Clover in Animal Farm: Character, Allegory & Analysis

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  • 0:04 Clover: Maternal & Suspicious
  • 1:28 Helpless & Well-Respected
  • 3:00 Clover as a Symbol
  • 4:10 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.

In this lesson, we will learn more about the maternal work horse, Clover, from 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell, including her use as a symbol for the working class.

Clover: Maternal & Suspicious

Have you ever set your sights on something just to be disappointed that it wasn't what you thought it would be? Clover, the horse, is hopeful that Rebellion from Man will be the answer to all the farm animals' problems, but soon this working mother begins to see that it wasn't the solution she had hoped for. Let's learn more about Clover in George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Clover is a horse, and Boxer's companion. She is described as 'a stout motherly mare approaching middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal.' Being the most maternal of the animals, she is the one who cares for the ducklings who lost their mother during Old Major's meeting.

Clover is not very smart. She learns the letters of the alphabet, but has been unable to learn to read. Like Boxer, she rarely thinks for herself and believes whatever the pigs tell her at first.

When she notices that Mollie, the beautiful white mare, has been fraternizing with a Man on a neighboring farm, she confronts her, but doesn't tell the others. Clover worries over all of the animals, but especially Boxer because he works so hard.

When the pigs begin changing the Seven Commandments, Clover suspects that something is amiss, but since she is unable to read, she isn't sure. Frequently, Muriel, the sheep, reads for her and she accepts the changes as if they have always been there.

Helpless & Well-Respected

Once Snowball is exiled and animals start being publicly executed, Clover's 'eyes filled with tears.' She knows that the plans to overthrow Man were not for this. She remembers her mental picture of 'a society of animals set free from hunger and the whip, all equal, each working according to his capacity, the strong protecting the weak, as she had protected the lost brood of ducklings with her foreleg on the night of Major's speech.'

Somehow, the farm has become a fearful place filled with violence. As sad as she is about what has happened to the farm, she knows that no matter what, she will 'remain faithful, work hard, carry out the orders that were given to her, and accept the leadership of Napoleon.'

After Boxer is hurt in the Battle of the Windmill, Clover takes care of him and tries to get him to slow down, but he refuses. Eventually, he collapses on the job. For the next two days, Clover stays by his side outside of work hours and tries to medicate him back to health. When the horse slaughterer comes to get Boxer, she chases after him and tries to get him to escape, but is unable to save him.

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