What is worth reading and why? The Ecole Bilingue Middle School Independent Reading blog
Animal Farm appeared as an interesting book based on its summary and by its cover. A couple of my friends have previously read Animal Farm on there own and mentioned how it was a great book. My mom had read it as well and when I came home after school, I told her our choices and she told me how Animal Farm was a very interesting book, with a different perspective than a regular book and it was also a must read because of its political/cultural reference. Old books are not the usual books I read, so when I had the chance to read an old book such as Animal Farm it seemed as perfect opportunity to read an old book. I predict that this novel will be about animals revolting against the “man” because man mistreats the animals and only uses them for their product to make money, they work them to the last atom of their strank and don’t care. I also think that it will have a political view based on the animals and how they react. I assume this because my mom shortly summarized the book to me and explained that there was going to be a political view tied into the story. I also read the first chapter and that started me on my opinion of the book as for if i hadn’t read it I would have had a different view.
I started to know about this book in 6th grade, when my sister was reading it for her class. She told me about it and I couldn’t wait to read it in 8th grade. Also, my dad is very fond of this book. I started reading it, and was a little confused on the story being about animals, thinking it would be childish. As I read on and read the introduction I realized it had much more meaning than just animals talking. I want to read this book to see how the author portrays the animals and how the whole story has a deeper meaning leading to actual human situations and a revolution. My last reason to read this book is because it has a plot that I have never seen before and has a whole new concept.I predict this novel, as I stated before, having a deeper meaning and“backstory” than it is written. I think it will be a metaphor of an actual situation that he portrays on farm with talking animals. I think this is what the story is about because of the way it is described and the overpowerment of the animals in the synopsis as a “successful revolution”. I feel it is going to be political and interesting. Also, when I first started reading the book I got hints on the revolution they were planning. I want to read on, and get the whole plot of the story.-Chloe Stringfellow 8E
In Animal Farm we started asking this question: Do you think Major wanted to convey his dream to everyone because of his old age or simply because he is self-centered and wants all the attention?Elise: To me it is a bit of both because he did want an animal revolution although he knew that he was the best boar and that he was the most known on the farm so he took advantage of it to tell his dream and tell what he wants from the animals on this farm in the future. Chloe:When I read the first chapter, I got the vibe that Major was wise, but also a little self-obsessed. Although this is my opinion, I do not think that is why he told everyone his dream. He knew he was getting old, and he had been on the farm for a long time, so he knew how life was going to process. He wanted what was best for the animals, and give them his opinion and view on life and mankind. He believed in his opinion strongly, and wanted other people to too. He is a wise animal and wanted to give his wisdom that he accumulated over the many years.Essi: When you read chapter one you get the impression that Major is the smartest of all the animals, and wants the best. Major gives a lot of detail about the horrible gruesome life they are having right now. What Golden Details stood out to you the most? Elise: The Golden detail that stood out to me the most was when Major started to sing Beasts of England and then the “intelligent” animals picked up right away but the “dumb” animals picked up a couple verses after but were still missing some lines. Soon enough all the animals were singing and they woke Mr. Jones. Chloe Opinion and Quotes and Golden details that she found: “No animal in England know the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old.” (page 5)This quote was said by Major. I think it is a strong quote that shows his strong opinion on people and their condition. He thinks they are miserable and shows a new point of view on mankind. Here is another quote that expresses the same opinion very strongly in the chapter: “the life of an animal is misery and slavery; that is the plain truth” “snout motherly mare approaching middle life” (page 4)This is one of my favorite golden details from the chapter. It shows her motherly personality while giving a description and her point in life. Even though this is a small quote, it gives description that shows she is a figure to look up to, being a caring mother. Essi I think a golden detail is when Major explained what would happened to the children animals if they kept growing up in
Great format for note-taking. I'm going to ask the others to do the same. Excellent attention to detail. My favorite golden details in the first few chapters are Molly's red ribbons and her need for both the ribbons and the lumps of sugar. Favorite quote: "Will there still be sugar after the Rebellion?""No," said Snowball firmly. "We have no means of making sugar on this farm. Besides, you do not need sugar. You will have all the oats and hay you want.""And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?" asked Mollie."
In answer to your question, given that the allegorical equivalents of Major are Marx and Lenin, men that Orwell respected, it is safe to conclude that Orwell intended Major's motives to be scrupulous. It also interesting to note the character of Marx and Lenin: that of idealists. Neither man believed in their ideas for the object of their own personal gain. Major, by allegorical comparison, is also an idealist, and would not propose his ideas simply for attention.
I want to read this book because I think that it is a must read and a classic. The first chapter talked about a farmer Mr. Jones who is locking his animals away in a farm for the night. Then when the farmer goes to sleep the animals get up and take part in a meeting held by Major “The prize middle White Boar”. Major brings the animals together so he can tell him about his inspiring dream. He tells them that he dreamed that one day all the animals would take over the world instead of the humans, but they would not become cruel and evil like the humans.”We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty.” I think that in the book the animals are going to be able to take over the world like Major said but there are going to have so disagreements that are going to end up in a sort of war. -Essi W. 8e
Essential Question: The animals try so hard to make human their enemies and never become like humans. Do you think they are accomplishing their goal or do you think they are slowly becoming like human? If you think they are becoming like humans, why? Or why not? How?Responses to the essential question: Chloe: I thought about this question and concluded that the animals are becoming like the humans because they are doing human like things. For example, they are bringing in hay, and doing the jobs of the humans. Although they are doing work like humans and also learning to read and write like the humans, I also feel that they are keeping their distance from human ways. They made rules such as never wearing clothing because it is too much like humans. I feel that as the book progresses the animals will slowly become more and more like humans, even if they don't realize it.Essi: I think that in all the animals have in their minds set not to be like the humans because the humans are “bad and evil”. They do not want to live in a world where the rulers are like humans. The animals do live in a world where their example are the humans which is why they came up the 7 amendments and a list of “laws” they have to follow, which they might not realise is what the humans do. Elise:I think that the animals are becoming like humans in some ways although for some part they aren’t. For example they are becoming like humans because they came up with “the seven commandments” and they are learning how to read and write (becoming literate) just as humans do. Although they are becoming like humans they refuse to sleep inside, wear clothes as humans do. They burned all the “human like” stuff they had like whips and bows. Chiara:Chloe’s essential questions proves and shows a lot of things, for example when she asked if the animals were becoming like humans or not I said yes. I said yes because all of the animals except the donkeys are learning how to write and read which humans do also they are “working” the farm, ploughing the field keeping it maintained . Though they are becoming more like humans the animals still want to have their distance from them, they have decided not to wear clothes.This quote shows the side of the animals who are not participating in the revolution and prefer the old ways. “Old Benjamin, the donkey, seemed quite unchanged since the Rebellion. He did his work in the same slow obstinate way as he had done it in Jones’s time, never shirking and never volunteering for extra work either. When asked whether he was not happier now that Jones was gone, he would say only “Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey,” and the others had to be content with this cryptic answer.”-Essi Westerman, Chloe Stringfellow, Elise Kruger and Chiara Weber 8e
How do you think Orwell uses the animals to comment on human nature and political revolutions? This novel has been labeled a fable and a fairy tale. Can you see how it's a fable? If the novel is a fable that comments on politics (specifically the communist revolution), who might each character represent?
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Quotes:- “They insisted on calling it Manor Farm: they would not tolerate the name “Animal Farm”- “They were all carrying sticks, except Jones, who was marching ahead with a gun in his hands. - “Even the cat suddenly leapt off a roof onto a cowman’s shoulders and sank her claws in his neck, at which he yelled horribly.”--Elise One of the metaphor is to the shotgun of Mr. Jones because the piglets take the gun and show and point it to Mr. Jones and his guys who had been attacked. If you were using the russian terms, the gun might prove the Soviet on coming up with the decision to start building nuclear weapons to use on the US.--Chiara
QUOTES: “The skull of old Major, now clean of flesh, had been disinterred from the orchard and set up on a stump at the foot of the flagstaff, besides the gun.”“But sometimes you might make your decisions, comrades, and then where should you be?”“Bravery is not enough”“In glowing sentences he painted a picture of Animal Farm as it might be when sordid labour was lifted from the animal’s backs.”Essential Question: What do you think about when Napoleon completely disagreed to the windmill plans and thought that it was a bad idea, even though he was the one who came up with the plans. Do you think he simply did that to oppose to snowball or do you think that he opposed to it because it was resembling too much to humans. Compare and contrast. Chiara:I think that Napoleon had no right to bring violence into the disagreement they had about the windmill plans, if they make 2 groups then they will have a harder time maintaining the farm because they are already against the humans so if they are against each other in the farm then the humans will bring back the power. I also believe that if Snowball and Napoleon were to work together they would get a lot more accomplish and things like sending to attack each other by sending their dogs wouldn’t happen. Though the animals are try not become like humans, they are becoming more and more, there personalities, opinion on things.Elise: Napoleon and snowball both are really eager to become leader so when Napoleon had a chance to disagree with Snowball he jumped at that opportunity to try to prove snowball wrong. They both have really good leader qualities although together they seem to get nothing done because of their fighting. Napoleon also trained his dogs to chase Snowball and his dogs chased him away so Napoleon automatically became the leader. In conclusion we all thought that Napoleon disagreed to Snowballs plans because he didn’t want Snowball to become leader. They both have good leader qualities but can never come to an agreement. They both tried to overthrow each other and at the end Napoleon succeeded. Chloe: I personally think that Napoleon simply opposes to snowball. Snowball and Napoleon both want to be a leader. They will disagree on everything to prove that they are right. They simply don’t like each other. Them fighting plays a big part in the story, because it shows that even though they are on the same side, they are fighting. The real enemies to them should be the humans, but instead for Napoleon its the humans and Snowball and for Snowball its the humans and Napoleon. As Napoleon and Snowball fight, they are becoming more and more like humans, getting their characteristics like jealousy and aggressionEssi: You can tell that Napoleon thinks that he should be the leader of the revolution and he is the one that should come up with all the ideas and plans. Even if he thinks that something is a good idea he will oppose to it because it is not his. He is starting to adapt the characteristic of jealousy which is another human trait. Metaphor:In chapter 5, Molly is caught having her nose rubbed by one of the humans, the animals on the farm get mad at her and later on she disappears. Molly character is the the animal who likes to live in luxury and have everything she wants. During the communist war Molly would be considered as a “bourgeoisie”. A bourgeoisie is someone who before a war or a revolution is very rich and has everything they need and does not see the point in taking part of a revolution. Molly had everything she needs and wants, and doesn’t think that a revolution will make her life any better. The animals look upon her as a trader to go to the enemy, and have contact with them.
In our first "Lit Circle" conversation, we discussed the connections and representations found in Animal Farm and its characters, or at least the first three chapters of the book. We found each of the animals on the farm to represent different groups or classes of people found in our modern day society. The pigs, Snowball and Napoleon are obviously the political, government leaders but the other less noticeable animals were much harder to classify. We found Mollie, the white horse, to represent the entitled upper class. We predicted that Mollie won't be able to stand life in the animal-ruled world, since the vain, materialistic personality that she has, needs the luxurious objects that come with a human-ruled society. Next, we analyzed the herculean and brawny character of Boxer, the horse. Although, they might be of the same species, Boxer and Mollie are nothing alike. Unlike Mollie, Boxer represents the innocent and hard-working and underpaid citizen. We found that his unmatchable strength will prove to be of great use to the rebellion and it becomes obvious right away, when Boxer throws himself into the new concept of Animalism, that his innocence and naiveté will make him much easier to control. We predicted that the "Power Pigs" (Snowball & Napoleon) will take advantage of Boxer and use him for something completely unethical and unlike Boxer's "gentle-giant" personality. Another interesting character that we explored further was Squealer the third pig. Even though Squealer obviously isn't leader material he still proved himself to be essential to the success of the pigs' reign. We found Squealer to be the "Power Pigs's" sycophant and their propagandist. With his skills to "turn black into white", Squealer creates tranquility within the animals whenever they become suspicious of the pigs' true intentions. This could be seen when the animals discover the milk and apples to have been hoarded by the pigs for their own pleasure, and Squealer calms them down by abusing and taking advantage of their fears, (mainly the fear that Farmer Jones comes back). Overall we found that Animal Farm consists of many representations that Orwell saw around him in the society that he lived in.
I love how you call Snowball and Napolean the "Power Pigs." How might the choice of animals fit their roles? Are pigs prone to power? What about pigs make them the right fit for their place in the fable?
Emma and Amina's reply: Due to the fact that Animal Farm is based off the rise and fall of Soviet Russia, Orwell may have wanted to portray Stalin, Trotsky, and Marx as pigs as a way to degrade them, due to the fact that they were easily persuaded to change their intentions for the worst. It was necessary for the pigs to play the role of the greedy, intelligent, deceiving characters in the story. Would we have felt the same if a loved animal like a dog or horse had taken advantage of the other animals? Pigs were easy for everyone to hate.
Malcolm: Did Old Major have any impact on the story?Andrew: Yes I think he did because his dream was that all animals would live in peace and one day there will be a rebellion for animals freedom. But then he died so then that dream was broken.Joseph: “All animals are equal.” just like “All humans are equal.”Malcolm: The book was not what I expected I thought that the book was going to be about people on a farm but the because is all about the animals.Joseph: They are talking about communism, Napoleon always says comrade. Napoleon had too much power.Amanda: Why did the author write this book about animals?Andrew: He used animals to describe people so people didn’t get offended and so he didn’t get in trouble for talking badly about a group.Joseph: I think he used a farm so he could talk about it on a smaller scale and make it seem like he wasn’t talking about the whole world. Malcolm: Animals have stereotypes that can match people’s personalities. Like sheep are weak and gullible so you could say the sheep are the people that Napoleon was controlling.Joseph: I think Napoleon is going to keep getting greedier and greedier and if they do not rebel against him in time. I think Snowball will lead the rebellion, or the pig that publically disagreed with Napoleon in the Sunday meeting.
Snowball and Napoleon are polar opposites with different views on how animals should live. Snowball feels that all the animals are equal and that they should all be treated with the same amount of respect, but Napoleon feels that pigs and dogs are the superior species and that any other animal should just feel lucky to even be in their presents. Throughout the book the pigs battle for superiority, until one day Napoleon has snowball chased of the farm by his dog gang, so now that Snowball is gone Napoleon and his fellow pigs can easily mislead the rest of the farm animals. After a few months of hard work the other animals start to notice that the pigs are acting abnormally human like, and every time that the farm animals ask why the pigs and dogs can do things that the other animals can not, the pigs reply by saying that some animals have more rights than other because of their intellect or their strength. But eventually the pigs start inviting humans over to see how to properly run a farm, the humans began implementing this system to their own farm, and then the farm animals finally learn that they were being deceived the whole time