Boxer (Animal Farm)

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First appearance Animal Farm
Last appearance Animal Farm (Only Appearance)
Created by George Orwell
Species Horse
Gender Male
Occupation Laborer at Animal Farm

Boxer is a strong but ignorant horse in George Orwell's Animal Farm. 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 oust Czar 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 that they get food and helps a duckling during the meeting with Old Major as seen in the cartoon version of the story. Boxer has various mottoes that define his personality, such as: "Napoleon is always right." and "I will work harder." : He has been described as "faithful and strong";[1] he believes any problem can be solved if he works harder.[2]

Boxer is a bit dim-witted and can only remember four letters of the alphabet at a time, but sees the importance of education and aspires to learn the rest of the alphabet during retirement (which never happens). Napoleon is stupid, 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."

Boxers' strength plays a huge part in keeping the Farm together prior to his death: the rest of the animals trusted in it to keep their spirits high during the long and hard laborious winters. Boxer was the only close friend of Benjamin, the cynical donkey.

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 actually have sent him to the knacker's yard to be slaughtered, in exchange for money to buy a case of whiskey for the pigs.

During 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." [3]

Real Life Model[edit]

Boxer is based on a coal miner named Alexey Stakhanov who was famous for working over his quota. The Stalin Regime built a cult of personality around him that rewarded workers who showed a similar heroic dedication to production and efficiency.


  1. ^ Sutherland, T. (2005). "Speaking My Mind: Orwell Farmed for Education". The English Journal. 95 (1): 17–19. JSTOR 30047391. 
  2. ^ Roper, D. (1977). "Viewpoint 2: The Boxer Mentality". Change. 9 (11): 11–63. doi:10.1080/00091383.1977.10569271. JSTOR 40176954. 
  3. ^ Chapter I p. 9, Signet Classics edition