An analysis of how events occurring in 1940s Russia influenced George Orwell's writing of the novel 'Animal Farm'. Narrator Andy Kershaw explains how the allegorical novel 'Animal Farm' reflects the events leading up to the Stalin era before the Second World War and how the characters and plot of the novel represent the fundamental figures and events that shaped this era. The narrator explains that Orwell, a democratic socialist, was extremely sceptical of Stalin's intentions and actions and uses the novel to highlight how destructive and catastrophic the consequences would be. Kershaw provides an overview of the history of the USSR, its key figures and the dark side of Stalin's plans to provide an overview of the historical, political and social context that inspired Orwell to write his dystopian novel.
Can be used to make close links between historical context and the novel. Students work in pairs as experts on different subjects. The first partner is an expert on the history of the Soviet revolution in Russia and the other is a University professor specialising in the novel. The pair watch the clip and make notes on their respective fields of expertise. The partners offer short statements to each other based on their knowledge; the other partner must find evidence from the novel or context to substantiate (or not) this idea. Students alternate back and forth between making statements and responding to them. Some of these conversations are shown to the whole class.