1. How does Orwell explore the problem of rhetoric in Animal Farm? Paying particular attention to the character of Squealer, how is language used as an instrument of social control? How do the pigs rewrite history?
2. Discuss Boxer. What role does he play on the farm? Why does Napoleon seem to feel threatened by him? In what ways might one view the betrayal of Boxer as an alternative climax of the novel (if we consider Napoleon’s banishment of Snowball and the pigs’ initial consolidation of power as the true climax)?
3. Do you think Animal Farm’s message would come across effectively to someone who knows nothing about Soviet history or the conflict between Stalin and Trotsky? What might such a reader make of the story?
4. Of all of the characters in Animal Farm, are there any who seem to represent the point of view of the author? Which of the animals or people do you think come(s) closest to achieving Orwell’s perspective on Animal Farm?
Buy on BN.com and save!
Animal Farm (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)
Sample Analytical Paper Topics
The following paper topics are designed to test your understanding of the novel as a whole and to analyze important themes and literary devices. Following each question is a sample outline to help get you started.
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This statement by Lord Acton, sent in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton on April 5, 1887, provides the basis for understanding the effects of power on the heads of state, and it furnishes insight into one of the main themes in the novel Animal Farm. Write a paper that shows how power affects the characters, the events and the outcome of the book.
I. Thesis Statement: Animal Farm is a historical novel, set in England but dealing with the events leading up to and after the Russian Revolution of 1917. It illustrates the idea expressed by Lord Acton that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This abuse of power can be demonstrated by studying Napoleon’s actions in the book.
II. Power on Animal Farm before the Rebellion
A. Man has absolute power, taking without producing
B. Jones operates the Manor Farm with no regard for his animals
1. Animals aren’t fed
2. Animals are slaughtered
3. No animal lives its life to a natural end
4. Animal families are broken up by the sale of the young
A. Old Major holds the key to power: eliminate man
B. The pigs are the leaders even before the Rebellion
1. They are more clever than the others
2. They are assertive, sitting in the front at the meeting
3. They teach themselves to read
4. They are the organizers forming various animal committees.
IV. The Rebellion
A. Elimination of man creates a “power vacuum”
B. Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer become the new leaders that fill the vacuum
C. Pigs get special privileges—milk and apples
V. The Harvest
A. Pigs are the supervisors
B. They make the work schedules
C. They move into the harness room
D. Special privileges for the pigs are said to be necessary to keep Jones away
VI. The Windmill
A. Napoleon and Snowball vie for control of the farm
B. Napoleon eliminates the competition
1. He uses the dogs to expel Snowball
2. Squealer discredits Snowball
C. Napoleon assumes the power to run Animal Farm
VII. Changes on Animal Farm
A. Trade with the humans
1. The arrival of Mr. Whymper
2. The sale of a stack of hay
3. The sale of part of the wheat...
(The entire section is 1097 words.)