his regime.
So why didn't they?
is an
allegory
an allegory is a story which can be
read on "two levels."

In the case of ANIMAL FARM, we could read
it as the story of animals overthrowing an
incompetent farmer.
or...
ANIMAL FARM can also be read
to symbolize the people, events, and themes
of history.

The latter is what George Orwell intended.
ANIMAL FARM is also a
satire
the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or humor to mock human vice or folly
to emphasize the ridiculousness of society, politics, or people's actions
fable
allegory
satire
DEFINE:
In your booklet, locate the page called "Booktalk Notes"
Today:
...record critical details about the context of the novella.
...define the literary terms
fable
,
allegory
, and
satire
.
Look at your Vocab List #1
Which of your words match these images?
1.
2.
3.
4.
cryptic
tyrannize
benevolent
irrepressible
Full transcript