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Boxer's Quotes from Animal Farm

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  • 0:01 Introduction to Animal Farm
  • 0:57 Who Is Boxer?
  • 1:52 'I Will Work Harder'
  • 3:22 'Napoleon Is Always Right'
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Liz Breazeale
George Orwell's satire 'Animal Farm' has been read and enjoyed since its first publication in 1945. In this lesson, you will learn about one of the novel's main characters, Boxer, and then afterward, you can test yourself with a quiz.

Introduction to Animal Farm

George Orwell's Animal Farm was published in August 1945. It is a sharp satirical allegory of the Soviet Union's history of failed revolutions and Stalinism. A satirical allegory is a way of criticizing a particular set of ideas through concrete situations involving exaggeration or irony. Orwell was a loud critic of Joseph Stalin, then ruler of the Soviet Union, and his inhumane policies as demonstrated in this novella.

Animal Farm centers on exactly what you'd think, judging by the title: a farm run by animals. After revolting against their cruel, unjust master, the farmer, Mr. Jones, the animals - led by the more intelligent pigs - rename their new kingdom Animal Farm and decide to establish a new philosophy, which will dictate their running of the farm: Animalism. Under this idea, all animals are created equal. Of course, anyone who's studied history knows everything will not work out that way.

Who Is Boxer?

Animal Farm is populated by many memorable characters, but perhaps none is more tragic than Boxer the draft horse. Boxer is used by Mr. Jones to pull his plow and perform general farm chores. He's not very bright and is much too trusting of those in charge, and this eventually leads to his downfall. Boxer is nearly eighteen hands high (which translates to around six feet at the shoulders) and immensely strong. The other farm animals admire him for his brute strength, steady demeanor, and work ethic.

Boxer's two best friends are Clover, the other draft horse, who is only a little bit smarter than Boxer, and Benjamin, the grouchy donkey. After the animals overthrow Mr. Jones and kick him out of the farm, several of the animals learn to read. The pigs are the cleverest and learn quite easily, but Boxer only ever retains the first four letters of the alphabet. His true strength comes from physical exertion and activity.

''I Will Work Harder''

In the novella, Boxer will often be heard saying, 'I will work harder'. Boxer adopts this phrase as his personal mantra very early in the story. Although he's not the most intelligent animal on the farm, Boxer is without a doubt the hardest working resident of Animal Farm. This, combined with his amazing reserves of strength, make him unanimously respected. Whenever there's a problem, Boxer simply puts his head down and repeats: ''I will work harder.'' When more fields must be planted and plowed, when those grains must be harvested in order to gain revenue for the farm, Boxer works harder. When the windmill must be built and then rebuilt in order to bring electricity to the farm, Boxer works harder.

Soon after the animals take over, the quality of life on Animal Farm decreases for everyone except the pigs (smaller rations, longer workdays), and yet Boxer still works harder. He even wakes up earlier than everyone else; at first, he wakes up a half an hour earlier, and then forty-five minutes earlier. When the windmill must be rebuilt and new stone quarried, he wakes up a full hour earlier. Unfortunately, this way of doing things, which Boxer believes in deeply, only serves to further his decline and eventual death. The retirement age, at the outset of the novella, is set at twelve for horses. As the years pass, Boxer's strength wanes, but he nears retirement with a happy heart, pledging to work harder until that day comes. But Boxer is older and weakened by a hard life, and his strength finally gives out, yet he still mouths under his breath: ''I will work harder.''

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