A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
When I was in 9th grade in 2010, I had Animal Farm as one of my summer reading novels. My mom took me to Barnes and Noble where I bought it. I enjoyed it so much that I finished it in one day. While I haven’t had the opportunity to teach it yet, it was a staple in the English classes I observed. Anytime I walked into a 9th grade classroom, I always saw some piece of propaganda artwork that was a result of a lesson on the book.
Why is this chosen?
As you’ll see as this series continues, George Orwell has done a great job in writing allegories in a way that is easy for the masses to consume. In the case of Animal Farm, it’s an allegory about a Stalin led Russia.
However, in current times, it can easily be applied to other situations due to it being “devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message” (Goodreads). I have come across many memes created from scenes in the book applied to some political landscapes.
This is one of the reasons why I believe it is constantly chosen for a summer reading novel. Not only is it a short read, but it also allows teachers a chance to discuss propaganda and the figurative devices required to make it effective, as well as provide an introduction to satire. Students are beginning the year learning about this, and because of how many times people have done this, there are many different ways teachers can engage readers in this book and the message it tries to relay.