The first three weeks of our Animal Farm are focused on learning what an allegory is, how to read allegorically, and exploring George Orwell's masterpiece, Animal Farm. For students to really appreciate Animal Farm, it is important that they study the context and necessary background information to best understand how the story was meant to be interpreted.
We began the unit with a look allegory itself. Studies read about it and looked at examples of other allegories. They then took a short quiz, testing their knowledge of allegory.
This past week, we explored the idea of communism. Because Animal Farm is a critical look at Soviet-style communism, it is important for students to understand what it is and how it came to be in Russia. For this students read some information, took a short quiz, and then compared actual communism to "Animalism" that we find in Animal Farm to see if it the allegory holds up. We used the worksheet below for this activity. (keep reading past the document)
Next week, we will begin exploring the Russian Revolution itself. Animal Farm is, in fact, an allegory meant to criticize the hypocrisy of the Russian Revolution. The characters, setting, and events of the novel parallel much of what happened following the Revolution in 1917. After reading up on the Revolution using information here and here, students will begin analyzing the allegory of the entire book by comparing the elements of Animal Farm with those of history using the worksheet below. All of this is a lead up to a final discussion of the book that will happen in class and a final assignment where students will write their very own allegories.