Animal farm Questions

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Animal Farm Questions Chapters 5-8

  1. In the Soviet analogue, Snowball and Napoleon are meant to represent Trotsky and Stalin, respectively. What critiques does Orwell make of both characters? How do they ultimately fail as leaders to the movement?

  1. What is the closest American analogue you can make to Snowball and Napoleon? What is the relationship between them? Can Orwell’s critique of Trotsky’s and Napoleon’s leadership apply to your example?

  1. Orwell describes a situation that occurs not only through the machinations of one dictator (Napoleon) but through the failure of any of the animals to collectively change course. As things get worse, how do the sheep, Benjamin, Muriel, Boxer, the dogs, and Squealer react? If you had to identify contemporary American analogues to these characters, whom would you choose?

  1. Orwell frequently discusses the phenomenon of cultural or historical memory–the beliefs that the animals have about their history, which readers can tell are very different from the actual history of Animal Farm. Changing the historical narrative is imperative in getting the animals to tolerate Napoleon as a leader and proceed with his directions. How are these narratives changed, and who is involved in changing them? What are some American examples you can think of where what is believed to be true in the mainstream is actually untrue? (Or at least, more complicated than the mainstream narrative suggests).

  1. In addition to the distortion of history, Orwell points out the perversion of law, poetry, and language itself in the Animal Farm society. What slogans, laws, and songs/poems are changed, and how? What is Orwell suggesting about the role of the poet, the musician, and the writer in any society? And why in Animal Farm do these characters ultimately serve the interests of Napoleon as opposed to the interests of the other Animals? What, if any, American analogue is there to this?

  1. In Animal Farm, Napoleon, with the complicity of his inner circle, connives a number of strategies to distract the other Animals as he consolidates his power. What are some of the strategies he uses that have not been mentioned so far? Consider scapegoating, distraction, gas-lighting, cult of personality, etc. Again, what are some American examples that demonstrate these strategies?

Chapter 9-10

1. Who does Boxer represent in Animal Farm? Who could stand in as an analogy to Boxer in America?

2. We know at the end that Boxer is betrayed, and meets a horrible demise as opposed to the peaceful retirement that he was promised. The Animals figure that out when Benjamin sees what is clearly written on the side of the van that carts Boxer away. In an American context, what are some signs that one sees or could expect to see if the same thing were happening here?

3. The role of institutionalized terror plays a role in Animal Farm – Animals cooperate because they are afraid of literally being killed for speaking their minds or rebelling. Does state terror, or other modes of threatening or coercion, play a role in American life? How and where, and for whom?

4. In Animal Farm, many of the Animals’ former enemies become their “friends.” Can you again, think of an American analogue to this situation? Who are our “friends” and “allies” – and are they the people you think we should have as friends/allies?

5. By the end of the book, we see who is doing remarkably well under this system, and who is doing no better, or worse, than they ever were before. Is there an American analogue to this situation today, and if so, what is it?

6. Do you think that Orwell is suggesting that this outcome was inevitable? If so, what makes you believe that? If not, what actions could the animals have taken to change course?

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