Boxer in Animal Farm: Character, Allegory & Analysis

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  • 0:02 Be Careful Who You Trust
  • 0:20 Boxer Is an Asset
  • 1:20 Boxer's Health Declines
  • 2:48 Analysis & Proletariat…
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Boxer, from the George Orwell's famous novel 'Animal Farm,' is an extremely hardworking character who's taken advantage of because he's too trusting and doesn't think for himself.

Be Careful Who You Trust

Have you ever placed your trust in someone only to be taken advantage of? In Animal Farm by George Orwell, Boxer the horse is of high moral character, but his downfall is that he trusts Napoleon, the dictator of the farm. Let's learn more about Boxer.

Boxer Is an Asset

Boxer is the backbone of the farm. He is strong, hard working, and loyal. Although he's not very smart and lets the pigs do his thinking for him, he learns from them and is able to share the pigs' beliefs with the other animals. Everyone looks up to Boxer because of his hard work and willingness to sacrifice his sleep and leisure time to volunteer at the windmill. Never feeling discouraged, his response to every problem is, 'I will work harder!' or 'Napoleon is always right.'

In battle, Boxer proves to be a great asset to the animals due to his strength. However, his conscience prevents him from feeling proud. 'I have no wish to take life, not even human life.' As such an industrious and dependable member of the farm community, the other animals are shocked when at a meeting, three of Napoleon's attack dogs came after Boxer. Boxer is easily able to thwart them and isn't injured. Despite what seems obvious to the reader, Boxer continues to trust Napoleon even after the attack.

Boxer's Health Declines

During The Battle of Windmill, Boxer's hoof is injured, but he doesn't let up on his work and never shows the other animals that he's in pain. Boxer's friends, Clover and Benjamin, worry that Boxer is working too hard, but he doesn't listen to them and just pushes himself to work harder. 'He had, he said, only one real ambition left -- to see the windmill well under way before he reached the age for retirement.' After all, Boxer is nearing his twelfth birthday at which time he will begin to receive his pension.

However, Boxer doesn't manage to make it to his birthday before he collapses on the job. 'There lay Boxer, between the shafts of the cart, his neck stretched out, unable even to raise his head. His eyes were glazed, his sides matted with sweat. A thin stream of blood had trickled out of his mouth.' For the next couple of days, Boxer recovers in his stall and dreams of starting an early retirement. He decides that he'll spend his time learning the rest of the alphabet.

Squealer, who handles the spread of propaganda for Napoleon's benefit, claims that Napoleon is making arrangements for Boxer to be treated at a veterinary hospital in town, but when a horse trailer shows up to get Boxer, the side of the truck reads, 'Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied.' With the money that Napoleon earns from selling Boxer, Napoleon orders whiskey and has a party with the pigs and dogs.

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