Analysis of the role of Boxer in Animal Farm
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Animal Farm Coursework Analysis of the role of Boxer in Animal Farm Orwell's Animal Farm is an allegory of the situation in Russia during the communist years and a satire of the political situation at that time. The story is about political ideals and what can happen to them, as well as what happens to ordinary people when other people have power over them, and what happens to people when they get complete power over others as shown in the behaviour of the pigs. Orwell chose to create a character that would represent the common people of Russia at the time of the Revolution. This character was Boxer, who not only represented the Russian peasant, but also the idealized worker, someone ordinary, decent and totally necessary to the success of any social system. He is the type of person who in a revolution, is inevitably exploited and it is this that comes through in the story. Boxer's name suggests a strong but stupid animal, which proved to be true, as he was unable to read or write: "Boxer could not get beyond the letter D" because of his short memory. Orwell points this out to the reader to warn him of the danger of illiteracy in a society. Despite this lack of intelligence, however, Boxer plays a very important role in the success of the farm. Many things would not have been accomplished, such as the building of the windmills or the general farm work, had it not been for Boxer.
Orwell shows us this change in Boxer's nature so that we might see how much influence the pigs have had on his character, as well as the way in which work has blunted his sensitivity to his surroundings and to others. Also the fact that Boxer looked to Napoleon to instruct him at this point shows the extent that he will go to if asked by Napoleon, but he doesn't realise that he himself is a target. Also, at this point, Orwell is revealing the potential power of Boxer, which was shown to us earlier in the book before democracy had ended, in the Battle of Cowshed. Boxer's might is shown to us for an instant when he disagrees with Snowball and kicks over the man. The importance of education is revealed to us in this moment, for if only Boxer could read he would be a formidable opposition to Napoleon, unfortunately though his memory lets him down time and again. Boxer's relationship with Benjamin is that of a silent friendship: "the two of them usually spent their Sundays together in the small paddock beyond the orchard, grazing side by side and never speaking". Their devotion to each other never wavered. Boxer had the same affection for him at his death, as he did at the beginning of the story. But the difference in their natures is obvious. Boxer is trusting and believes in others and up to the executions he even believes in the morality of the other animals.
the windmill, however, had not after all been used for generating electrical power. It was used for milling corn, and brought in a handsome profit ... but the luxuries of which Snowball had once taught the animals to dream ... were no longer talked about ... the truest happiness, he (Napoleon) said, lay in working hard and living frugally". Boxer had lived his life for a lie. His life was used against the animals rather than for them as he had always thought. In conclusion, Orwell uses Boxer's character to illustrate the reality, the harshness of the life of the Russian peasant. No only this, but their determination and their overwhelming sense of loyalty to the Russian Revolution and to their leaders. This is the allegory's underlying meaning of the character's role. Orwell's overall purpose in his treatment of the character of Boxer is to firstly arouse the reader's sympathies for him by making him strong, honest, loyal and devoted to the cause of Animalism. Although he is not very clever and it irritates the reader that he simply accepts everything the pigs tell him without question, we become attached to his character. Secondly, Orwell cleverly converts the reader's feelings of affection for Boxer into anger against the pigs, and the injustice that they personify, by the way in which they so cruelly dispose of him. It is for these to reasons that Boxer is vital to the structure of the reader's sympathies in the story. This is what makes him such an important character. Faye Laver 1
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