Gcse English Literature: Animal Farm Teacher Guide


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GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE: ANIMAL FARM
TEACHER GUIDE & STUDENT WORKSHEETS
This booklet is a companion to the online curriculum available at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com. It includes the content from the ‘Animal Farm’ course.
© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

Modern Text: Animal Farm, by George Orwell

This pack covers context, plot outline, character and theme analysis, together with some exam style questions and answers.

This booklet contains:

• Suggested teaching order • Learning objectives for each session • Questions or activities that teachers could use in their lessons • A worksheet for each session • Exam style questions

Suggested Teaching Order and Learning Objectives

Lesson 1
2 3 4
5 6 7 8

Focus Plot Overview & Context
Napoleon Snowball Squealer
Minor Characters Theme: Animalism Theme: Education Theme: Power

Learning Objectives To consolidate understanding of the plot and detail key events. To be able to show an understanding of the relationships between the text and the context in which it was written To be able to identify key characteristics and analyse quotes linked to the character. To be able to develop an informed response to Snowball and make connections between this character and key themes. To be able to analyse the language used by Squealer in the novel. To be able to identify key events that link Squealer to power and education. To be able to identify the key events linked to minor characters and analyse how they link to the main characters. To be able to use textual references to show an understanding of the theme and develop interpretations. To be able to be able to link key events from this theme to the historical context in which the text was written. To be able to highlight the key characters linked to this theme and analyse relevant textual detail to form a strong interpretation.

© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

Suggested Questions for Discussion and/or Activities

Lesson 1

Focus
Plot Overview & Context

2 Napoleon

3 Snowball 4 Squealer

5 Minor Characters
6 Animalism 7 Education
8 Power

Questions/ Activities
• Create a summary of what happens in the novel • The novel follows a cyclical structure. What does this mean and
how is it shown in the novel? • To what extent does Orwell show a true depiction of the Russian
Revolution? • Create a list of adjectives to describe Napoleon. • Select three quotes about Napoleon and annotate them, analysing
use of language, form and structure. • To what extent can Napoleon be seen as a good leader? Use
quotes/events from the novel to back up what you are saying. Write as an analytical paragraph (PEE/PETAL/PETER etc) • Who from the Russian Revolution does Snowball represent? • What are the key differences between Napoleon and Snowball? • How does Orwell characterise Snowball in the novel? Use quotes to back up your interpretations. • What contextual information can you link to Snowball? • Give examples of how Squealer manipulates language to oppress the other animals on the farm. Analyse the use of language, form and structure. • Who from the Russian Revolution does Squealer represent? • How does Orwell characterise Squealer in the novel? Use quotes to back up your interpretations. • Create a list of minor characters in the novel (these should be characters who make a significant impact to the storyline, but don’t appear regularly in the novel) • How do the minor characters help in driving the plot forward? • Why is Old Major an important minor character? • What theme(s) does Mr Jones represent and why? • List three characters that link to this theme. • List three key events that link to this theme. • What contextual information can you link to this theme? • Which characters represent this theme? • What are the main events in the novel which link to this theme? • List and annotate three quotes you could use if responding to this theme in the exam • List three characters that link to this theme. • List three key events that link to this theme. • What contextual information can you link to this theme?

© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

Lesson 1: Plot Overview & Context
Section A of the literature paper two exam requires you to respond to one of two questions (your choice), but you won’t have the text in front of you. For most
students, this is daunting, so to start with you just need a firm understanding of the plot. You’ve read the book in your lessons (and hopefully once at home as well!) You
will have watched the film adaptations too, so just one more time, have a read of the plot overview below. The more you remember of the whole plot, the more likely
you’ll have a clear response that covers multiple key events from the story!
Animal Farm: Plot
The book opens with a clear view of life on Manor Farm. The animals are unhappy and feel oppressed under Mr Jones’ rule. Old Major, the farm’s prize boar, leads a meeting about how the effort of the animals on the farm benefits man and not them. The animals learn that a revolution is coming to overthrow Mr Jones, so that the animals can all live a better life free from oppression.
Old Major soon dies of old age and the pigs persuade the rest of the animals to join them in taking over the farm. They are successful in this and run the humans out of the farm. The pigs learn how to read and write, therefore take charge in leading the other animals in starting their new life on Animal Farm. They consolidate Animalism (what Old Major talked about in his meeting) into seven commandments for all to live by:
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy 2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend
© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

3. No animal shall wear clothes 4. No animal shall sleep in a bed 5. No animal shall drink alcohol
6. 7.

No animal shall kill any other animal All animals are equal

The animals all work together to complete the harvest, with Boxer the horse working the hardest of all. The pigs arrange weekly meetings and we learn that Napoleon and Snowball are the main leaders who can’t agree on anything. Snowball invests his time in helping the other animals learn to read and write, whereas Napoleon just wants to benefit himself. Small things start to happen that go against Animalism, like the pigs having the milk and apples and the puppies being taken away by Napoleon to be privately educated.

The humans soon return to try and take back the farm, for fear of the revolution spreading to the neighbouring farms. The animals are successful once again, although a few are hurt in the process. The animals make badges of honour to show their bravery.

Snowball puts forward the idea of building a windmill to help speed up the harvest. Napoleon is against the idea and urinates all over the plans. At this point, it becomes clear that the two don’t get on and are fighting for leadership over the farm, going against the final commandment. Napoleon calls the puppies that he’d taken to privately educate, but now they are fully grown and vicious. They chase Snowball from the farm and Napoleon takes charge. The animals then move forward with building the windmill after Squealer convinces them that Snowball stole the plans from Napoleon.

The pigs move into the farmhouse and sleep in the beds. It’s at this point that the other animals realise that commandments are being broken, but they start to mysteriously change to benefit the pigs. A violent storm destroys the windmill and all the animals’ hard work, but Napoleon convinces them that it was Snowball’s doing. They start from scratch building the windmill.

© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

During a food shortage, the pigs open up trading with the humans from other farms. The hens refuse to give up their eggs for trade, so Napoleon stops their food allowance until they give in. Any animal thought to be in league with Snowball is slaughtered, again going against the commandments. When the animals question this, they are shown the commandments with added comments and convinced by Squealer that they remembered wrong.
The windmill is built and named Napoleon Mill, despite all of Boxer’s hard work. The other farmers use dynamite to destroy the windmill due to a dispute about trade between the farms. Work begins to rebuild the windmill for a third time, with Boxer intent on completing it before he retires.
Boxer ends up collapsing due to working too hard, but instead of sending him to a vet, the pigs sell him to the glue factory, profiting from his slaughter. The other animals believe he’s gone to be looked after and Benjamin, the only other animal on the farm who can read, realises too late so they can’t save him.
The final chapter is set years later, with very few animals still alive who remember the events from chapters 1-9. The pigs are still above the other animals, now walking on two legs, wearing clothes and treating the others poorly, just like Mr Jones at the start of the book. The book ends as it begins, with the animals deeply oppressed, whilst the pigs benefit from their weakness.
© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

CONTEXT
Get ready for a mini history lesson! Animal Farm was heavily influenced by the Russian Revolution, and a lot of the characters represent prominent people connected to the revolution at the time. Although it means a bit of extra revision, this is great
for you as it means you’ll be able to gain up to six extra marks easily! This is dependent on how detailed your contextual links are, so make notes on the following information and be sure to go back over it before the exam.
Who is George Orwell and why did he write Animal Farm?
George Orwell (1903-1950) is a well known British writer, famous for his novella ‘Animal Farm’ as well as many other novels such as ‘1984’. Orwell was very aware of social injustice and was outspoken in his support of democratic socialism. ‘Animal Farm’ is an allegory, meaning it was written to reveal a hidden political meaning. In this case, Orwell was warning his readers of the consequences of Stalinism and the Totalitarian government.
How is the Russian Revolution connected to Animal Farm?
Before 1917, Tsar Nicolas II ruled Russia. The upper class were rich and powerful, whilst the majority of the population were poor and lived in appalling conditions. They received low wages and and little food. This is similar to Mr Jones at the start of the novel, with his poor leadership on the farm leading to the animals living in squalor and being malnourished.
© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

Nicolas was eventually overthrown as the people organised a rebellion to knock him out of power. This rebellion was led by Lenin and supported by Stalin and Trotsky. Lenin soon died and the struggle for leadership intensified between Stalin and Trotsky. Sound familiar? Old Major represents Lenin, with Stalin and Trotsky represented by Napoleon and Snowball.
Trotsky wanted to educate his people, whereas Stalin established control of the secret police. In 1918, there was a civil war in Russia. Western countries sent armies to fight as they were worried that Communism (the idea that everyone is equal) might spread. You guessed it – this is the part in the novel where Mr Jones and the neighbouring farmers try to win back the farm. Communism is Animalism, which Old Major talks about at the start of the novel.
Stalin began to dictate and command people, going against the concept of Communism. Meanwhile, Trotsky was trying to industrialise Russia, but was discredited by Stalin. Eventually, Stalin forced Trotsky out of Russia by using the secret police and propaganda. Remember the part of the novel where Snowball reveals the plans for the windmill? That would be the industrialisation of Russia. Then, Napoleon urinates all over the plans (discrediting him) and soon after calls the nine dogs (secret police) to expel Snowball from the farm.
Stalin continued to dictate and command, industrialising Russia anyway and wanting to be worshipped almost as a God-like figure. The people of Russia suffered greatly during this time and Stalin ended up more like Tsar Nicolas II, than a man who wanted a new society based on Marx and Communism. We don’t need to spell it out for you to connect the dots, this period of history is identical to what you read in the novel. It starts where it began, under cruel and oppressive leadership, with the upper classes benefiting and the lower classes barely surviving.
© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

Animal Farm: Plot Worksheet
Briefly explain the key events of each chapter.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

© Copyright 2020 Your Favourite Teacher To be used in conjunction with online resources at www.yourfavouriteteacher.com

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Gcse English Literature: Animal Farm Teacher Guide