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I will work harder!
~ Boxer's famous quote.

Boxer is the protagonist of the 1945 novel, Animal Farm. He also serves as the deuteragonist of the 1954 film adaptation and the 1999 film adaptation. He is described as the farm's most dedicated and loyal laborer. Boxer serves as an allegory for the Russian working-class who helped to out the Tsar Nicholas and establish the Soviet Union, but were eventually betrayed by the Stalinists.

Boxer is also caring and looks out for the other animals for example when they are hungry he makes sure somehow they get food. Boxer has various mottos right through from the beginning of the story that are defining to his personality, such as: "I will work harder." and "Napoleon is always right." This accurately represents his loyal characteristic.

Boxer fights in the Battle of the Cowshed and the Battle of the Windmill, but is upset when he thinks he has "killed" a stable boy when, in fact, he had only stunned him. When Boxer defends Snowball's reputation from Squealer's revisionism, the pigs designate him as a target for the Great Purge, but he easily out muscles the dog executioners, sparing them at Napoleon's request. His death shows how far the pigs are willing to go. When he collapses from overwork, the pigs say they have sent him to a veterinarian, when they sent him to the knacker's yard to be slaughtered, in exchange for money to buy a case of whiskey for the pigs. A strong and loyal draft horse, Boxer plays a huge part in keeping the Farm together prior to his death, and was the only close friend of Benjamin, the cynical donkey.

Throughout Old Major's speech, which inspired the principles of Animalism, a specific reference is made to how Boxer would be turned into glue under Farmer Jones' rule, thus implying that it would not happen to him under Animalism. "You, Boxer, the very day that those great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones will send you to the knacker, he will cut your throat and boil you down for the fox-hounds." Boxer is a bit dim-witted and can only remember four letters of the alphabet at a time. Boxer is a loyal supporter of Napoleon; he listens to everything the self-appointed ruler of the farm says and assumes, sometimes with doubt, that everything Napoleon tells the farm animals is true: "Napoleon is always right." He has been described as "faithful and strong"; he believes any problem can be solved if he works harder.

Boxer is voiced by the late Maurice Denham in the 1954 film adaptation, who also voiced all the other characters in the adaptation and is one of the actors who has portrayed Inspector Japp from the Hercule Poirot series. In the 1999 film adaptation, Boxer is voiced by the late Paul Scofield.

Biography

Foundation of Animalism and the Rebellion

Boxer is a cart-horse owned by Farmer Jones in Manor Farm. In April, Boxer was with Clover during the meeting with Old Major. Old Major talked with the animals about his epiphany about the animals rebelling against the humans to form an independent community from the humans and a government named "Animalism" in which the animals would not do anything that is human-like. During his meeting, when mentioning what Jones is going to be doing with animals given some years, he says that Jones will send Boxer to the knackers once Boxer's strength gives out.

After Old Major's peaceful death three nights later, the pigs spent the next three months working on the ideology of Animalism, with Boxer and Clover being the most faithful disciples. They would listen to everything the pigs said and tell them to the other animals. They were never absent in any of the meetings and led the singing of their anthem, "Beasts of England", at the end of each anthem.

On June 24, after Jones neglects to feed and water the animals for days, the animals break into the barn and start eating the food. After Jones and his men start trying to whip, they are met with being kicked and stomped by the animals, forcing them to be run out of their farm. The animals renamed the farm Animal Farm and various items that were used to keep the animals hostage and other human markings were either thrown down a well or burned. Among the items burned were horse ribbons and Boxer's straw hat. The barn that the humans resided in was preserved as an artifact of the humans who resided in it.

Boxer and Clover helped harness the cutters and horse rakes. Boxer was admired by many of the animals because of his strength. Boxer's motto to every problem was "I will work harder." Boxer's strength and the cleverness of the pigs would help with harvesting the corn later in the year. The pigs later teaches the animals how to read and spell. Boxer was only able to learn the first four letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, and D. When he did learn E, F, G, and H; he would forget about the first four letters. He decided to just be content with the first four letters and would write them on the dirt occasionally in order to refresh his memory. Most of the other animals could not learn past the letter A.

The Battle of the Cowshed

On October 16, A group of humans, led by Jones, attacked Animal Farm using guns. The animals retaliated and attacked the humans through kicking and biting them.

The most terrifying spectacle was when Boxer kicked a man from Foxwood farm with iron-shoes, knocking the man unconscious. After the humans retreated, Boxer looks at the man he kicked. Boxer believes that he killed him and expresses remorse and sorrow.

The animals look for a dimwitted horse named Mollie and find her in hiding. She had gone hiding after hearing a gunshot. The man wakes up during this time and runs away from Animal Farm. Boxer and a pig named Snowball who is one of the leaders are awarded with a military decoration named "Animal Farm, First Class".

Napoleon's Takeover and the Windmill

The animals worked and toiled throughout the winter. Snowball proposes building a windmill in order to help the animals with their work. However, the other leader named Napoleon disagrees with Snowball's ideas. However, Snowball manages to win over the other animals. Nine hunter dogs suddenly appear and chase Snowball out of the farm.

The dogs turn out to be the puppies that Napoleon took away from Jessie and Bluebell. Napoleon announces that he will be taking over Animal Farm and all problems will be discussed by the pigs in private. This sends shock to the animals, including Boxer who didn't know what to say. Napoleon's spokesman, Squealer, claims that Napoleon will be a great leader and Snowball was nothing more than a criminal because he wasn't loyal. The animals were reassured and Boxer adopted the maxim, "Napoleon is always right."

On third Sunday following Snowball's exile, Squealer reveals that Napoleon was only pretending to be against the windmill to run Snowball out. For the next spring and summer, the animals worked 60 hour weeks in order to build the windmill. In order to build it, the animals had to drag a boulder across a quarry and push it over the edge in order to break it. Because Boxer's strength was equal to all the other animals combined, he managed to be of most help with the boulders. He was always warned by Clover about overexerting himself, but Boxer always retorts it.

Destruction of the windmill and Napoleon's propaganda

By the autumn, the windmill was half complete and the animals were happy about it. After the harvest, they toiled on the windmill harder than before to build it another foot high. Boxer would come out at night and work for an hour or two alone. I November, raging winds forced the animals to stop working on the windmill. The windmill eventually collapsed due to a lightning storm. Napoleon falsely places the blame on Snowball.

Throughout the winter, the animals worked on rebuilding the windmill. The only animals who never lost heart were Boxer and Clover. In spring, further lies were spread about Snowball, with him being rumored with frequenting Animal Farm at night to terrorize the farm. Eventually, Squealer declared that Snowball sold himself to Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield Farm and that Snowball was in league with Jones the entire time. This puzzles the animals. Boxer points out that Snowball was wounded in the Battle of the Cowshed. Squealer retorts it, saying it was all an act. He manages to persuade Boxer by pointing out that Napoleon believes this to be true.

Four days later, Napoleon holds a meeting. The dogs seize four of the pigs by the ear. They go mad after tasting blood and three of them launch towards Boxer. Boxer catches one of them and ponders whether he should kill it; looking at Napoleon for orders. Napoleon orders him to let the dog go, which Boxer does. The pigs confess to working with Snowball and they are killed by the dogs. Following this, other animals confess with working with Snowball and they are all killed by the dogs. Afterwards, all the animals are shaken by this. Boxer is devastated and decides to get up a full hour early as his solution to any future occurrence of that sort.

The Battle of the Windmill and Boxer's death

The animals continued to work on the windmill, this time making the walls twice as thick. Napoleon was having a complicated matters with two other humans, Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood Farm and Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield Farm. Napoleon was seemingly settling on selling timber to Mr. Pilkington, who spread horrific tales of Mr. Frederick's actions towards his animals. The windmill structure was finished by autumn. Napoleon decided to sell the timber to Mr. Frederick, with Mr. Pilkington getting vilified by the animals.

Mr. Frederick got the timber from Napoleon and paid them in banknotes, which Boxer sniffed when they passed by him. Four days later, it was revealed that the banknotes were forgeries. Napoleon declares the death sentence on Mr. Frederick. The next morning, Mr. Frederick and his men blow up their windmill. The animals retaliated and a bloody and violent battle ensued. In the battle, Boxer broke three of the men's heads by kicking them. By the end of the battle, the animals won, but they everyone was wounded. Boxer was bleeding from his knee, lost a horseshoe, had a split hoof, and pellets lodged into his hind leg.

Squealer celebrates this as a victory because they had won back their land. Boxer braces himself for the work needed to rebuild the windmill again. Boxer realizes for the first time that his muscles weren't what they used to be. A funeral was held for the casualties of the battle. Boxer and Clover pulled a wagon that acted as a hearse for the dead animals. Despite his split hoof taking a long time to heal, Boxer made it a point in honor not to let the animals see that he is injured and refused to take a day off of work.

Clover and Benjamin tried to convince Boxer not to work as hard as he is doing, but Boxer refused to listen. Retirement for animals after a certain age is discussed among the pigs. By April, Animal Farm was declared a republic and Napoleon was elected as president. Boxer's hoof eventually healed up and Boxer started working harder than ever. Boxer never faltered even during the hours of insufficient food. One summer evening, Boxer is carrying a load of stone when his lung bursts. He collapses onto the ground and cannot get up.

Arrangements are made to take Boxer to the hospital. After Boxer recovers a half hour later, he is taken to straw bed where he rests for two nights, with food administered to him by Clover. Boxer is eventually hauled off by a van. However, Benjamin reads the writing on the van and the animals realize that Boxer is being carried off to the knacks. Clover tries to warn Boxer. However, by the time Boxer realizes that he will be meeting his death in the knacks, it is too late and he cannot escape.

Legacy

Boxer's death was falsified by Squealer, who gives a moving testimony of him seeing Boxer die in the hospital. He claims that the knackers van was bought by the vets and didn't paint the old name out. It becomes apparent that Napoleon sold Boxer to the knackers and bought whisky using the money earned. Benjamin was always reclusive and angst, but was dedicated to Boxer. Following Boxer's death, Benjamin became even more taciturn. By the end of the novel, very few remember who Boxer was with the exception of those who knew him.

Film Adaptations

Boxer's role is remains largely the same in the film adaptations, though slightly sanitized due to the pacing of each film and a character being given a larger role (Benjamin in the 1954 film adaptation and Jessie in the 1999 film adaptation). In the 1954 film adaptation, he is largely aided by Benjamin, which is a big contrast to the novel as in the novel, Benjamin only worked as hard as required. Also, Boxer was severely injured by letting go of a pulley out of exhaustion that was hoisting a brick which landed on him.

In the 1999 film adaptation, the Battle of the Windmill never occurs and the windmill is simply blown up by Jones and his wife. As a result, he only collapses due to exhaustion and not through the injuries of battle. In the film adaptations, when he is being carried to the knackers, the protagonists chases after the van though cannot stop it. Benjamin chases after it in the 1954 film adaptation and Jessie chases after it in the 1999 film adaptation.

Personality

Boxer is honorable and loyal to his farm. When problems arise, he always responds with "I will always work harder." He often over exerts himself because of his loyalty and his strength. He never takes a day off and goes out to work at night. It was only after the Battle of the Windmill that he realized that he was getting weaker. Even then, his working increased in his days following his supposed retirement. He only took a day off when his lung burst while he was carry a boulder.

Boxer is very loyal to the farm. At the beginning of the novel, he was the most loyal disciple of the Animalism theology. He led the singing of the anthem after each meeting. He is also very loyal to Napoleon. Following his takeover, Boxer adopts the maxim, "Napoleon is always right."

Boxer is unable to see through Napoleon and Squealer's lies about Snowball. Though when Squealer claims that Snowball was in cohorts with Jones the whole time, Boxer points out that Snowball was wounded in the Battle of the Cowshed. Despite this, he is easily swayed by Squealer's charisma and the mention that Napoleon believes it. When Napoleon kills many animals who are presumed to be in cohorts in Snowball, Boxer simply promises that he will do better.

Like most of the animals, Boxer has a hatred for humans and traitors, with is slowly increasing throughout the novel. In the Battle of the Cowshed, the most terrifying spectacle was when he kicked a man unconscious. However, he expressed remorse for killing the man, even though he wasn't actually dead. His hatred started to increase following Napoleon's takeover. When a few dogs go mad and lunge towards Boxer, he wasn't sure whether killing the dog he caught or not, until being ordered by Napoleon to release it.

He was most scared of the treachery of the animals when Napoleon started killing the traitors, and yet again promised to work harder as his way to solve what he percived to be the problem. In the Battle of the Windmill, he breaks the skulls of three of the men with less remorse than in the Battle of the Cowshed days.

Appearance

Boxer is described as being an enormous muscular horse. The books says that he is 18 hands high. He also has a stripe down his nose that makes him look stupid. His 1954 appearance gives him light brown skin while his 1999 appearance a lot more darker. His 1999 appearance is modelled after a shire horse.

Abilities

Boxer is very strong. His strength has been described as equal to two horses or the entire community of animals combined. His strength has helped the animals build the windmill at least twice. He is also great fighter, as he fought victoriously during the two battles. However, Boxer is also old for a horse and as a result, his strength gets weaker throughout the story.

Following the Battle of the Windmill, Boxer realizes he is getting weaker and should retire by his next birthday. Unfortunately, before that happened, Boxer's lung burst because he was overexerting his own strength and had injuries from the battle.

Boxer isn't very intelligent. He blindly follows Napoleon after his takeover. He constantly overexerts his strength while helping build the windmill. He also can only four letters and becomes content with only knowing A, B, C, and D. However, he is better at letters than most animals, who could only learn the letter A.

Gallery

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