Animal Farm by George Owell

Writing Activity #1: Review your notes on the questions posed in the ‘before reading’ activity. Use your responses as the basis for writing a short essay in response to the questions below.

a. How is Orwell’s Animal Farm an allegory? Be specific and provide examples from the text to support your statements.

b. What are the rhetorical components of this allegory?

c. How is the use of allegory as a rhetorical device different from simply laying out a non-fictional account, or an historical or statistical analysis of the period and the rise of the Communist Party?

d. Do you think that Orwell’s use of allegory rhetorically is successful? Explain.

Writing Activity #2:

Step 1: Read the introductory paragraph about Martin Niemoller.

Step 2: Read his poem.

Step 3: Write a response to the question that follows this poem.

Martin Niemoller was a church pastor in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. An early supporter of Hitler, his philosophy changes and he became very critical of the Nazi agenda and practices. He was arrested and held in concentration camps throughout World War II, and barely escaped execution. He is perhaps best known for his cautionary poem:

In Germany they came first for the Communists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

* Hint: Compare Niemoller’s cautionary poem with Orwell’s allegorical story of the Manor Farm. How are their messages similar or different? How is the method of delivering those messages similar or different?

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