Animal Farm Literature Guide

Although Animal Farm is an allegory of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the story is just as applicable to the latest rebellion against dictators around the world, which makes it a perfect novel for cross-curricular study. This guide includes chapter summaries, teaching suggestions, discussion questions, and writing assignments.
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Updated on: October 25, 2000
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Orwell's Animal Farm

The Novel

Animal Farm, A Critical Commentary. New York: American R.D.M. Corp, 1963.
Baker, Isadore L. George Orwell. Animal Farm. London: Brodie, 1961.
Brown, Spencer. "Strange Doings on Animal Farm," in Commentary. XIX (February, 1955), pp. 155-161
Carter, Thomas. "Group Psychology Phenomena of a Political System as Satirized in Animal Farm: An Application of the Theories of W.R. Bion," in Human Relations. XXVII (June 1974), pp. 525-546.
Colquitt, Betsey F. "Orwell: Traditionalist in Wonderland," in Discourse. VIII (Autumn 1965), pp. 370-383.
Cook, Richard. "Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell," in Modern Fiction Studies. VII (Summer 1961), pp. 125-135.
Harward, Timothy B. European Patterns: Contemporary Patterns in European Writing. Chester Springs, PA: DuFour, 1967, pp. 44-48.
Hoggart, Richard. Speaking to Each Other: Essays. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970, vol. 2, pp. 106-110.
Hopkinson, Tom. "Animal Farm," in World Review. XVI (June 1950), pp. 54-57.
Kubal, David L. Outside the Whale: George Orwell's Art and Politics. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1972, pp. 37-40, 122-130.
Lee, Robert. Orwell's Fiction. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1969, pp. 105-127. "The Uses of Form: A Reading of Animal Farm," in Studies in Short Fiction. VI (1969), pp. 557-573.
Meyers, Jeffrey. "Orwell's Bestiary: The Political Allegory of Animal Farm," in Studies in the Twentieth Century. VIII (1971), pp. 65-84. A Reader's Guide to George Orwell. London: Thames and Hudson, 1975, pp. 130-143.
Oxley, B.T. George Orwell. New York: Arco, 1969, pp. 75-82.
Schlesinger, Arthur, Jr. "Mr. Orwell and the Communists," in New York Times Book Review. (August 25, 1946), pp. 1, 28.
Zwerdling, Ales. Orwell and the New Left. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1974, pp. 88-96, 198-199, 203-207.

Teaching the Novel

Cooper, Nancy. "Animal Farm: An Explication for Teachers of Orwell's Novel," in California English Journal. IV (1968), pp. 59-69.
Gulbin, Suzanne. "Parallels and Contrasts in Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm," in English Journal. LV (1966), pp. 86-90.

The Film

Halas, John and Joy Batchelor, Directors. Animal Farm. Louis de Rochemont, Producer, 1955.

Related Readings

Adams, Richard. Watership Down. New York: Macmillan, 1972.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Putnam, 1954.
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. New York: Signet Classic, 1963.
Sleator, William. House of Stairs. New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., Inc., 1974.


Hazel K. Davis, teacher of English and reading at Federal Hocking High School in Stewart, Ohio, has been president of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN) and the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts. She is a reviewer for The ALAN Review and often speaks and writes on literature for young adults. She is co-editor of the 1988 edition of Your Reading, the junior high/middle school booklist for NCTE.


Serving for nearly 20 years as Chair of the Secondary English Committee, Department of Language Education at the University of Georgia, W. Geiger (Guy) Ellis received his A.B. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of North Carolina and his Ed.D. from the University of Virginia. For over 25 years, Guy has been active in teaching adolescent literature in the classroom and in training future teachers in its use, lecturing and writing extensively on the subject. He developed and edited The ALAN Review (NCTE) from 1978 to 1984, changing its focus from a newsletter to a fully refereed journal with an emphasis on articles with research and instructional significance. His research has had heavy emphasis on the content of literature instruction.

Currently Associate Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Arthea (Charlie) J.S. Reed has taught for 20 years on both the high school and college level. She received her A.B. (Bethany College) and her M.S. (Southern Connecticut State University) in English and her Ph.D. (Florida State University) in Teacher Education. In addition to teaching, Charlie has edited The ALAN Review (NCTE) from 1984 to 1990 and served as Co-Director of the Mountain Area Writing Project (a part of the National Writing Project) from 1982 to 1988. She is also the author of Reaching Adolescents: Young Adult Books and the School (Holt, 1985) and Comics to Classics: A Parents' Guide to Books for Teens and Preteens (IRA, 1988).

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