Compare and contrast the personalities and roles of the three horses in George Orwell's Animal Farm?

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In George Orwell's Animal Farm, we have three prominent horses involved in the story.

The two most frequently mentioned are the cart-horses Boxer and Clover. These two horses represent a mature, hard-working couple. Neither Boxer, the male, nor Clover, the female, are very smart, but they are very...

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In George Orwell's Animal Farm, we have three prominent horses involved in the story.

The two most frequently mentioned are the cart-horses Boxer and Clover. These two horses represent a mature, hard-working couple. Neither Boxer, the male, nor Clover, the female, are very smart, but they are very loyal, as evidenced by one of his mottos "Comrade Napoleon is always right" Not only are these two horses loyal, but Boxer was "as strong as any two ordinary horses put together." Boxer's motto, when anything goes wrong, is "I will work harder!" Even when Boxer is wounded in battle, he will not take a day off of work. Boxer's death in Chapter 9 is a moving and troubling moment in the story.

After Boxer's death, Clover continues to pass on information about "the principles of Animalism" and is a respected teacher.

The third signifcant horse mentioned in Animal Farm is a young mare named Mollie. She is like a young, teenage girl who is only concerned about what she will eat and what her personal appearance is. She is also a poor worker and would often make some excuse to get out of doing work. She also refuses to learn any letters except the ones that spelled her own name. In Chapter IV, she is found hiding in the barn during the humans' attempt to recapture the farm. In Chapter V, it appears that Mollie has become a traitor to the animals. She soon afterwards disappears and was never mentioned mentioned again by the animals.

 

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The horses featured in Orwell's work are distinct in their own ways.  Each features a component that Orwell can see as being manipulated by those in the position of power.  Mollie's self interest and desire for more sugar is something that Orwell sees as being critical in undermining solidarity and valid demands for change.  Her scope of self interest is contrasted with the nature of Boxer, whose self sacrifice for the good of Napoleon or the state is astonishing.  Boxer's desire and compulsion to work tirelessly for his government is noteworthy, and Orwell feels that it is this authenticity that is easily manipulated.  When Napoleon makes the deal to send Boxer away, it is a sign that unlimited loyalty and blind faith are dangerous for the body politic to possess with leaders who are motivated by the consolidation of their own power.  It is this perception that Benjamin possesses.  Benjamin is skeptical of Napoleon's claims from the start and does not succumb to the vision being offered by the pigs.  However, Benjamin does little, if anything, about it.  His failure to act, no doubt cemented by his own cynicism, ends up emboldening the aggressors or the political system because it has no redemptive end.  That is to say the cynicism might help individuals understand the ulterior motives of government.  However, if individuals do not act upon this and do something about the state of affairs, having such brilliant insight is useless.  Benjamin understands what is going to happen to Boxer, but takes too long in being able to help his friend.  In the end, each horse possesses characteristics or qualities that might be good, but these composites have to be merged into larger elements in order for true and meaningful change to result.  If this does not happen, each separate personification can become an extension of political control, a puppet of those who are in the position of power.

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