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Animal Farm

More Putin puns than you could ever imagine.

Animal Farm is about violent pigs, traitorous dogs, dim-witted cows, and plenty of other four-legged walking, talking metaphors. This 1945 British novel is a pretty straightforward allegory where each animal represents a different cog in the rickety European political machine, which means this course is all about interdisciplinarity.

In our course, you'll complete creative readings, activities, and projects in order to examine all the tricks George Orwell crammed into his 100 muck-raking pages. That means you'll

  • get a crash course in economics and politics. 
  • be hit over the head with allegory. (Turns out you can write whatever cruel gossip you want by just having a cat or dog say it.)
  • finally learn what irony really means. (Alanis Morissette not included.)
  • be able to join the club of People Who Name Drop Marxism.

In short, you'll instantly become way better at both literary analysis and political philosophy. Warning: side effects may include suddenly wearing a monocle and talking about "the common man."

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. Animal Farm

1 book. 15 lessons. 105 communist-based puns. This unit will walk you through the complicated world of George Orwell's Animal Farm, sty-smell not included.

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 4: Unfair Stereotype: All Pigs Are Born Leaders

In Chapter 3 of Animal Farm, nearly all the major characters have been introduced. And because we know you love beating dead horses (notBoxer, of course), we're gonna lay it out for you again:

  • Some animals represent capitalists (Mr. Jones).
  • Some animals represent communists (Old Major).
  • Some animals represent leaders (Snowball).
  • Some animals represent followers (sheep).
  • Some animals represent weird outsiders, the kind who don't vote in presidential elections and cover their trucks with bumper stickers about UFO landings (Benjamin is very cool).
Manic pixie dream unicorn: archetype that did not make the cut for Animal Farm.
(Source)

Using choice pieces of characterization early in the book, George Orwell introduces character archetypes like it's his job. (Which is kind of is.)

Archetypes are certain character types that appear in books and other forms of art over and over...and over. Simply put, an archetype is like a stereotype, but truer, more frequent, and more literary. A tough kid from the wrong side of the tracks, adults who just don't understand, and that list above are all archetypes—tried and true.

In Chapter 3, the animals start to reveal their true colors with subtle, archetypical things that Orwell has them do or say. A simple stealing of milk and apples can really reveal a lot about a man. Or a pig.

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  • Course Length: 3 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, College
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • English
    • Literature
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Common Core Standards  

The following standards are covered in this course:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10