Animal Farm: Chapters 3-4

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12722

How far should populations go to establish a "better life"? A better question is, "A better life for whom?" Motives are important to consider when fighting for change; who can you trust to lead you?


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


When pressure on an oppressed people explodes into rebellion, the fight for freedom is on! But how free is freedom? What is the cost to obtain it and maintain it?


In the first lesson of this series, available under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, you learned that Orwell's story is an allegory.

Tell your parent or your teacher what the term "allegory" means.

It means that the story has a hidden meaning. While the story is about animals, it is also about the Russian Revolution and the rise of Communism in Russia. George Orwell believed that the world should try to more evenly distribute its wealth among people so that no one is very rich and no one is very poor. The gap between the wealthy and poor would become smaller although it might never fully disappear. Orwell believed that a more equitable distribution of the world's resources and wealth would lead to happier and more productive societies around the world. These views are part of the system of political beliefs known as "socialism."

The Russian Revolution was supposed to bring an end to the rule of the monarchy under the tsars (what Russians called their monarchs) and begin a new age of socialism. Under the tsars, Russia was divided between the very rich nobles and the very poor peasants — known as serfs — who were forced to work the land their families had worked on for generations, and give the proceeds of their labor to the nobles who were the landowners. This system, known as "serfdom," lasted until the 1860s in Russia.

  • Does it remind you of any other type of system in the world?

If you said "slavery," you are right. Serfs had very few freedoms, just like slaves. Slavery was more oppressive because slaves were considered the property of their owners, could be bought and sold, and sometimes were not considered humans. However, serfs were not allowed to leave the lands on which their families worked, and often were poorly treated by the nobles who owned the land, even to the point of being starved to death. Nobles, much like inhumane slaveholders, rarely faced punishment if they treated their serfs cruelly.

These conditions lead to the Russian Revolution that began in 1917. To learn more about what happened during the Russian Revolution, visit Russian Revolution, from As you read, write down the answers to the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Keep your answers, because you will use them for another activity later on in this lesson. When you have read the article and answered the questions, discuss your responses with your parent or teacher:

  • What were the names of the two phases of the Russian Revolution in 1917?
  • What was the outcome of the Russian Revolution?
  • What was the main political cause of the Russian Revolution?
  • What was the main social cause of the Russian Revolution?
  • What was the main economic cause of the Russian Revolution?
  • Who led the October Revolution?
  • What was the ultimate purpose of the Russian Revolution, and did it succeed?

Take a moment to reflect on this question:

  • Would you have supported the revolutionaries or supported the tsar and the nobles?

Explain your answer based on the facts you just learned.

Now that you have learned a little bit about the historical Russian Revolution, it's time to read the next two chapters in Animal Farm to see how George Orwell fictionalized parts of the Russian Revolution in his novel. First, you will need to define some terms from Chapters Three and Four. On a separate sheet of paper, write down the following vocabulary words. Look up the definitions of the words in a print dictionary or on Write down the definitions. Then, for each word, write a sentence using the word correctly. When you have finished the definitions and the sentences, share your answers with your parent or teacher:

  • chaff
  • shirked
  • indefatigable
  • maxim
  • shrewd
  • perpetually
  • scorn
  • fortnight
  • tractable
  • contemptible
  • manoeuvre
  • hobnail
  • ignominious
  • confer
  • posthumously

Once you’ve completed your work on the vocabulary, you are ready to read Chapters Three and Four in Animal Farm. Get out the Animal Farm Reading Log that you printed out in the first lesson and turn to the questions for Chapter Three. (This can be found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar.) As you read, answer the questions for Chapters Three and Four, either directly in your reading log or on a separate sheet of paper, if you prefer. Use the same copy of the novel that you obtained for the first lesson, which can either be a print copy of the novel or the digital copy of Animal Farm from Click on the right-hand side chapter titles to access Chapters Three and Four.

When you've finished answering the questions in the reading log, move on to the Got It? section to check your answers.

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