This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at themes in George Orwell's Animal Farm. Any work of literature will have multiple themes, which can range from the very subtle to the glaringly obvious. An individual theme is unlikely to be presented in isolation, instead interacting with and commenting upon other themes in the same text. An author develops a text’s themes through the use of setting, character, plot and dialogue. Look out for related ideas and concepts in the text and see whether you can follow the development of the different themes you find. When writing about a text, carefully compare your final thoughts with those you held as you began reading. Have your ideas on any of the issues changed? If they have, can you explain why? When and where did your views on a key theme begin to change?
When readers engage with the key themes, they engage with the author. Texts often encourage readers to interrogate their own beliefs or ways of looking at the world. Animal Farm depicts the awful destruction of reasonable and hopeful ideals and is absolutely clear about the correlation between its events and the Soviet state. Orwell wanted to encourage greater scepticism about the truthfulness of the official reports from the Soviet Union, thus his depiction of the insidious use of propaganda on Animal Farm is far from subtle.
Animal Farm deals with interrelated themes of the exercise of power, idealism, truth, justice and equality, education and the use of the intellect. As a satire, fable and allegory, this text aims to educate and to encourage the reader to action. Does the text merely apply to those who live under dictatorships or can you see elements of dictatorial behaviour, bullying, the rewriting of history and the use of propaganda anywhere closer to home?
Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of Animal Farm.