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Essay Questions for George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 5/31/2014

If you’re preparing for an essay test, it’s important to think about the issues that you might have to discuss. These “Animal Farm” essay questions are a great place to start.

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    Five Questions for a Discussion or Paper

    1. List at three characters’ names and explain the allusions inherent in each name.Animal Farm by George Orwell 

    You should list three of the following characters to answer this question: Napoleon, Moses, Snowball, Squealer. The first two contain illusions to a historical figure and a biblical figure, Snowball’s name shows how his reputation “snowballs” out of control once Napoleon takes over, and Squealer’s name shows his main strength: talking until people believe what he’s saying.

    2. List several events of hypocrisy that take place in “Animal Farm.”

    From the beginning of the book, when Old Major talks about the wonderful life he’s lead (and yet proclaims himself able to understand the hardships of the rest of the farm), hypocrisy remains a strong theme throughout the book.

    Napoleon and the other pigs constantly ignore the original rules on the wall, which they themselves wrote toward the beginning of the story. The neighboring humans continually turn their backs on the farm, which the animals despise, but Napoleon then tries to trick the humans as well.

    3. Explain how Orwell develops the theme of the power of words in his novel, “Animal Farm.”

    The main points that you should discuss in answering this essay question are the speech that Old Major makes at the beginning of the novel (including the song, “Beasts of England”) and the speeches of Squealer. Both of these show how persuasive words can be in convincing others to do or believe something.

    4. How would the novel have been different if Snowball had driven Napoleon out?

    You can approach this essay question from two directions. There were several differences between Napoleon and Snowball: Napoleon was much faster to resort to violence, possibly greedier, and much more manipulative. However, in the end, Snowball’s leadership would likely not have been that different from Napoleon’s.

    Although he seems much more dependent on logic and on pleasing the rest of the animals, he also believes in the superiority of the pigs and does nothing to stop the unequal distribution of resources. Because the ideals of the farm consist of all of the animals making the choices together, having a leader like Snowball would not likely be much more serene than having a leader like Napoleon.

    5. What are the parallels between Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution?

    This, as well as other “Animal Farm” essay questions can be answered by reading two articles in this series: “Parallels Between Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution” and “Symbolism in Orwell’s Animal Farm.”

Animal Farm Study Guide

This series of articles act as a study guide for "Animal Farm," by George Orwell. They include a summary of the novel, character analyses, symbolism and parallels with the Russian Revolution, and essay questions for the novel.
  1. Summary of Main Events in “Animal Farm”
  2. Animal Farm Study Guide: Analysis of Major Characters
  3. Symbolism in Orwell’s “Animal Farm”
  4. Parallels Between “Animal Farm” and the Russian Revolution
  5. Essay Questions for George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”