Animal Farm

Boxer Character Analysis

A huge, gentle carthorse. Boxer isn’t especially intelligent—he only learns the first four letters of the alphabet—but Old Major’s speech and the equality expressed in the Seven Commandments appeals to his generous nature. Because of this, Boxer becomes one of Napoleon and Snowball’s biggest disciples as they attempt to spread the ideals of Animalism to others, as Boxer is capable of making simple, easy to understand arguments to his peers. After the rebellion, Boxer then becomes one of the most valuable members of Animal Farm, as he’s fully sold on its ideals, entirely loyal to Napoleon, and convinced that his hard work is absolutely essential to the success of the farm. On that final point, Boxer is right: his labor is what makes it so that the animals are able to build both attempts at their windmills. To this end, Boxer adopts two personal mottos: “I will work harder,” and “Napoleon is always right.” Through these mottos, the novel shows how someone like Boxer sacrifices himself to the cause at the expense of everything, including his health, his intellect, and his possibility for advancement. Boxer never realizes that Napoleon is the reason conditions are so poor on Animal Farm, and he never becomes aware of his own strength or power to change anything. This means that when Boxer collapses, he fully believes that Napoleon is going to send him to a human veterinarian—and he can’t read the writing on the van that comes to take him away, which is a van bound for a glue factory. By the time other animals alert Boxer to what’s going on, Boxer is far too weak to make any successful attempt to save himself, and instead, his death goes on to benefit the ruling class of pigs on Animal Farm. Boxer represents the male working class and peasants of the Soviet Union.

Boxer Quotes in Animal Farm

The Animal Farm quotes below are all either spoken by Boxer or refer to Boxer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of Animal Farm published in 1996.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“I will work harder!”

Related Characters: Boxer (speaker)
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 4 Quotes

“I have no wish to take life, not even human life,” repeated Boxer, and his eyes were full of tears.

Related Characters: Boxer (speaker)
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

“Napoleon is always right.”

Related Characters: Boxer (speaker), Napoleon
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
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Boxer Character Timeline in Animal Farm

The timeline below shows where the character Boxer appears in Animal Farm. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Class Warfare Theme Icon
...perch in windows and the rafters; the sheep and cows settle behind the pigs; and Boxer and Clover, the carthorses, lie down in the back. Clover settles a brood of orphaned... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...and beribboned mane while she munches sugar, and the cat finds the warmest spot between Boxer and Clover. The cat doesn’t listen to Old Major at all. Seeing that everyone but... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...foals, gone forever. Old Major points out that Mr. Jones butchers pigs, will someday sell Boxer to the glue factory when he can’t work, and drowns dogs when they get too... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...animals believe in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs work hard to convince those believers otherwise. Boxer and Clover, however, prove to be the pigs’ best disciples. They’re not incredibly intelligent, but... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...are clothes and the mark of humans. Animals, he suggests, should go naked. At this, Boxer throws the straw hat he wears in the summer to protect his ears from flies... (full context)
Chapter 3
Class Warfare Theme Icon
...figure out how to do this without tools that involve standing on two legs, while Boxer and Clover know the intricacies of bringing hay in. Because the pigs are so intelligent,... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...without a threshing machine, but the pigs are clever enough to figure it out and Boxer is strong enough to pull them through. Everyone admires Boxer, as he seems as strong... (full context)
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...literate but refuses to read. Clover learns the whole alphabet but cannot read words, while Boxer learns the first four letters and nothing more. Mollie, meanwhile, learns only to spell her... (full context)
Chapter 4
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
...Mr. Jones shoots at Snowball, but only grazes his back. Snowball flattens Mr. Jones as Boxer strikes at men with his front hooves. Even the cat leaps on a man, and... (full context)
Chapter 5
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...all sing “Beasts of England.” There will be no more debates. The other animals, even Boxer, are dismayed. Four young pigs squeal in disapproval, but the dogs growl and silence them.... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...Jones will return. This convinces the animals entirely—anything that might help Mr. Jones must stop. Boxer declares that if Napoleon says it, it must be right. (full context)
Chapter 6
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
...and Benjamin all haul stone to the site of the windmill. The process is exhausting. Boxer seems stronger than ever; he singlehandedly keeps the other animals from sliding back down the... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...disturbed to learn that the pigs eat in the kitchen and sleep in the beds. Boxer brushes this off, but Clover remembers that there was a rule against sleeping in beds.... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
...After the harvest, the animals dedicate themselves to building up the walls of the windmill. Boxer even spends hours at night working alone, and everyone except Benjamin spends their spare time... (full context)
Chapter 7
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...gives many speeches on the dignity of labor, but the animals find more inspiration in Boxer. In January, rations are reduced when they discover that the potatoes went bad. The animals... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
Boxer questions this and shares his recollection of events, but Squealer insists he’s mistaken—they have, in... (full context)
Class Warfare Theme Icon
...The dogs drag the four young pigs to the front and three dogs leap at Boxer. Boxer slings them aside and pins one before looking at Napoleon for what to do... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...the farm. The animals—except for the cat, who disappeared—lie down together near the windmill while Boxer paces. Boxer announces that he wouldn’t have believed that this could happen on Animal Farm,... (full context)
Chapter 8
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...up. He’s right: after a deafening explosion, the windmill is gone. The enraged animals charge. Boxer kills three men and the dogs bite and terrify the rest. The animals win, but... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
At the barnyard, Boxer feels the pellets in his leg and begins to mentally prepare himself to rebuild the... (full context)
Chapter 9
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
Boxer’s split hoof takes a long time to heal. He refuses to take time off from... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Boxer works harder than ever once his hoof heals—though all the animals work like slaves. His... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
The van arrives to take Boxer away in the middle of the day, while the other animals are working. The animals... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
Suspiciously, Squealer notes that he’s heard rumors that some animals believe Boxer went to the glue factory. This isn’t true: Napoleon would never do that, for one,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...and some of the pigs remember life before the rebellion. Everyone else dies and even Boxer is forgotten. Clover is now 14, but she’s still not retired. Napoleon and Squealer are... (full context)