Activity Overview

Before or during reading, it is helpful to review the ways that this novel is allegorical. Students will need knowledge of important Russian figures, and how they relate to the characters of Animal Farm. If starting this assignment while reading, students can complete this character map to help keep track of important attributes of each character. If completing before reading, internet research may be helpful to establish prominent figures and characteristics of particular communist leaders that play a significant role in the allegory.

Be sure to check out our resources on the Russian Revolution and Communism!

Important Figures in Animal Farm and Communism

Old Major He is the first of the animals who stands up for the working class. It is his original suggestion to revolt against the humans.Karl Marx/Lenin
Snowball A true leader of the revolt, the other animals look up to him. He is the one who comes up with the plans for a windmill.Leo Trotsky
Napoleon After Old Major's death, Napoleon uses Snowball to continue Major's dream. After the rebellion, he seizes control, becoming a tyrant.Stalin
Squealer Squealer often speaks for Napoleon and is excellent at using rhetoric to manipulate the animals.Russian Media
Boxer & Clover Boxer is a working horse who believes wholeheartedly in the cause. He works himself to death for "Animalism".The Russian Working Class
Mollie A horse who was never for the rebellion, she eventually is lured away from the farm because she does not believe in the animals' ideology.Russia's Upper Classes/Loyal to Czar
Benjamin A smart, wise, old donkey who can read and write just as well as the pigs. He continuously remarks that donkeys live a long time, suggesting that with age comes wisdom.The Older Generation of Russians
Moses A raven who speaks of a lost paradise for animals called "Sugar Candy Mountain."Russian Orthodox Church
Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher These dogs are Napoleon's enforcers. He uses the dogs to run Snowball off the farm.The Police/Military
Mr. & Mrs. Jones The drunk farmer that owned the farm before the animals took over. He dies with hopes to regain the farm but never does.Tsar Nicholas II and the Former Aristocracy
Mr. Whymper A capitalist that Napoleon hires to work deals with neighboring farms for him.Capitalism in the Soviet Union
Mr. Pilkington A landowner of a neighboring farm who sells Napoleon some land. In the end, he oddly cheers Napoleon's success, which seems fake!Leaders of England
Mr. Frederick Owner of Pinchfield Farm, who is notorious for "driving hard bargains", swindles Napoleon by buying timber from him with counterfeit bills. He later tries to take Animal Farm forcibly, but is unsuccessful.Leaders of Germany

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.

  1. Identify the major characters in Animal Farm and type their names into the title boxes on the left side of the chart.
  2. Choose a Storyboard That character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Identify the corresponding historical figures for each of the literary characters.
  5. Use Search at the top for appropriate images from Photos for Class to represent each historical figure.
  6. Fill in Textables for Characteristics, Beliefs/Ideals, and Alliances & Enemies for both literary characters and historical figures.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Character Map Template
Create a character map of the characters in the story. Put the character's name in the title boxes and choose a character and scene to represent each one. As you read, take notes on the characters by answering the questions.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Character Picture & Scene
The characters and scenes are both appropriate for the book's characters.
Many of the characters and scenes match the book's characters.
More than half of the characters and scenes do not match the characters in the book.
Accuracy of Notes
Most of the information of the notes is correct.
Many of the notes have correct information, but some are incorrect or missing.
Less than half of the information of the notes is correct and relevant.
Work is complete, thorough, and neat.
Most of the sections of the character map were at least attempted and work is presentable.
Character map is unfinished and/or disorganized.

How To Connect the Characters With Their Corresponding Historical Figures in Animal Farm


Research History

Encourage the students to read more about the main characters in the Russian Revolution and their backgrounds. For instance, the traits, personalities, and motivations of significant historical figures. This will give students some information prior to the analysis and make the comparisons easier.


Analyze Background of Characters

Identify the main characters and ask the students to analyze their traits and motivations. Ask the students what role each character is playing in the story and how their motivations are impacting other characters and the overall story.


Make a Venn Diagram

Ask the students to list all the characters from Animal Farm on one side and the historical figures they represent on the other side. Ask each student to pick one character and their corresponding historical figure to make a comparison. Students can assess the similarities and differences between these characters in the Venn Diagram.


Investigate Ideological Disparities

Compare and contrast the characters' philosophies and beliefs with those of their historical forebears. Think of Snowball's emphasis on education and Trotsky's support for a world revolution. Promote discussion on the basis of these philosophies and if they had any significant impact during the revolution.


Encourage Dialogue and Reflection

Guide the students to reflect on these connections and their significance. Encourage them to discuss how the allegory improves their comprehension of the book and historical events. Students can also compare the accuracy of these events in the story and if anything was influenced by the author’s own views.

Frequently Asked Questions About Animal Farm Characters

What is the significance of Napoleon as a character in the story?

One of the pigs that assumes leadership following the uprising is Napoleon. He is power-hungry, crafty, and ambitious. He gathers authority and takes over as de facto head of Animal Farm as the narrative goes on. Gradually, he becomes part of the problem he vowed to resolve and all the animals on the farm realize the irony of the situation.

What distinguishes Old Major from other characters in "Animal Farm"?

Old Major is a seasoned boar who is well-liked throughout the farm. He has a vision of a world without classes and is intelligent and well-spoken. With his discourse, he encourages the animals to rise up in opposition to human domination. He is the reason why Napoleon and Snowball started working for the revolution.

What role does Mr. Jones play in the story?

In the book, Mr. Jones is an abusive human farmer who stands in for the corrupt ruling elite. The animals rebel as a result of his carelessness and cruelty. In the end, the animals realize that despite all of their efforts, the pigs turned out to be exactly like Mr. Jones.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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