Animal Farm – Character Analysis- Boxer the Horse

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Empathy can be defined as the ability to mentally and emotionally identify oneself with a person or object. When we read novels, we often find ourselves relating to certain characters due to their similar experiences and emotions. This allows us to better understand and empathize with them. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the character Boxer the horse evokes our empathy. We sympathize with Boxer as he is a kind-hearted individual who is taken advantage of by Napoleon, the pig who leads Animal Farm, and manipulated into unquestioningly following orders.

Boxer is used by Napoleon to be the main laborer in the construction of the windmill, without Boxer realizing he is being taken advantage of. Despite his simplicity and gullibility, Orwell portrays Boxer as an interesting and complex character, highlighting how leaders, whether conservative or revolutionary, exploit the working class for their own benefit. In Animal Farm, Boxer represents the mistreated and manipulated Russian working class.

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He is an example of an ideal disciple for leaders due to his gullibility, hardworking nature, and loyalty to superiors. The motto “Napoleon is always right” illustrates his dedication to Napoleon. Despite being older, Boxer is physically strong, hardworking, and determined, as shown by his quote “I will work harder”.

During the construction of the windmill, Boxer exhibits great dedication and frequently works late into the night for an hour or two while the other animals are asleep. Boxer consistently displays his traits of perseverance and eagerness, even in difficult times. A prime example of this is seen during the “Battle of the Windmill” when the windmill is destroyed by Frederick and his men from Pinchfield Farm. Despite sustaining severe injuries including bleeding knees, a split hoof, and multiple pellets deeply lodged in his hind leg, Boxer remains resilient.

Despite being injured and having their morale shattered, Boxer refused to take a day off and continued to work hard. His only remaining aspiration was to see the windmill in action before retiring. Another example of Boxer’s strong personality during difficult times was when he declared that he would work harder to overcome any faults among the animals, especially after witnessing the executions of those who had betrayed their comrades by supporting Snowball.

The responder realizes that the relationship between Boxer and Napoleon is clearly negative. This makes the responder sad and empathetic towards Boxer, who seems oblivious to his surroundings. The responder also feels slightly frustrated by Boxer’s lack of understanding. They strongly dislike Napoleon for easily controlling Boxer and making him do difficult and punishing work. It is clear that Boxer is loyal to his superiors and willing to complete any task given to him.

The pigs use their cunning ways to deceive Boxer and the other animals. Although the sheep and Boxer are easily convinced, the rest of the animals are aware of this manipulation. However, they are too frightened or cowardly to intervene out of fear of being accused of treachery and facing execution. Boxer forms a strong bond with Benjamin the donkey and Clover the female horse on the farm. They always stand by each other, as demonstrated when Boxer becomes weak and fragile after being wounded in the “Battle of the Windmill.”

Clover tends to Boxer’s split hoof by applying herbal poultices every night, while Benjamin provides comfort and encourages him to reduce his workload due to his advancing age. Boxer eagerly awaits the day when he and Benjamin can retire and enjoy their remaining days together in a special paddock designated for resting elderly animals. This modest aspiration, combined with the awareness that it will never become reality, evokes sympathy for Boxer.

Boxer goes through a series of distressing encounters in the novel, showcasing his usual bravery and perseverance. One notable incident occurred during the “Battle of the Cowshed,” during which Mr. Jones and his men, along with several individuals from Pinchfield and Foxwood, initiated a conflict with the animals. Amidst the intense battle, Boxer unintentionally killed a stable-lad from Foxwood by trampling him on the head, leaving him dead in the mud. After the battle concluded, Boxer fully comprehended the magnitude of his actions and was consumed by sorrow.

Boxer expressed his remorse to Snowball, saying, “I have no wish to take life, not even human life.” This statement perfectly captured Boxer’s kind-hearted nature and his concern for others. Another significant moment for Boxer was when the animals who supported Snowball were executed. Witnessing this left Boxer feeling guilty, and his response was to increase his work ethic by waking up an hour earlier each morning.

Orwell uses language skillfully to shape the responder’s perception of Boxer in the story. A painful moment occurs when, despite his hard work and loyalty to Napoleon, Boxer becomes weak and ill due to his old age and exertions. When he is no longer useful to the farm, the pigs order him to be taken away in a horse slaughterer van and brought to a knacker’s yard, where he will be boiled and turned into glue. Orwell presents Boxer as a horse who is simple but decent, honest, hardworking, and loyal.

The initial portrayal of Boxer suggests that he lacks intelligence, but Orwell later reveals that he is highly regarded for his dependable nature and strong work ethic. In his speech, Boxer speaks in straightforward language and uses plain sentences, reflecting his uncomplicated personality. For instance, he frequently resorts to the phrase “I will work harder” as a solution to any problem, regardless of its suitability.

When reading Animal Farm, I initially felt frustrated with Boxer for being easily manipulated and exploited by the pigs. However, Boxer represents the oppressed and vulnerable in society, those who struggle to achieve justice and equality. This evoked feelings of sympathy and empathy, and I became emotionally attached to the fictional character of Boxer.

The portrayal of Boxer as a simple and kind character who suffers due to his own good nature is distressing. Overall, in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Boxer is a character who evokes empathy and understanding from the reader because of his unfortunate experiences. Additionally, despite being blindly manipulated and mistreated by his leader Napoleon, Boxer remained loyal throughout.

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Animal Farm – Character Analysis- Boxer the Horse. (2017, Mar 20). Retrieved from

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