Term Paper, 2016
2 Plot summary
3 Characterization of Boxer
3.1 Outward appearance
3.2 Social relationships
3.3 Character traits, action and behavior
3.4 Social status
The following work is going to provide a characterization of the fictional character “Boxer”, one of the main figures of the novel “Animal Farm” written by George Orwell and published in 1945. In order to give some background knowledge, the paper will deliver an overview regarding the content of the book. Following that summary, the character “Boxer” will be analyzed in terms of a characterization. This will be carried out by following the common rules of characterizing a fictional character beginning with the description of Boxer’s outward appearance, meaning its looks, continuing the relationships between Boxer and other characters in the novel before getting to his various and key character traits including his ways of behavior as well as his social status. A conclusion is going to sum up the findings gained in this paper.
The novel “Animal Farm” written by George Orwell illustrates a farm full of animals who soon begin to revolt against their owner Mr. Jones, a drunken farmer. After having chased them away, they start taking care of the daily life on the farm themselves. As things develop, it comes to a brutal clash between the farm owners and the farm animals resulting in Boxer, the strongest horse on the farm, being severely injured. Soon Napoleon, a well-built grey-colored pig, starts seizing power and establishing a dictatorship backed by his entourage of pigs and protected by dogs.
Mr. Jones, an owner of a farm is confronted with hard times concerning the fruits of his farm, resulting in him becoming an everyday drunk and treating his farm animals very badly. Right before his death Old Major, an elderly pig as well as the most respected and wisest animal on the farm, gives a speech after having gathered the farm animals during which he makes them more conscious of the unfair treatment on the farm by their products being taken as well as their dystopian future and incites them to a rebellion. At the same time he reminds the animals of their equality regardless of their nature and warns them to not apply Mr. Jones devices after having gained the power over the farm. By singing a revolutionary hymn, the bond between the various animals of the farm tightens even more.
Soon, the animals unite and revolt against their owner by seizing the hidden food supplies and chasing Mr. Jones away. Subsequently, Snowball – a white and smart pig – takes over the lead and starts giving orders to establish a kind of order and preparing the farm for a counterattack of Mr. Jones and other farmers. Having organized themselves properly, the unification of the animals chases away the group of assaulting farmers successfully. Following that, all the farm devices are thrown away or burnt during a bonfire while singing the revolutionary hymn they had already sung before. Then they enter Mr. Jones’s house for the first time and destroy a number of items before locking the entrance to the house.
Snowball puts an effort in establishing a new society called “The Animal Farm” beginning by writing down universal rules including “No Animal shall sleep in a bed”, “No Animal shall drink alcohol”, “Four legs good, two legs bad”, “No Animal shall kill another animal” and “All Animals are equal”. Meanwhile, Napoleon secretly hides some puppies in a shed. Also, while Snowball manages to build a working system, in which different animals have to do different tasks, Napoleon and his constant companion, Squealer, begin abusing the system and neglecting their tasks.
The animal society begins evolving by starting to educate the animals while smart Snowball convinces the animals of his plan to build a windmill to provide electricity and heating for the farm. Although Napoleon clearly thinks of the idea as being non-sense, he later declares Snowball’s plans of a building a windmill his own and himself as the new leader. Slowly but steadily, Napoleon begins changing the original rules of the society, his pig followers enter and occupy the locked house. While the rest of the animals start the hard work of dragging rocks for constructing the windmill, Napoleon initiates business relations with the humans in order to get things the farm is not able to produce. Even though the animals realize the slow changes in the rules, Squealer keeps calming them down by whitewashing them and distracting them of the happenings. A typical example of a huge change of rules is that the hens are forced to contribute their eggs for sale to a merchant in return for money to buy grain and meal. Although the hens try to defend themselves by an upheaval, their rebellion is brought down quickly and violently by Napoleon, his pig followers and his “order establishing” wild dogs.
Having realized Snowball’s popularity among the animals, Squealer announces on behalf of Napoleon that Snowball has been in cahoots with Mr. Jones all along involving stealing milk and corn, breaking eggs as well as destroying the windmill. Even if Boxer doubts Squealers statement, he gives in and acknowledges the message after Squealer explicitly tells him Napoleon himself had said that. A trial is held by Napoleon resulting in various animals confessing misbehavior of different severity after which all of them are slaughtered on-site. Also, the revolutionary hymn is forbidden under the penalty of death and replaced by an oath under the “Animal Farm”.
In the meanwhile, Napoleon keeps strengthening his power and enjoying a lavish life of eating and giving orders. Once again, the farmers reunite to crush the ruling animals on the farm. Having been injured during the combat, Boxer’s health continues becoming worse and worse before he is taken away in the van by a horse slaughterer. While Napoleon and his pig followers keep on celebrating themselves in their own society, on one day Clover, a mare, and Benjamin, a donkey, catch sight of Squeaker walking on two feet and recognize that the commandment “All animals are equal” is supplemented by “But some animals are more equal than others”.
Finally, Clover and Benjamin witness Napoleon and a group of other pigs sitting on a table with a group of farmers in Mr. Jones’s house toasting to the prosperity of the farm after which Napoleon reveals major changes of achievements the animals had accomplished such as the abolition of the mutual addressing as “Comrade”, the removal of Old Major’s skull nailed on pillar and the renaming of the “Animal Farm” into “Manor Farm”, its original title during Mr. Jones’s times.
Boxer is depicted as a huge horse, nearly eighteen hands high and extremely strong, emphasized by the simile and hyperbole “…as strong as two ordinary horses put together”. Besides, his hooves are hairy (cf. p. 1). In a different part of the novel, he is depicted as a horse with enormous muscles (cf. p. 11). In addition, his looks is characterized by a typical white stripe on the middle of his face giving him a kind of “stupid appearance” (cf. p. 1). Boxer’s legs and hooves are so strong that he is able to break three of the farmer’s heads during a fight (cf. p. 40).
As a consequence of his serious hoof injury and his aging, he is starting to lose muscle power even if he maintains his strong will of labor (cf. p. 40). His hide begins losing its shine and his launches start shrinking. By the time, he is gaining no fat anymore (cf. p. 45). When he is taken away, he is about least twelve years old (cf. p. 46).
The first hint for any kind of relationship between the horse and another animal is indicated by Old Major addressing Boxer right at the beginning of his speech which can be interpreted as the significant amount of respect and appreciation that Old Major has for the powerful horse (cf. p. 3).
In general, Boxer seems to maintain a caring and loyal relationship to the entirety of the group on the farm as he for example lies down very cautiously on the ground in the farm in order to prevent doing any harm to smaller animals that might have been covered by straw lying on the floor of the shed when Old Major is going to start his speech at the beginning of the story (cf. p. 2). At the same time his appreciative attitude and commitment towards his fellow animals becomes visible when he and Clover, a mare, make the voluntary decision to dedicate themselves on the cutter or the horse-rake (cf. p. 11). The farm animals, on the other hand, respect Boxer a lot for his superb work ethic as well as the stability of his character (cf. p. 1). He is literally the admiration of everybody (cf. p. 11). But also that fact that the animals follow his leading in singing their hymn “Beasts of England” without any hesitation underlines the upmost respectful attitude towards the strong horse on the part of the animals (cf. p. 7). At last, awarding the military decoration of “Animal Hero, First Class” to Boxer on the part of all the animals on the farm after resisting successfully the farmers’ first attack against the animals proves the high esteem the animals hold for Boxer (cf. p. 17).
There seems to be a kind of camaraderie between the two cart-horses, Boxer and Clover, since it is mentioned they enter the first meeting held by Old Major in the barn together (cf. p. 1), both decide to take care of the cutting (cf. p. 11) and pull a kind of hearse later in the story (cf. p. 40). Even if it cannot be assumed sufficiently that there is a more intimate relationship between the two horses, Clover certainly cares for Boxer as a friend which becomes clear when she cautions him not to overwork himself (cf. p. 25), lies down by his side when he has become physically weak, engages in getting Boxer some kind of help by reaching out to Squealer, prepares a comfortable place to lie down in his stall and provides him with medicine (cf. p. 46).
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