We are about to read Animal Farm by George Orwell.  This assignment is designed to prepare you for this. 
     Answer the questions below.  Links to all the resources needed follow the questions.  You may work in pairs, but each individual must submit a separate sheet of answers. 
     After viewing the material and answering the questions, address the "Writing Question" at the bottom of the page with a short essay.  The answer to this will be based both on the material you have studied in this assignment and on your view of the world. 

Day One Questions

  1. What are Gulags?  Why were they created?  Name at least two reasons.   


  1. What types of work did people do in the gulags? 


  1. What sorts of problems were faced by people in Gulags?  Describe their lives. 


  1. What did the term “re-education” mean? 


  1. What was the KGB?


Day One Resources
The Main Resources
 “Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives: Introduction.” YouTube:CHNMedia.  http://youtu.be/a6y2CTxbtL0  (2:53). 

“Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives: Arrest.”  YouTube:CHNMedia.  http://youtu.be/OYb6NTy5D3s   (2:53). 

“Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives: Labor.”  YouTube:CHNMedia.  http://youtu.be/t2WuEct93Rk  (2:19). 

“Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives: Propaganda.”  YouTube:CHNMedia.  http://youtu.be/l_vs_CZvJfs   (1:22). 

“Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives: Suffering.”  YouTube:CHNMedia.  http://youtu.be/XAcIzVbSVHI (1:44). 

Extended Resources
Which was the worse--the Soviets or the Nazis?  This site has a chart comparing the mass-murderers of the 20th Century.   This site is a short article that looks at this question. A short personal story.

Day Two Questions

  1. In what way can Animal Farm be read on two different levels? 
  2. Investigate the major characters in Animal Farm.  Are they supposed to represent specific  people or are they representative of types of people? 
  3. What are the differences between an allegory or a fable?  Why do some people think that Animal Farm is a fable, but others think that it is an allegory?  Without having read it, what do you expect to find as you read the book?


  1. What was George Orwell's real name?  When and where did he live?
  2. List three important things about George Orwell's life besides his writing.  How do you think that these events affected his writing?
  3. What were George Orwell's political beliefs?  What did Orwell consider the "Two nightmares of modern man"? How did the current events influence George Orwell?   

Give one famous quote from George Orwell.  What do you think he meant by saying this? 

Day Two Resources
The Main Literary Resources
Animal Farm gives a small picture and description of each character. 
Extended Resources
Animal Farm This site is all text, but offers a much more detailed interpretation of each character in Animal Farm. 
Animal Farm If you aren't a Pink Floyd fan, you probably won't be interested--but if you are, don't miss it!
Animal Farm Look up "Fable" and "allegory" in a paper dictionary or in  the American Heritage Dictionary on-line here at Bartleby.   
Animal Farm The site at left gives more detail. 

The Main Biographical Resource

Extended Interest Resources
Site Mostly text, this site gives an interpretation of things and places in the novel. 

The Big Question
I found this quote: "The essential question of Animal Farm is NOT "Could it happen again?” 

The essential question is "Do I realize that it IS happening everyday all around me?” 

Do you think that this is true? 




In what ways do you see it happening?



Why Not?

In what ways is this statement overblown or inaccurate?