In Animal Farm, what does the Battle of the Cowshed show us about Snowball, Boxer, and Mollie?

Their characterizations during the Battle of the Cowshed show different things about Snowball, Boxer and Molly respectively. In Snowball's case, his depiction shows both his courage and generalship, as well as his pragmatism. Meanwhile, Boxer shows both his physical strength as well as his gentle nature, while Molly, in fleeing the battle, reveals her overall detachment from the Rebellion and its principles.

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Both during the battle and also before it, Snowball shows his capabilities as a military leader, strengths which extend beyond his battlefield exploits into the areas of preparation and erudition. This we see in his studies of Julius Caesar. In these preparations, we also get a sense of pragmatism on Snowball's part, given Snowball's willingness to learn from human example regardless of Animalism's hostility towards the human species. During the battle itself, he shows his courage and fortitude, leading the animals to victory even as he is wounded in the battle.

While Boxer shows his strength (being the strongest of the animals on the farm), he also reveals his kindly and well-meaning nature. During the battle, Boxer believes he has killed one of the humans, an act which causes him sorrow. This attitude is in stark contrast with Snowball's own ruthless and militaristic pragmatism. While the other animals are celebrating their victory, Boxer is concerned with the life he thinks he has ended.

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on April 22, 2020