As a Freshman in high school I read Animal Farm. I remember being something of a history buff and reading the chapter where the animals went through the farmer’s house and thinking, “Wow, I bet this is what the peasants felt like going through the Romanov palace after the Russian Revolution.” I felt so smart for making that comparison and was sure no one had ever made it before. Ahhh, foolish naive Ticia, how much more you know now. Namely that, George Orwell wrote this as a mockery of the Russian Revolution. All of this meant I desperately wanted to do an Animal Farm book club with my kids at some point, and I was even happier when I found out there was a book and a movie for it. Officially this is listed on my 9th-grade books made into movies, but I think we read this in 10th grade.
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Our Animal Farm book club came their Sophomore year
We were studying the Russian Revolution, and they’d learned about the insanity of Karl Marx (The Artist has words for him). They also had the knowledge of how disastrously the French Revolution had gone (at some point I will figure out a way to write about both of these on here, but it’s tricky).
Okay, I just spent several minutes being distracted by a seam treatment on a sewing video I’m watching. She finished the seams with a ribbon, and it was so pretty.
Back to writing about our Animal Farm book club.
Just watch, I’m going to be wrong and I taught this our Junior year. I should probably go look and see which year I listed the book in.
Another reason I wanted the kids to read Animal Farm, aside from the great comparisons to the Russian Revolution, was how it has seeped into popular culture.
Reading it in the midst of all of the Covid lockdowns and watching as some leaders would put forth rules for the masses, but then ignored it for themselves they would see people quote the rules of Animal Farm, “some animals are more equal than others,” and other ideas in this vein.
Animal Farm book club
For our Animal Farm book club we went through the 7Sisters discussion guide, which focused on allegory and dystopian satire.
We broke it down into 4 weeks, and it was so much fun for me to stop and discuss it with the kids at the end of the week and hear them rant and talk about how truly awful the pigs were and how much they hated them, and how bad they felt for Boxer and what happened to him.
This led to a few snacks which my kids were incredibly happy to eat as we made our Animal Farm snacks.
Animal Farm snacks
Not too surprisingly there are not a lot of snacks specifically listed in the book, so we sat down and started brainstorming ideas of what we could turn into snacks.
- Farm animals- this was fairly generic animal crackers and circus animals because it gave us an excuse to have fun cookies
- Eggs- we did robin egg candy, but you could also have actual scrambled eggs
- haystacks- which are melted chocolate chips mixed with peanut butter and chow mein noodles
- propaganda- graham crackers and marshmallow fluff
- ribbons- sour strips
- sheep- a combination of sugar cookies and chocolate cookies
- attack dogs (or just dogs)- Walker’s shortbread cookie dogs
- beer- root beer
- slop- root beer floats
- Boxer- in theory, this was a horse cookie cutter, but they ended up looking rather not like horses when I cooked them
- Snowball- sugar cookie with pink frosting, candy eyes and a sweet tart nose
- Napoleon- everyone hated him the most, because they should, and so we chose to make him the ham we had for dinner
All in all everyone had a lot of fun with our snacks and the Animal Farm movie we watched was absolutely hilarious because it was animated!
I just found a newer and what looks to be digital animation Animal Farm movie. Nope, that came out in 1999, so that is “animals acting,” I don’t know if that would make it so much worse…
All in all, I definitely achieved my goal with my Animal Farm book club, we had some great discussions, we talked about abuse of power, and how it has gotten into our culture.
More great book clubs
Hmmm, what should I pick this time?