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Fables and Allegories. An Introduction to Animal Farm. What do you know?. What do you know or remember about fables? Have you ever heard of an allegory before? What is satire?. The Ant and the Grasshopper: a Fable. Aesop.

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fables and allegories

Fables and Allegories

An Introduction to Animal Farm

what do you know
What do you know?
  • What do you know or remember about fables?
  • Have you ever heard of an allegory before?
  • What is satire?

Probably the most well known writer of fables is Aesop, who lived in Ancient Greece.

He wrote “The Ant and the Grasshopper ” and lots of other fables still popular today.

quotations from aesop
Quotations from Aesop
  • Don’t cry over spilt milk.
  • Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.
  • Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  • Appearances are often deceiving.
  • Birds of a feather flock together.
  • Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Fables are very short
  • Fables feature nonhuman characters who have been personified to an extreme
    • such as animals, plants, inanimate objects, mythical creatures, or forces of nature who think, talk, act, fight, disobey, and obey
  • Fables end with a short moral lesson
the ant and the grasshopper is a fable
“The Ant and the Grasshopper” is a Fable!
  • It is very short
  • The animal characters talk, sing, think, plan, and feel
  • It teaches a moral or lesson: it is best to prepare for days of need.
  • Allegories are forms of extended metaphors, which continue throughout the whole text
  • An allegory is a piece of “art”work in which every part has at least twomeanings:
    • the literal meaning
    • and an abstract or symbolic meaning
  • The underlying meaning of an allegory has social, religious, or political significance
the ant and the grasshopper is an allegory too
The “Ant and the Grasshopper” is an Allegory, too!

Literal MeaningSymbolic Meaning

The Ant


The Grasshopper



= Hardworking People

= Work / Preparation

= Short-sighted People

= Opportunity Time

= Hard Times

  • Ridicules people, practices, governments, or institutions in order to reveal their weaknesses and provoke improvement
  • Uses wit, ridicule, irony, sarcasm, parody, reversal, and hyperbole
  • Reader must be careful to pay attention to hints and clues of the reality of the situation beyond the façade of a seemingly innocent story
animal farm as a f able
Animal Farm as a Fable:
  • Has animals: sheep, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, ravens, dogs, donkeys, ducks
  • Teaches many lessons:
    • A perfect society is only as perfect as the members that make it up.
    • No society will ever have real equality as long as some people take advantage of others.
    • Don’t always believe what you hear and see.
    • Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
animal farm as an a llegory
Animal Farm as an Allegory:
  • Literal = Symbolic
  • Manor Farm = Russia
  • Animals Revolution = Russian Revolution
  • Animalism = Communism
  • Old Major = Karl Marx
  • Napoleon = Joseph Stalin
  • Snowball = Leo Trotsky
  • Squealer = Russian Propaganda and Media
  • Pigs = Communists
  • Horses = Workers
  • Windmill = Stalin’s 5 year improvement plan
  • Dogs = KGB or police
animal farm as s atire
Animal Farm as Satire:
  • It ridicules society and those who try to make society better through the implementation of ideas
  • It ridicules Joseph Stalin’s reign of power
  • It parodies with wit Stalin and his government as evil pigs (literally and figuratively)
  • It shows reversal in that people can be animals in the way that they treat, exploit, and manipulate each other for their own gain
  • It exaggerates how a lack of literacy, reading, and education makes people easy targets for tyrants, dictators, and those who would use propaganda to manipulate the masses
  • It shows how rhetoric, the art of persuasive writing and speaking, and propaganda are more important to maintaining power than goodness, competence, fairness, and other virtues