How to Write an Animal Farm Essay: Tips and Example
Originally published in 1945, George Orwell's farm is widely celebrated not only as one of his greatest works but is also considered to be one of the greatest books written in the 20th century. The secret of its success is that it combines the elements of entertainment and education. One can just read it for pleasure and enjoy it, but if you decide to look deeper into it, you will find that it is by far not a piece of mindless entertainment.
The phenomenal success of Animal Farm has been in the center of attention of many scholars ever since the novel’s first publication. So, it is no wonder that high school teachers and college professors always have Animal Farm in the English curriculum, even if the class does not major in English. So, if you have never written even a smallest five-paragraph essay about Animal Farm, you should have no doubt that eventually you will have to face this assignment at least once throughout your studies.
Here are some of the most popular topics, questions, and prompts on George Orwell’s Animal Farm that you can uncover in your essay. For your convenience, we have grouped them up into three categories:
. A strong and relatable character is what drives a story. If we talk about the genre of a novel, we need a number of such characters. In Orwell's Animal Farm, each of them symbolizes either a particular historical personality, or a group of people, but generally, it is not necessary for a novel. The main function of a character in a story is to serve a purpose. Here is what you can investigate in an essay:
- What are the critical differences in Napoleon’s and Snowball’s approaches to leadership and administration?
- Does Napoleon reveal any resemblance to Mr. Jones?
- If you had to name a protagonist of the novel, which character should it be?
- Do the names of the characters in Animal Farm resemble any of personal traits?
- What is the function of Boxer’s character in the novel?
- How does the working class get illustrated in Animal Farm?
- What kind of people does Squealer symbolize?
. No piece of writing – fiction or non-fiction – can ever attract any notable attention without investigating a topical theme. It seems like George Orwell took pleasure in investigating such themes in his writing. Animal Farm, in particular, has several questions that you can uncover in your essay:
- What themes can you trace in Animal Farm? Which is the central one?
- What influence has power on the pigs?
- How do the ideals of Old Major evolve under Napoleon's rule in the absence of Snowball?
- What historical event(s) are the events in Animal Farm similar to?
- Do the events in Animal Farm bear any similarity to the present-day processes in the society and/or politics?
- Is the division of the society into classes inevitable?
- Is the working class inevitably naïve?
- How important is language to control the masses?
. Animal Farm is often classified by many scholars as an extended fable. As you know, fables are known to employ the language of symbols quite heavily. Animal Farm is, too, quite heavy on symbols. First of all, there are striking resemblances between the characters in the novel and particular real-life historical figures. Then, there are similarities between the events in the novel and those that took place in actual human history. But most interestingly, the consequences of the novel's events and the development of fictional characters are vastly similar to those that took place in real-life history. Here are some examples that you are welcome to investigate in your essay:
- What does a particular character in Animal Farm symbolize (pick one)?
- What are the parallels between particular events in Animal Farm and in the course of the Russian Revolution?
- Can you agree that the Animal Farm symbolizes humankind and civilization as a whole?
- What do the windmill, the events around it, and its fate symbolize?
To give you a clear example, here is a sample essay about Orwell’s Animal Farm:
Animal Farm is a short novel by George Orwell. It was first released in 1945 and, despite its quite small volume, is still widely celebrated as one of his most insightful writings. In this work, Orwell tries himself in the animal fable genre to tell a story of a group of characters who are so fed up with the tyranny of those above them that they eventually rebel. Their rebellion proves successful and seems to create a utopian society, especially at first. Even back when the novel was first published, many critics, as well as ordinary readers, saw this setup as an allegory to the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 that gave rise to the communist Soviet Union, which eventually transformed into a totalitarian state ruled by Joseph Stalin's dictatorship.
Such a line of thought was especially topical in the 1940s when Joseph Stalin was still alive and holding the full amount of power in the Soviet Union. Orwell was – and still is – praised for his in-depth insight into the evolution of the nature of society and politics, as well as for the brilliance of the parallels that help to reveal it. Soon after its release, Animal Farm was translated into Russian and immediately banned in the USSR and its friendly socialist states, which served to prove the correctness of Orwell’s comparison. It would be, however, unfair to limit the actuality of the novel to Stalin’s regime in the USSR only. In fact, Orwell’s metaphors go deeper than that, and the similarities to the events depicted in Animal Farm can be observed all over the world.