Animal Farm: Chapters 1-2

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12721

History and politics can seem dry, dusty, and irrelevant. Political theories can be hard to grasp and uninteresting. What better way to get a point across than to let some farm animals do the talking!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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What do you think the plot of a book named Animal Farm will be? Do you picture critters growing out of the ground?

If you said that the book Animal Farm may be about animals living on a farm, you are correct.

George Orwell's book, Animal Farm, is about animals, but it is also a look at government. Orwell uses the farm animals to create an allegory, or a story with a hidden meaning, to explore the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the early years of Communism in Russia. You will learn more about the politics in Animal Farm in the next lesson, located under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.

In this lesson, you will get to meet the animals who live on the farm and learn more about their personalities and how they come to rule the farm where they live. To help you understand the first two chapters of the book, you will need to define some of the words used by Orwell.

Below, you will find a list of vocabulary words used in the novel. On a separate sheet of paper, write down each word. Then, look up the definition of the word using a print dictionary or, and write down the definition. Then, below the definition, write a sentence using each word correctly. The words are:

  • lurch
  • scullery
  • ensconce
  • benevolent
  • attentively
  • fertile
  • tyranny
  • comrade
  • clime
  • hearken
  • apathy
  • expound
  • accord
  • caper
  • gambol
  • spinney

When you have finished defining the words and writing the sentences, share them with your parent or teacher.

  • What did you notice about the origin of some of the words?

Many of the words are used in British English, which is a slightly different version of the English language. In England, British English is considered the most formal version of the language and is known as the King's or the Queen's English (depending on whether a king or queen is sitting on the British throne at the time).

American English evolved from British English. Some American words changed after the colonies broke away from England during the American Revolution because the colonists wanted to show that they were no longer under British control. For example, a wrench is called a "spanner" in British English. Other words were invented in America when the item was invented. For example, Americans call the glass in the front of a car a "windshield" while the British call it a "windscreen."

  • Do you know any words that are different between British and American English? Tell your parent or teacher.
  • Why do you think George Orwell used British English to write Animal Farm?

If you said it was because he was British, you are correct!

Now, move on to the Got It? section to begin reading this famous British novel.

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