Boxer is a male cart horse who works hard for the farm, whether under Mr. Jones before the Rebellion or under Napoleon after the Rebellion. Boxer is clearly meant to symbolize the proletariat, or the working class, whom the Rebellion was supposed to benefit. Boxer is an idealized worker in many ways. For example, he is very large, exceedingly strong, and not very bright. In addition, he becomes the perfect follower for Napoleon. Boxer is literally willing to work himself to death in order to help make an animal-run farm a success. Having been convinced that Animalism is right and that Napoleon is a good leader, even substantial evidence against Napoleon is insufficient to make Boxer change his mind. As a result, when he observes problems at Animal Farm, rather than investigating how Napoleon might be mismanaging things, Boxer internalizes the problems and resolves to work harder in an effort to find a solution to those issues.
Boxer is highly symbolic of the working class. He is exploited for his value to create worth and, when that ability has been exhausted, he is no longer considered valuable. It is critical to realize that when Boxer’s health is clearly failing and he had very little time left on Earth, the pigs do not even allow Boxer to have a dignified death. Instead, they send him off with the butcher to the glue factory so that they can sell his body for money. In other words, every single part of Boxer’s life is exploited by either Mr. Jones or the pigs. Despite working hard for Mr. Jones, a capitalist exploiter, or for the pigs, Communist exploiters, none of Boxer’s hard work results in any benefits for Boxer himself.
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