|MAJOR THEMES in Animal Farm
Choose ONE for your Essay Topic
1. Dreams, Hopes and Plans
Animal Farm may be a specific criticism of one dream—the dream of a communist Russia—but it's also a criticism of utopian ideals in general.
Explain your opinion (agree or disagree) about this: Old Major's dream is just that: a dream. There's no way it could ever be a reality.
2. Power: Leadership and Corruption
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is a famous quote from a Politian names Lord Acton.
Explain your opinion about this quote. Use details from the book to support your ideas.
3. Control over the Intellectually Inferior
In Animal Farm pigs take control because they're the smartest animals on the farm and then turn right around and start abusing that power. But you can't just blame those less smart... The pigs would never have succeeded if they other animals hadn't blindly gone along with it. Moral of the story: you don't need to go to Yale, but you do need to form some opinions of your own.
Is Orwell suggesting that intellectuals are inherently untrustworthy, or does being smart just make people susceptible to thinking other people are abuse-worthy?
The animals in Animal Farm don't have much in the way of food, dignity, or leisure—but they do have pride. Pride initially sparks the animals' rebellion, but it quickly becomes just another tool of oppression. Boxer takes a lot of pride in his work. But isn't that supposed to be a good thing? When does taking pride in your work, or being proud about anything, go wrong? Use the text evidence to support your ideas about pride.
5. Lies and Deceit
You might have noticed that several different animals, and humans, use deception. How do the animals use it differently, if at all? Are the motivations different? The outcomes? The style? Explain the use of lies and deceit in Animal Farm, and compare this to how you see things in your life.
Orwell is suggesting that the only reason religion exists is to make people feel better about their horrible conditions. Although they play very different roles, Moses and Napoleon derive power from and interact with the other animals in similar ways, making clear a connection between dictatorship and religion.
Is there really a connection between corrupt power and religion? Use text evidence to support your ideas.