This GCSE English Literature quiz will see how well you understand the text in Animal Farm by George Orwell. Before you can analyse and write about a text, you need to understand it. This is not always as easy as it sounds. After all, if authors only had a simple message to convey, why would it take them hundreds of pages and thousands of words in which to do so? Reading a text written long ago, or one from another country, or maybe just written in a strong dialect, can make your task a little more difficult. Sometimes you need to get used to how a particular author writes before you begin to understand the text properly.
Authors have a variety of methods which they use to convey meaning. It is not often that they state what they mean directly.
Instead, authors communicate with their readers through character, setting, plot, theme and dialogue. Think about each of these elements and try to understand the text as you read. Re-reading can often be a big help, especially if it becomes clear that you might not have understood everything the first time. If you do find that you need to read a text again, don’t worry! Most people have to re-read texts or parts of texts and realising that you need to do so just proves that you are paying attention!
In reading a text, comprehension operates on several levels simultaneously. Consider how context and setting relate to events and how events relate to each other. Creating a timeline of events is one very useful method for understanding a text. Don’t forget that events are not always revealed in the order in which they occur chronologically. One useful aid to revision is to create chapter summaries, which will help you to visualise the structure of the text, especially when that differs from the chronological timeline.
Consider how actions reveal the characters’ motivations. Do you need to examine the text for clues to explain their behaviour? Should you take their words at face value, or will you need to examine the subtext of those words more closely? Do characters’ actions match their words? Try to answer why or why not, justifying your views by referring in detail to the text.
One great method of revision is to analyse beginnings and endings. Why does the text begin as it does? Does the narrator tell you directly about the characters’ pasts or do you find out the information in another way? Is there any distance between the narrator and the time when the reported events took place? How is foreshadowed accomplished? Analyse individual chapters similarly, considering the significance of their individual beginnings and endings. Careful and detailed analysis of this sort will help you to dramatically improve your knowledge and understanding of the text!
Read the questions below on Animal Farm and test your knowledge and understanding of the text.