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Animal Farm

Subject:English

Topic:Literature, Politics, Authority, Power, Manipulation, Revolt, Mutiny, Communism

Audience:KS3

Question:How do the pigs take control of Animal Farm at the time of the Rebellion and its aftermath?

Author:Elizabeth Doyle

This mystery has 24 slips of information/statements which cover some of the main aspects of the book Animal Farm. It has three difficulty levels (Easy has 18 slips, Medium adds a further 4, and Hard has all 24 slips). The level can be changed in the settings.

It is intended to help the least able students to identify the various strategies and techniques used by the pigs to seize power in Animal Farm. There is not very much in the way of historical context here; it is mainly designed to focus on the text. However, it could provide a platform for the more able students to develop their understanding of the control of information, and then begin to relate the events in the book to the wider questions of the use and manipulation of the education system and the media by various interested groups.

The main ‘tools’ used by the pigs are the control of education, propaganda and the threat of violence to maintain their position of strength. The other animals are – for a variety of reasons - unable to resist the pigs’ tactics.

For the Medium level of this task, the slips/statements build upon the question of the manipulation of facts and the control of the information that the animals could access. It also includes a reference to Moses the raven, and the suggestion that the promise of a happy afterlife can be used to temper (or justify) suffering in this life.

The Hard level of this task includes an additional 2 slips which could lead to discussion on the class struggle, and perhaps the question of vested interests, whatever they could be. Hopefully the higher ability students will be able to build on the work done so far to consider the importance of education in the struggle against tyranny.

While this task could be used around the same time as students are reading the whole text Animal Farm, it would also be an ideal way to introduce the book in an interesting and engaging way. Students can get an overview of the main characters, but also begin to understand some of the themes and concepts behind them. An alternative would be to do this task after reading the full text, as a way of summarising, reflecting and piecing together different elements.

- Identify the various strategies and techniques used by the pigs to seize power

- Discuss the possibilities of manipulation and control of facts and information

- Discuss the potential of class struggle and motives behind some of the animals' behaviour

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