"Animal Farm" by George Orwell, Chapters 3-4

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

Here are links to our lists for other works by George Orwell: 1984, Politics and the English Language, Shooting an Elephant
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. toil
    work hard
    How they toiled and sweated to get the hay in!
  2. harness
    put on leather straps fitted to a draft animal
    Boxer and Clover would harness themselves to the cutter or the horse-rake (no bits or reins were needed in these days, of course) and tramp steadily round and round the field with a pig walking behind and calling out “Gee up, comrade!" or “Whoa back, comrade!” as the case might be.
  3. grudging
    petty or reluctant in giving or spending
    Every mouthful of food was an acute positive pleasure, now that it was truly their own food, produced by themselves and for themselves, not doled out to them by a grudging master.
  4. chaff
    material consisting of seed coverings and pieces of stem
    They met with many difficulties—for instance, later in the year, when they harvested the corn, they had to tread it out in the ancient style and blow away the chaff with their breath, since the farm possessed no threshing machine—but the pigs with their cleverness and Boxer with his tremendous muscles always pulled them through.
  5. thresh
    beat the seeds out of a grain
    They met with many difficulties—for instance, later in the year, when they harvested the corn, they had to tread it out in the ancient style and blow away the chaff with their breath, since the farm possessed no threshing machine—but the pigs with their cleverness and Boxer with his tremendous muscles always pulled them through.
  6. shirk
    avoid one's assigned duties
    Nobody stole, nobody grumbled over his rations, the quarreling and biting and jealousy which had been normal features of life in the old days had almost disappeared. Nobody shirked—or almost nobody.
  7. obstinate
    marked by tenacious unwillingness to yield
    He did his work in the same slow obstinate way as he had done it in Jones's time, never shirking and never volunteering for extra work either.
  8. cryptic
    of an obscure nature
    When asked whether he was not happier now that Jones was gone, he would say only "Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey," and the others had to be content with this cryptic answer.
  9. hoist
    raise or haul up with or as if with mechanical help
    First came the hoisting of the flag.
  10. resolution
    a formal expression by a meeting, agreed to by a vote
    It was always the pigs who put forward the resolutions.The other animals understood how to vote, but could never think of any resolutions of their own.
  11. indefatigable
    showing sustained enthusiasm with unflagging vitality
    He was indefatigable at this.
  12. maxim
    a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits
    After much thought Snowball declared that the Seven Commandments could in effect be reduced to a single maxim, namely: “four legs good, two legs bad.”
  13. whelp
    birth
    It happened that Jessie and Bluebell had both whelped soon after the hay harvest, giving birth between them to nine sturdy puppies.
  14. windfall
    fruit that has fallen from the tree
    The early apples were now ripening, and the grass of the orchard was littered with windfalls.
  15. shrewd
    marked by practical hardheaded intelligence
    Its owner was a Mr. Frederick, a tough, shrewd man, perpetually involved in lawsuits and with a name for driving hard bargains.
  16. perpetually
    without interruption
    Its owner was a Mr. Frederick, a tough, shrewd man, perpetually involved in lawsuits and with a name for driving hard bargains.
  17. tractable
    easily managed
    Bulls which had always been tractable suddenly turned savage, sheep broke down hedges and devoured the clover, cows kicked the pail over, hunters refused their fences and shot their riders on to the other side.
  18. contemptible
    deserving of scorn or disrespect
    They could not understand, they said, how even animals could bring themselves to sing such contemptible rubbish.
  19. din
    a loud harsh or strident noise
    The blackbirds whistled it in the hedges, the pigeons cooed it in the elms, it got into the din of the smithies and the tune of the church bells.
  20. launch
    propel with force
    As the human beings approached the farm buildings, Snowball launched his first attack.
  21. ambush
    concealing yourself and lying in wait to attack by surprise
    As soon as they were well inside the yard, the three horses, the three cows, and the rest of the pigs, who had been lying in ambush in the cowshed, suddenly emerged in their rear, cutting them off.
  22. ignominious
    deserving or bringing disgrace or shame
    And so within five minutes of their invasion they were in ignominious retreat by the same way as they had come, with a flock of geese hissing after them and pecking at their calves all the way.
  23. exploit
    a notable achievement
    The animals had now reassembled in the wildest excitement, each recounting his own exploits in the battle at the top of his voice.
  24. impromptu
    without advance preparation
    An impromptu celebration of the victory was held immediately.
  25. posthumously
    after death
    There was also “Animal Hero, Second Class,” which was conferred posthumously on the dead sheep.

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