September 17, 2015 - Posted to Writing Tips
Writing a George Orwell, Animal Farm essay – History and Allegory
Above all else, Animal Farm is an allegory and a fable – a tale in which a political or social statement is made by giving animals human characteristics. Students of history and political science will of course recognize the tale of the story of Stalin’s rise to power in Communist Soviet Union and his corruption of the ideals of the political ideology of socialism through brute force and purges, and his establishment of an autocratic ruling class of himself and closest colleagues. Beyond that, the novel can also be seen as a comment on basic human nature, which is one of the themes presented. While this novel is a quick, short read, it is packed with conflicts and themes, any of which will make a great Animal Farm essay topic. Here are several topics from the elements of this novel.
A number of Animal Farm essay questions relate to the plot.
- How does Napoleon turn the destruction of the windmill by outside humans as a means to consolidate his power and purge the farm of his enemies?
- Where is the climax in this novel, or are there more than one?
- Does the ending provide any hope for the general population at Animal Farm?
- What is the significance of Napoleon changing the name of the farm and of continually changing the 7 Commandments?
Essays on Animal Farm characters are very revealing about political and non-political individuals within a society.
- Contrast the personalities of Snowball and Napoleon. Do they have any common traits?
- Write a character sketch of Boxer. How does he represent all workers in the Communist Soviet Union at the time? Is there any similarities with working populations today?
- As a group, the workers at Animal Farm stop questioning the behaviors of the ruling class (pigs) even when the evidence of their corruption is literally “written on the wall.” What character traits account for this?
The themes of this short novel provide great topics for Animal Farm essays:
- Is it human nature to have a tendency toward class divisions even while professing complete equality for everyone? Can complete equality and a classless society ever be achieved?
- Many learned people have discussed the connection between power and corruption. Do you think that power always leader to corruption or have there been instances in history in which power did not corrupt?
- Orwell seem to want to point out the dangers of the masses not remaining vigilant and settling for being politically naïve. Is there a message there for 21st century populaces? If so, where?
- Discuss the irony of the peaceful pastoral setting of a farm with the horrors that are going on within it.
- Why did Orwell choose to use a fable as his method of condemnation of the Stalin regime? Do you think it was more or less effective to do it? What other fables have been used to condemn governments?
Animal Farm, George Orwell is not a difficult book to read and comprehend. If you are not aware of the historical events and setting of this work, however, you will need to do a little research on the era of Stalin’s rule of the Soviet Union, in order to really understand all that goes on and that Orwell is saying.