Animal Farm and Fan dancers
I’ve had a day at home today, writing an essay (got a deadline on Friday and I’m way behind!) and doing some work preparation. I’ve re-read ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell as I’m teaching it to my students. I’ve been preparing a vocabulary list so that their first read of the book will be helped along by their knowledge of some key words. I’m also creating worksheets about the characters, plot and use of language. Luckily, I really like George Orwell, I say luckily because I have to teach it and it’s sometimes hard to get motivated to teach things you don’t like much. I thought I’d give you a brief insight into the plot of ‘Animal Farm’; it’s quite a unique story.
An old, prize –winning boar gathers all the animals at Manor Farm together for a meeting in which he tells them of a dream he had. The dream was that all the animals lived together without humans around to oppress or control them. Even though this boar dies, three other pigs formulate his ideas into a philosophy called ‘Animalism’, they then take over the farm by defeating the farmer in a fight and then try to work together to achieve the old boar’s dream.
At first the newly named ‘Animal Farm’ prospers and the animals are taught to read and educated about the principles of Animalism however as time goes on the three pigs start quarrelling and struggling against each other for more power. After one particular incident, one of the pigs is chased off the farm and another takes control. The new pig leader says that there will be no more democratic meetings and all the decision making will be down to the pigs.
The farm and the animals suffer some setbacks and problems, which makes the human farmers who live nearby happy and smug that the animals can’t cope. The leader pig, who is called Napoleon starts getting rid of any animal who says a word against him or his ideas, his vicious dogs kill the animals. Napoleon also begins to act like a human by sleeping in a bed, drinking whisky and doing trade with the neighbouring farmers (all of which were forbidden according to Animalism.)
The other farm animals are cold, hungry and overworked because the farm is not functioning properly due to the poor leadership. As the years roll on, the pigs become more and more like humans, even to the stage of using whips on the other animals and wearing clothes. The original seven principles of Animalism are reduced to just one which is “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”. Finally Napoleon allies himself with the human farmers and the poor, farm animals find that they can no longer distinguish between pigs and human beings.
Orwell also wrote a book called ‘1984’ which is a favourite of mine, maybe some of you have read it or heard of it.But that’s enough about books, I need to return to my essay writing now and be a good student. My tutor will not be pleased if I don’t finish in time and Friday is only a few days away. You know, when I do my job as a teacher, it seems much easier and less stressful than being a student:-)
I know it's not related to the rest of my blog but I've attached a photo of Chinese ladies fan dancing. It's a very popular style of dancing for middle aged and elderly woman here. As you can see they wear bright costumes and dance with colourful fans while the men play instruments to accompany them. I love watching them dance and a few ladies practise every morning near the lake by my apartment. Teah and I watch them during our morning walk.
motivated (adj) impelled, encouraged to do something
insight (n) understanding
boar (n) a male pig
oppress (v) to keep down people or things with severe and unjust use of force or authority
formulate (v) invent, devise
philosophy (n) a set of ideas or beliefs
prosper (v) be successful
principles (n) ideas or rules
democratic (adj) social equality
setbacks (n) unfortunate events that stop forward progress
smug (adj) self-satisfied
vicious (adj) evil and fierce
allies (v) to become friends with
distinguish (v) to recognise as different
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