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Animal Farm - Setting
What do you know of the setting in Animal Farm?

Animal Farm - Setting

This GCSE English Literature quiz challenges you on setting in Animal Farm by George Orwell. Setting in a text includes the location and the time in which the events take place. Texts can have several settings, of course, since events can occur in very different places and even times. Specific buildings and spaces are also settings within the primary setting. Events happening in the background, even when these are only alluded to by characters, also constitute part of a literary text’s setting, as do political and social issues. The wider fictional world is referred to as context (be careful not to confuse this with the author’s real-life context). Atmosphere, another key element of setting, will often change multiple times in a text.

How well can you visualise the setting or settings of your text?

What effect does each setting have? Authors show their characters being affected by the world in which they live. The reported thoughts, behaviour and dialogue of the characters will show the effect political or social events have on them.

Animal Farm has some highly-specific details about its setting, although it is vague in many ways, befitting its original designation as a fairy tale. It is relatively easy to envisage the farmhouse and the landscape, but somewhat more difficult to determine the time, or the number of years over which the events occur. This adds to the impression that the allegory applies to repeated events over the past as well as those which might take place in future.

Geographical elements, including region, country, environment, landscapes and buildings also constitute the setting of a text. Weather, too, plays a role (think about the change of seasons in Animal Farm, for example). How does the interaction of characters with their environment create meaning in the text?

Comparing the time a text is set with when it was written is a useful exercise. Do these times differ? What might be a reason for an author to choose to set a text in the past, present or future? How does our understanding of the story depend on such decisions? In the case of Animal Farm, you might also like to consider why the text is set in a country different from the one whose political turmoil it satirises.

Answer the questions below on setting in Animal Farm.

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1.
Animal Farm is set in which country?
Scotland
England
Russia
South Africa
The setting of the novella is an ordinary English farm, although it satirises events in the Soviet Union
2.
Which of the following best describes the mood of the final chapter when the pigs hold a banquet for their neighbours?
Jolly
Horrifying
Melancholic
Peaceful
The moment when the pigs and the people blend into one another is one of horror and despair
3.
The novel presents a rural setting that is not always a pastoral utopia, instead acknowledging the harsh annual cycle of farming life. Which of the following lines does NOT present this harsher side of farming life?
"The needs of the windmill must override everything else"
"The earth was like iron"
"How they toiled and sweated to get the hay in! But their efforts were rewarded, for the harvest was an even bigger success than they had hoped"
"The stormy weather was followed by sleet and snow, and then by a hard frost which did not break until well into February"
The building of the windmill represents a focus on industrial production and its needs
4.
Which one of the following is NOT a significant site for the animals' Sunday ritual?
The flagstaff in the farmhouse garden
The big barn
The stump near the flagstaff
The harness-room
After Snowball's banishment, the animals are made to walk reverently past Old Major's skull in its new position on the stump near the flagstaff
5.
Which of the following best describes the farmhouse?
Luxurious
Shabby
Plain, but clean
Dark and dismal
The animals are astounded at the luxury in which Mr and Mrs Jones had been living
6.
Where do the animals first meet?
In the farmhouse
In the stable
At the windmill
In the big barn
The location is chosen because it offers a space large enough for the meeting while also being hidden away from Mr Jones
7.
Pinchfield, one of the farms neighbouring Animal Farm, is described as small and well-kept. Which of the following matches the description of Foxwood, the other neighbouring farm?
Large and productive
Small and unproductive
Neglected and old-fashioned
Beautiful, but unproductive
The text describes Foxwood thus: "a large, neglected, old-fashioned farm, much overgrown by woodland, with all its pastures worn out and its hedges in a disgraceful condition"
8.
"Mr Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs Jones was already snoring." Which one of the following is NOT achieved by this opening?
The reader learns that the novella is set on a farm
The reader learns that a revolt is brewing on the farm
The reader learns that the farmer is not especially good at his job
The reader is led to believe the book will be about the farmer and his wife
The very next line introduces a surprising turn to focus on the animals: "As soon as the light in the bedroom went out there was a stirring and a fluttering all through the farm buildings"
9.
"The grass and the bursting hedges were gilded by the level rays of the sun." Which words create an image of a rich and fruitful farm?
Grass, hedges
Grass, gilded
Bursting, gilded
Hedges, sun
The hedge is "bursting" with life and the gilding effect of the sun's rays makes everything in view appear golden
10.
When do the events take place?
Late 18th century
Between 1910 and 1920
Between 1939 and 1944
The time is not specified
The text includes a few details which would tie it to a specific time. One relevant detail is that Mr Jones reads the News of the World, which was published throughout the second half of the 19th century and all of the 20th. Horses draw carts and even the knacker's van, so the farm would fit almost any time in the century preceding its date of publication. Finally, the farmhouse has a lithograph of Queen Victoria on display. Taken together, these details still leave a wide time frame possible and the relatively-unspecified time suits the novella's original designation as a fairy tale
Author:  Sheri Smith

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