Last Updated on November 29, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 585
Extended Boxer Character Analysis
In George Orwell's allegory for the Russian Revolution, Boxer represents the Soviet Union's working class. Boxer is a large working horse. Boxer is not clever, but he is able to make up for this lack with a steady character and strong work ethic. His main mantra is “I will work harder.” He is considered one of the pigs’ most faithful followers.
When the humans are forced off the farm, Boxer becomes the hardest and most devoted worker out of all the animals, who admire his dedication. Despite his great muscles and physical prowess, Boxer is unable to learn more than four letters of the alphabet. This portrays Boxer as a worker with simple needs and faith. At The Battle of Cowshed, when the humans come to try to retake Manor Farm, Boxer is a great help. He is a fearful presence on the battlefield, and at one point he even kicks a man in the head, knocking him out. After the battle ends, Boxer expresses great sadness over hurting the man, believing that he has killed him. Snowball tries to convince Boxer that “war is war,” but Boxer says that he never meant to kill anyone, even a human. Here, Boxer is representative of the general innocence of the followers of Old Major's Animalism. He follows and is devoted, but he wishes no harm to anyone. This shows Boxer’s innocent and caring side, which cannot follow in the impassioned and highly politicized path of the pigs.
Later, when Napoleon takes over the farm, Boxer continues to be loyal. He never ceases to work hard, even in the face of hunger and horrible weather. He adopts another mantra, “Napoleon is always right,” which many of the other animals on the farm agree with. Boxer is a source of hope for all the animals throughout most of the novel.
When Squealer announces to the animals that Snowball was in league with Mr. Jones and the humans all along, Boxer speaks up. He refuses to believe that Snowball would have been in league with the humans, because of his heroic actions during The Battle of the Cowshed. Boxer’s mind is only changed when Squealer says it is Napoleon’s direct knowledge that Snowball is a traitor. Boxer then reverts to his mantra “Napoleon is always right.” However, Boxer remains troubled, particularly when Napoleon executes several of the farm animals for their alleged involvement with Snowball. He cannot understand why the animals have come to this point but claims “it must be due to some fault within ourselves.” Boxer tries to solve this fault by working even harder for the farm. However, his labor cannot fix Napoleon’s dictatorial nature, and Boxer’s efforts are largely fruitless.
When the neighboring Pinchfield farm attacks, Boxer fights bravely against Mr. Frederick and his men but is injured. Because of his injuries, specifically his split hoof, Boxer becomes lame and is no longer able to work. Boxer looks forward to retirement, but is betrayed by Napoleon, who sends him to a butcher and glue-maker instead of a doctor. When Boxer is taken away, Benjamin is the only one to notice that the van says “Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler,” on the side. Benjamin, who has never been active or excited, rouses the animals in a panic. The animals chase after Boxer in fear, telling him to escape, but Boxer is unable to. Later, Squealer convinces the animals that Boxer was taken to a doctor and died peacefully.
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