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: 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
Chapter 4 Quotes
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.
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)