Animal Farm is an excellent selection for junior high students to study. Although on one level the novel is an allegory of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the story is just as important in almost any time frame if the basic ideas of greed and lust for power are examined. Young people should be able to recognize similarities between the animal leaders and world leaders today. The novel also demonstrates how language can be used to control minds by a technique known as persuasion. Persuasion is used by people of all ages and backgrounds to obtain what they want, sometimes on a personal level and many times in a politically motivated one. Who better to persuade us of what we want then the politicians.  Teenagers should be interested in exploring how language can control thought and behavior because they often are the target of persuasion by advertisers, peers, parents, and even the educational system itself.

Animal Farm is easy to read and can be read in six lessons, four of the six comprising of two chapters each, and the other two lessons being devoted to a single chapter. The book is not long and contains a challenging vocabulary. The incidents in the novel provide opportunities for students to look at current and past events to discover the same motivation of humans no matter where and when they lived. The book can be taught in conjunction with the history department as an allegory of the Russian Revolution, but if not prefaced properly, can take away from reading the book. The emphasis is on the timelessness of the books theme.

Animal Farm is a book that compels the readers to consider the forces of peer pressure. Peer pressure is extremely important in teenagers’ lives. When the pigs use skillful peer pressure techniques (along with the threat of death) to keep the other animals in line, students may question whether they are allowing peer pressure to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be doing, like smoking or using drugs and alcohol. Peer pressure is an important factor to explore.