"Animal Farm" by George Orwell, Chapters 1-2

What would happen if the Russian Revolution of 1917 took place on a small English farm? This provocative novella blends fable, satire, and allegory while grappling with some of the twentieth-century's most consequential political ideas.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-2, Chapters 3-4, Chapters 5-6, Chapters 7-8, and Chapters 9-10
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. ensconce
    fix firmly
    At one end of the big barn, on a sort of raised platform, Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a beam.
  2. stout
    slightly fat or bulky
    He was twelve years old and had lately grown rather stout, but he was still a majestic-looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearance in spite of the fact that his tushes had never been cut.
  3. perch
    to come to rest, settle
    The hens perched themselves on the window-sills, the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters, the sheep and cows lay down behind the pigs and began to chew the cud.
  4. brood
    the young of an animal cared for at one time
    The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on.
  5. tread
    crush as if by stepping on
    The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on.
  6. mince
    walk daintily
    At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar.
  7. plait
    weave into a braided hairdo
    She took a place near the front and began flirting her white mane, hoping to draw attention to the red ribbons it was plaited with.
  8. comrade
    a term of address for males engaged in the same movement
    Comrades, you have heard already about the strange dream that I had last night."
  9. rebellion
    organized opposition to authority
    That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion!
  10. prosperity
    the condition of having good fortune
    Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others.
  11. enmity
    a state of deep-seated ill-will
    I merely repeat, remember always your duty of enmity towards Man and all his ways. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
  12. hoarse
    deep and harsh sounding as if from shouting or illness
    I am old and my voice is hoarse, but when I have taught you the tune, you can sing it better for yourselves.
  13. clime
    the weather in some location averaged over a period of time
    Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
    Beasts of every land and clime,
    Hearken to my joyful tidings
    Of the golden future time.
  14. tidings
    information about recent and important events
    Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
    Beasts of every land and clime,
    Hearken to my joyful tidings
    Of the golden future time.
  15. vivacious
    vigorous and animated
    Snowball was a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character.
  16. nimble
    moving quickly and lightly
    The best known among them was a small fat pig named Squealer, with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements, and a shrill voice.
  17. expound
    add details, as to an account or idea
    Several nights a week, after Mr. Jones was asleep, they held secret meetings in the barn and expounded the principles of Animalism to the others.
  18. apathy
    the trait of lacking enthusiasm for or interest in things
    At the beginning they met with much stupidity and apathy.
  19. elementary
    easy and not involved or complicated
    Some of the animals talked of the duty of loyalty to Mr. Jones, whom they referred to as “Master,” or made elementary remarks such as “Mr. Jones feeds us. If he were gone, we should starve to death."
  20. accord
    concurrence of opinion
    With one accord, though nothing of the kind had been planned beforehand, they flung themselves upon their tormentors.
  21. rubbish
    worthless material that is to be disposed of
    The reins, the halters, the blinkers, the degrading nosebags, were thrown on to the rubbish fire which was burning in the yard.
  22. caper
    jump about playfully
    All the animals capered with joy when they saw the whips going up in flames.
  23. knoll
    a small natural hill
    A little way down the pasture there was a knoll that commanded a view of most of the farm.
  24. gambol
    play or run boisterously
    In the ecstasy of that thought they gambolled round and round, they hurled themselves into the air in great leaps of excitement.
  25. unalterable
    not capable of being changed
    These Seven Commandments would now be inscribed on the wall; they would form an unalterable law by which all the animals on Animal Farm must live for ever after.

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