How did the pigs use Boxer's death to get to the animals in Animal Farm?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the end, the animals realize the painful truth about Boxer's death.  Essentially, given Boxer's strength, his loyalty to the pigs and all of the animals, and his work ethic, the animals sadly realize that if the pigs could get rid of him, they have no hope.  If Boxer is met with an end that represents how the pigs use and discard animals, then they realize that their hopes of being saves or spared are futile.  Given everything else they had experienced, Boxer's death represents the last straw of hop,e and when that is gone, the animals forfeit any chance of rebellion or seeking better treatment.  For their part, the pigs use Boxer's death as an example of the extent of their power.  The story they tell is one whereby the animals learn of the care Boxer received and then of his death.  Yet, the animals know that the pigs arranged for his death and with this, the all encompassing power of the pigs becomes apparent and evident.  In this, the pigs are able to gain a great deal of power and unquestioned control over the animals.