full title · Animal Farm: A Fairy Story
author · George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair)
type of work · Novella
genre · Dystopian animal fable; satire; allegory; political roman à clef (French for “novel with a key”—a thinly veiled exposé of factual persons or events)
language · English
time and place written · 1943–1944, in London
date of first publication · 1946
publisher · Harcourt Brace & Company
narrator · Animal Farm is the only work by Orwell in which the author does not appear conspicuously as a narrator or major character; it is the least overtly personal of all of his writings. The anonymous narrator of the story is almost a nonentity, notable for no individual idiosyncrasies or biases.
point of view · The story is told from the point of view of the common animals of Animal Farm, though it refers to them in the third person plural as “they.”
tone · For the most part, the tone of the novel is objective, stating external facts and rarely digressing into philosophical meditations. The mixture of this tone with the outrageous trajectory of the plot, however, steeps the story in an ever-mounting irony.
tense · Past
setting (time) · As is the case with most fables, Animal Farm is set in an unspecified time period and is largely free from historical references that would allow the reader to date the action precisely. It is fair to assume, however, that Orwell means the fable to be contemporaneous with the object of its satire, the Russian Revolution (1917–1945). It is important to remember that this period represented the recent past and present at the time of writing and that Orwell understands the significance of the story’s action to be immediate and ongoing rather than historical.
setting (place) · An imaginary farm in England
protagonist · There is no clear central character in the novel, but Napoleon, the dictatorial pig, is the figure who drives and ties together most of the action....
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