George Orwell's Animal Farm: Protest and allegory

Lesson rationale

George Orwell’s 1945 novel Animal Farm is a powerful denunciation of Stalinist Russia and a critique of power, selfishness and greed. Initially rejected by a number of publishers, it is now regarded as one of the 20th century’s most important and influential novels.

This series of activities is designed to provide students with an understanding of some of the key concepts they will need to explore the novel, including Orwell’s own political views and the figures represented by the different characters in the text. Students are also encouraged to consider why Orwell might have decided to make his protest against communism in the form of an allegory, before going on to create their own allegory about a different political situation.

Key questions in this lesson:

  • What is an allegory? What is anthropomorphism?
  • What was George Orwell protesting about in Animal Farm?
  • Why did George Orwell write his protest in the form of an allegory?
  • How easy was it for him to get his message heard?