Animal Farm

 

SPARKNOTES STUDY GUIDE

Listen to the book while reading

 

WHAT IS A UTOPIAN OR DYSTOPIAN WORLD ?

You are going to read several excerpts from dystopian novels.

The following guidelines will help you understand the author’s vision of society and his message to the readers.

You’ll study each document filling in this blank file (in word format to be reproduced) that you will then use to decypher what a dystopia is.

NARRATION aspects and elements to be studied and message conveyed – all are meaningful !
environment

when & where

in the past / now / near or remote future

desert / sea / island / town / countryside

characters

characterization

 

&

 

relationships

humans / robots / hubots / AI / animals

viewpoint and focalization /language and absence of language

sameness vs uniqueness / (no) personal feelings / (no) colours or symbolic colours and shapes

for better or for worse / (gender) roles within family structure

equal sharing of work and chores

roles within the group / society

collective identity for common good

PLOT

and/or

origin of the change

Good vs Evil

greed vs solidarity

murder mystery

survival of the fittest / genetic engineering / rebellion or revolution / tradition vs modernity

apocalypse or restoration

WHO has

 

POWER

&

CONTROL

 

OVER WHO

and

HOW

social & political systems

a God or godlike figure

the EYE vs the I

the individual vs the group

basic freedoms : where is the limit ?

power : a matter of knowledge ? money ? physical strength ? looks ? gender ?

ruling vs manipulating > propaganda

education & free information vs mind-control & brainwashing

censorship over and surveillance through language / sounds & pictures / the media / new tech

violence vs tolerance / role of religion or absence of religion / beliefs

use of literary devices and their effects LANGUAGE REFLECTS THE WORLD we live in

  • the narrator uses
    • metaphors / images
    • verbs / adverbs / adjectives / modals / specific grammatical structures
    • repetitions / puns / specific lexical fields
  • the protagonists use
    • a new language (invented / transformed / unknown)
    • banned words
    • no language at all / no media / no books
transposition

on screen

use of colours and shapes

impact of audio+ video dimensions

focus & viewpoint > use of camera angles

 

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FINAL TASK : DEBATING IN A TV SHOW

We are to participate in a TV Talk Show on ABC. The show presenter will interview 4 or 5 American citizens, with sometimes opposite ideas, on how they view Trump’s presidency and next presidential agenda. Major issues such as basic freedoms, gender equality, health care and media power are at stake. The interview will be broadcast live!

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Debating > useful phrases

You are going to use the many different aspects of what you have learnt on dystopia to prepare your Final Task. You will voice your personal opinion on President Trump’s way of governing the US and what has changed since his election or may change if he is re-elected. They are many protests against and controversies about what he does and who he is.

 

If you are the show presenter prepare your questions around the following aspects of Trump’s policy:

 

  1. basic freedoms
  2. gender equality
  3. health care
  4. media power

 

If you are a participant, prepare your final task following these steps :

 

  1. First choose who you are (a teen or a midle-aged or a senior ?), your occupation and social background.
  2. Second choose your side FOR or AGAINST.
  3. Third determine which aspects of Trump’s policy you want to focus on.
  4. Fourth prepare your arguments (around 10) to answer the presenter’s questions.