Re-Animalizing Animal Farm

Challenging the “Anthropo-Allegorical” in Literary and Pedagogical Discourse and Practice




animals and literature, animals and education, the anthropo-allegorical, pedagogy, animals in fiction, Orwell, Animal Farm, literary animal studies


Interpretations of George Orwell’s Animal Farm have been almost exclusively focused on anthropocentric allegory in the text and what I call the anthropo-allegorical interpretive frame. Given Animal Farm’s iconic and enduring status in English classrooms, I unpack this process, particularly how it is informed and perpetuated by the persistence of human exceptionalism rooted in the humanist literary tradition, and hegemonic approaches to education. I employ Derridean deconstruction to critique the humanist and educational legacies that inform the largely homogenized and de-animalized interpretation and pedagogical applications of Animal Farm. Then I argue for a new, hybridized reading — and teaching — that moves beyond the anthropocentric and toward a more-than-human interpretive and pedagogical orientation that speaks to the oppressions and challenges confronting multiple species, including, but not confined, to our own.


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Author Biography

John Drew, King's University College at Western University

John Drew is an assistant professor in the Department of English, French, and Writing at King’s University College at Western University on the traditional and treaty lands of the Anishnaabek, Haudenosaunee, Chonnonton, and Lūnaapéewak Peoples. He is an award-winning researcher whose work focuses on animals and nature in literature and film, multispecies empathy and justice, environmental education, and writing and social change within the climate emergency.

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How to Cite

Drew, John. 2022. “Re-Animalizing Animal Farm: Challenging the ‘Anthropo-Allegorical’ in Literary and Pedagogical Discourse and Practice”. Humanimalia 13 (1):163–201.