Monday, November 22, 2004

Hannah Jane Alter

Animal Farm is a book that represents the Russian Revolution in a farm setting. Old Major, the wise one, says that a revolt will come in the future; the animals underestimated how soon it would be. The animals took over the farm from Mr. Jones. After the revolt the animals said they would live by equality. That didn't last very long because the moreso dictator Napoleon chases Snowball into exile and turns everyone on the farm against him. Napoleon starts giving himself and other pigs more freedom and he starts going against his own rules. He starts socializing with nearby farmers, but the farmers come and blow up the windmill that they just built and tried to take over. Boxer, a horse devouted to his work gets sent out to the slaughter house by Napoleon because he is far too old to work. Other animals fess up and are killed for "crimes" they have done. Napoleon becomes friends with the farmers and soon after the animals claim not to be able to tell the pigs and humans apart.

I would not highly reccomend this book because it is entirely fiction. "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which" (124). This book is also entirely juvenile with the talking animals "Four legs good, two legs bad" (50). In order to read this book, it would be best to have some knowledge about the Russian Revolution.

Golding,William. Lord of the Flies. New York: The Penguin Putnam Inc., 1954. (207)

This book is about a plane that has landed on a tropical island and stranded a group of boys. They are the only survivors and are facing life with only each other. The island iteself represents the world. The beast represents all the evil that people have within themselves. Jack represents anarchy or communism.

Heather Stuck

Animal Farm, written by George Orwell, compares the life of animals on a farm to the Russian Revolution. In the beginning, the farm and animals are owned by a man named Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones neglects the animals and works them hard. So the wise pig, Old Major, suggests a revolution. The animals work together and chase Mr. Jones out of his own farm. A set of commandments are then established to keep equality amongst the animals. This slowly changes; especially when the pig Snowball is expelled. When this event takes place, Napoleon takes over. Napoleon slowly leads the animals back to the life like that of Mr. Jones’ time. The animal start to starve, work long and hard hours, and classes are developed. The commandments changing and the prohibited interaction between the animals and humans become a regular event. The difference between animal and man is later unnoticeable.
This book, Animal Farm, strongly represents the Russian Revolution. The different animals on the farm represent some of the major people involved in the revolution. The horse, Boxer, represents the working class. He never gives up and always believes what he is told. “If comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.” The head pig, Napoleon, represents Stalin. He does not show any mercy and feels superior to all others. The event of the four little pigs and other animals that confess to crimes they did not commit and are slaughtered shows Napoleon’s harshness. Napoleon’s closest animal worker is Squealer. Squealer can persuade and convince anyone. He does anything that is needed to make Napoleon look strong and untouchable. In the Russian Revolution, Squealer would be the propaganda that made Stalin appear flawless. When Squealer fell off the ladder, while changing the commandments, was just one example of how he strongly represents propaganda and the ability to alter things.
The book, Lord of the Flies, is another book that could be taught instead of Animal Farm. This is a story about a group of English schoolboys who are stranded on an island by a plane wreck. At first the boys decide that working together to find food and build a shelter would be the best idea. Soon the boys start turning on each other and forming a group who is against their leader. Ralph, the leader, loses some of his supporters who work to another classmate who would rather play and swim.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Capricorn Books,
G.P. Putnam’s sons, 1954. (207)

Justin Ramey

This book is about a farm of animals that goes over its superior. This superior is the farm owner named Mr.Jones. After the farm gets taken over by the animals there is a power struggle between two pigs who have opposite views on just about everything. This story also shows betrayal when animals start to leave the farm to be with the ones they call humans. The story also begins with a set of seven commandments that get changed often through the story. The commandments get changed a lot because of the power struggle between the pigs. Also because some of the animals think they are better than the others so they disregard the commandments. So at the end of the story the government falls apart and they basically start from when they first started the rebellion. This book is also a very good at putting a humorous twist to the Russian revolution. Also all of the characters in the story can relate to someone or something in the Russian revolution.

My opinion of the book is that does a really good job keeping you interested in it with its childish charm and its humor. Plus it puts a whole new perspective to the Russian revolution. '' Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever"(5). "Several nights a week, after Mr. Jones was asleep, they held secret meetings in the barn and expounded the principally of Animalism to the others"(13)

The book I think that should be taught instead of animal farm is Lord of the Flies. It is about a group of people who were stranded on a insland. All of the people split up in two groups, one group that tries to help each other by hunting, gathering, and by working together. The other group were savages who always wanted warfare and to get what the other group has in there community.

Lord of the flies by William Gerald Golding; copyright: 1954; Published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

Sarah Hess

The book animal farm was a book that uses animals to represent the Russian revolution and communism. Its starts off with Old Major (Karl Marx) who is telling the animals that a rebellion is going to take place. Then after Old Major dies, the animals, start to rebel slowly. Soon the animals begin to starve, because their owner Mr Jones (Tsar Nicholas II) doesn't feed them, because of this the animals break in to the barn. Mr. Jones then hears the commotion and starts runs out and begins to whip then. The animals then chase him and kick him out, leaving the animals free to govern themselves. The animal decide to develop the seven commandments making all animals equal. Soon the pigs start to have more and more power, even to the point where their are two main leaders, Snowball (Trotsky) and Napoleon (Stalin). These animals are fighting for power, and soon Napoleon becomes on control, the dictator. He has a messenger, Squealer (propaganda) who blames everything on Snowball. Boxer (working class) is the one who works hardest to build the windmill multiple times. The communism begins to get worse and eventually even animals are being killed. The story ends with the Pigs becoming friends with the humans and all seven commandments being broken.
Overall this book was not very exciting to me. I believe that if I was reading it on my own it would have been very hard to understand the relation between the Russian revolution and Communism. To improve it I would have a section explaining that time period and what went on. I also believe that they could of done a better job portraying the working class. In the story it made the animals seem really dumb, because it was so obvious that the animals were not better off than when Mr. Jones was there. I think that the working class during that period was probably smarter than the animals. Finally I think it would have been neat if the author had done it as a diary of one of the animals, instead of talking about all the animals equally.
I think a story that could be taught instead of animal Farm is "1984" also written by George Orwell. "1984" was written in, the world war had just been fought two stop the Totalitarian regime, though Orwell believed we were headed in the direction of that same government. This novel was symbolized as an urgent warning that political decisions could create a brutal society where everything published is so different from the events and actions that happened that it is the opposite.

Bibliography: Orwell, George. "1984". New York, New York: Penguin Putnam,1961. (336)

Just a Reminder

This is a reminder that this extra credit is due TOMORROW, Tuesday, November 23.

Please re-read the directions before you begin and DO NOT skip any steps -- if you do you will receive NO extra credit.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Max Alpert

Animal Farm, by George Orwell.
Animal Farm is a satire based on the Soviet Revolution of 1917, and the following rise of the communist nation. This story compares a farm ran at first by a disrespectful and unfaithful owner, who's farm is over-ran by his animals, inspired by the rebellious ideas of Old Major. In this part it is said that once they were victorious, all animals would prosper and be equal. Many actions took place thereafter such as the creation, of the 7 Commandments, the holiday system, and explanations on how the animals would all be free and equal....sounds familiar to the Russian population of 1917. Many comparisons of population.....the working class, the peasant class, the retired, and the upper class are all explained in a slightly humorous way. Also, along with this, the many marked periods of communism in the SU, marked all the way to WWII, are revised and interpreted in this story. In the end, it explains how so that some animals, as it were, are more equal than others....

Overall, I found this book genius when it comes to the satirized and the comparison of the Soviet Union to something that if most were to make a comparison, could not describe. Such as the destruction of the second windmill showing the fall of much of the soviet unions great achievements during the second world war..and the rise of the so called 'upper class of the equals', with the pigs growing in privilege.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York:Harper & Row Publishers, 1932

Brave New World is about an aspect of a 'utopian civilization', or a perfect world, present in a time of around this date, 21st century, and humans quality. This book shows a fictional view of the world, with laws and creations of perfection that all end in tragedy and failure. Although futuristic, this book explains almost a perfectly accurate view as of what the end of the SU will look like.

Morgan McDonald

Animal Farm
Summary- Animal Farm is a book that really makes you think and kind of messes with your head. It is suppose to represent the Russian Revolution in history. Manor Farm is run by a dead beat man that does not take good care of his animals, so the animals decide to rebel against the owner. They take over Manor Farm and make it Animal Farm, hence the name of the book. The animals discuss how they want the farm to run; they come up with the seven commandments to make all animals equal and as different from man as possible. The pigs of the farm are apparently smarter and a can read and write so the take on all the thinking issues. Soon the equality thing starts breaking down and the pigs become superior to all the rest and basically brain washes the animals, telling then that it is for their own good. The two head pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, get into and altercation over Snowball's idea of a windmill to generate electricity. This leads to Napoleon's dogs (secret police) chasing Snowball off the farm and Napoleon taking all the credit for this grand idea. The animals begin to realize as Napoleon becomes the leader that the original commandments are not the same and that the pigs and dogs are receiving special treatment. With Napoleon being the leader and Squealer reassuring that Napoleon is always right, the farm turns to total chaos. The windmill has been built once, then fallen down, built twice and blown up. The third windmill is in the process of being built. Napoleon breaks the rule of communicating with the outer world so much that at the end of the book no one can tell the difference between man and pig.
Critique- I personally did not like the book, it confused me and I didn't like the idea of animals talking or none the less rebelling and taking over a farm previously owned by humans. The animals probably are very smart but I don't think they can read and write like in the book, I sort of creeps me out. The book didn't catch my interest because it represents something in history which made me think a lot!! ( Oh the horror!!!) When the windmills came crashing down twice it seemed as thought everything would end badly and I like to have a catchy ending. But, Just because I don't like the book doesn't mean that it is not a good book, hey it could even interest you!
Of Mice and Men-A story about two men who travel along the west coast to find a job were they can make money. Lennie and George have a dream of owning there own land and there own shack together. They finally get a job working in the fields and as there plan is underway Lennie gets side tracked by a flurtatious woman and George has to find a way to get them back on track.
Steinbeck,John Of Mice and Men, n. p. The Viking Press INC,1937

Maggie Armstrong

Animal Farm is by George Orwell. Animal Farm is about animals that don't like their leader who is Mr.Jones. He doesn't feed them enough and he doesn't treat them right and he makes them work to hard. So the animals of Animal Farm decide to overthrow Mr.Jones, they decide to have a rebellion. They fight Mr.Jones and his men and the animals win and run Mr.Jones out of the farm. The animal's new leader is Old Major who is a very old pig. Old Major dies and then Napolean, who is also a pig, and Snowball, who is also a pig, both want to be in control of the farm. They start to have a fight and Napoleon decides to run Snowball off of the farm. Napoleon is now in control. The animals have made up all these rules that make each animal equal and Napoleon gradually starts changing the rules to best suit him, although he is telling the animals that the changing of the rules is for their benefit b/c he has to run the farm and he needs to be comfortable. For example, when everybody starts noticing that the rules are being changed he tells them that they are better off than they have ever been when humans were running the farm. At the end all the animals make up stuff that they have done but they haven't really done, just so they can be taken out of their misery but Napoleon's dogs, for example the animals start confessing to having had communication with Snowball.
1984 is about a political party called the Airstrip One. Airstrip One is part of another political party called Oceania. This political party will be at war with Eurasia and Eastasia forever. Records show that Oceania has been working with Eurasia but at war with Eastasia. Winston Smith is a man that knows that Oceania is dangerous and doesn't treat it's people right. Oceania harshly punishes and confuses and disorients its people and that is how they control them. These powers take people from their friends and make them love people that they don't really love. The Brotherhood is an organization that wants to destroy Airstrip One. Winston Smith puts his life on the line to fight against these powers.

Orwell, George. 1984. New York: New American Library, 1950.( I couldn't find how many pages this book has)

Kristyn Holc

Animal Farm is an allegory that depicts the rise of Communism. It takes place on a farm where the animals decide to take over. Two pigs named Snowball and Napolean take charge. At first everything goes great and the animals enjoy being in charge of themselves. Then Snowball is chased out of the farm and Napolean takes over. He starts bending the rules and changing things to his liking. Eventually everything goes back to the way it was before the rebellion.

The book was okay. I wouldn't say it was one of my favorites, but it's a book I will remember. I mean, think about it, animals taking over a farm and rebelling, that's just unrealistic. "Meanwhile the animals had chased Jones and his men out to the road and slammed the five-barred gate behind them,16." I also thought it was weird that the animals learned to read. Animals don't have the capability to read.

Golding,William. Lord of the Flies. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1954. (208)
It's about a group of boys who are stranded on an island. It talks about how they survive and coped with diversity.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Because your tests were so sad...

Class --

Well, since a vast majority of your test grades fell in the bad to very bad range (and because I am very, very nice), I have created an extra credit opportunity for you. Depending on your effort, you may receive between 5 and 10 points added to your test grade.


You must post a blog entry in which you...
1) Summarize the book in 10-12 sentences.
2) Provide a critique of the book -- in other words, give your opinion of the book and BACK IT UP with at least 2 specific examples from the book.
3) Research to find a book that could be taught instead of Animal Farm that teaches students the same literary skills (symbolism, allegory, historical context). For this step you should include a COMPLETE bibliographical entry and a 3-5 sentence summary of this book.
Hint: use or something similar. You don't need to have read this other book in order to suggest it!
10 -- Provides a thorough summary of appropriate length; Provides a thoughtful and analytical critique with 2 specific examples from the book; provides the bibliographical information and a brief summary of another book which teaches symbolism, allegory OR historical context to students.
8 -- Provides a good summary of appropriate length (may leave out key elements); provides an opinion of the book and backs it up with 2 specific examples, but is not necessarily thoughtful or analytical; provides the bibliographical information and brief summary of another book which sort of teaches symbolism, allegory or historical context (not a GREAT match for Animal Farm).
5 -- Provides an adequate summary while leaving out important points; gives an opinion of the book without adequate evidence; provides an alternative book that does not truly teach symbolism, allegory or historical context.
0 -- If you leave out ANY of the above steps, you will not receive extra credit.
* This must be completed by B4 on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 in order to receive extra credit.
* This opportunity is open to EVERYONE -- if you do not have a computer with internet access at home, you may come in before school (any time after 7:45 am) and use one of our computers. OR you may use the computers in the library during lunch, your study hall, or after school on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
* Directions on how to post a blog to this site will be handed out in class and posted on blackboard.