The novel Animal Farm was written in 1945 by author George Orwell. George Orwell was the pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair, he was a British writer born in Motihari, India in 1903. Animal Farm is a novel based on the lives of a society of animals living on the Manor Farm. Although the title of the book suggests the book is merely about animals, the story is a much more in depth analysis of the workings of society in Communist Russia.
The animals are used as puppets to illustrate how the communist class system operated, how Russian citizens responded to this, how propaganda was used by early Russian leaders such as Stalin and the effect this type of leadership had on the behaviour of the people of Russia. Mr. Jones’ principles and harsh mistreatment of the animals that Napoleon adopted proves to the reader that communism is not equality, but just another form of inequality. What qualities make a hero?
Are they a large number of good deeds or something to do with one extraordinary event/achievement? Could it be the stereotype-cliche superhero meaning, maybe it’s someone we admire? Perhaps it’s someone who puts his or her own life on the line to save others- a someone with an aura of invulnerability. Many people would say that you have to be brave, fearless and courageous. Usually, in a book or film the protagonist is the hero. Boxer, Snowball and Clover seem to fit many of these interpretations of a hero. Boxer
Boxer saves the farm again and again, in war and in work. He even gives his life for the farm. Boxer has the quality of a being superhero because he is the biggest and the strongest. Everyone on the farm admires Boxer and he is the inspiration to many animals, “Boxer was the admiration of everybody. “, “everyone worked according to his capacity”. There are many quotes in the book that relay the point of Boxer being an admiration to everyone; it proves everyone respects him. There are a few heroic deeds that single him out from the rest of the animals.
One of these is during the first harvest after the rebellion when he works continuously, “He had been a hard worker even in Jones’ time, but now he seemed more like three horses than one; there were days when the entire work of the farm seemed to rest upon his mighty shoulders. ” During the battle of the cowshed, Boxer makes many of the men attacking afraid and retreat; “His very first blow took a stable-lad from Foxwood on the skull and stretched him lifeless in the mud. At the sight, several men dropped their sticks and tried to run”.
Another incredible deed was during the making of the windmill, “Nothing could have been achieved without Boxer, whose strength seemed equal to that of all the animals put together. When the boulder began to slip and the animals cried out in despair at finding themselves dragged down the hill, it was always Boxer who strained himself against the rope and brought the boulder to stop. ” These deeds make it seem that Boxer is the only driving force in the farm and that without him nothing could be achieved.
The animals acknowledge Boxer has a hero after the battle of the cowshed when they award him the decoration of being “Animal hero, first class”. The reader has an emotional connection with Boxer because we feel sad or even angry when he is taken to the knackery. It also proves that Boxer is a major character. Boxer has a strong mind because he isn’t altered by bad experiences such as the execution of the animals, “I would not have believed that such things could happen on our farm. It must be due to some fault in ourselves.
The solution, as I see it, is to work harder. This quote is evidence that Boxer has a sound head and that he is always looking to work. harder and that he definitely isn’t lazy. This leads us nicely to his two special maxims, “I will work harder” and “Napoleon is always right”. Boxer isn’t very clever so he simplifies life in the phrase “I will work harder”; of course life in reality is never that simple. This phrase focuses on the success of the farm and doesn’t have anything to do with fighting or violence. Boxer takes the responsibility of being the best worker because he the strongest but he is always very modest. He never uses the superlative – hardest.
Boxer always wants to do comparatively more. The maxim “Napoleon is always right” tells us that Boxer is loyal to whoever is leader, in this case Napoleon but for example, Snowball was to come back and overthrow Napoleon, Boxer would probably change his maxim to Snowball is always right. Boxer’s stupidity is also highlighted in this phrase since the reader knows that Napoleon is not always right (execution of the animals). It shows us that Boxer doesn’t think the phrase through properly. Boxer thinks Napoleon can never make a mistake and he has absolute and downright trust in him. Maybe Boxer would do anything Napoleon asks.
An effect of this phrase to the other animals would be that it would make other animals not question the decisions of Napoleon because many animals would do what Boxer does because Boxer does have influence. Everything about Boxer seems to screams that he is the hero but there are strong reasons against this conclusion. Firstly Boxer is not in the whole novel, which could signify that Orwell did not mean Boxer to be the hero. Secondly, he has the flaw of blind faith outlined in is brainlessness. Boxer is too stupid to realise that he is being used by Napoleon this greatly annoys the reader.
Boxer doesn’t fight for his rights or for the animal’s rights. This tells us that Boxer is nothing without a brain. A simple fact is Boxer could never save the inhabitants of Animal farm form the tyranny of Napoleon because of his lack of common sense and knowledge. If there were any chances of him doing so, it would be through Benjamin. Thirdly, Boxer doesn’t know what is good for him – a bit like a baby. Against the advice given by a Clover and Benjamin, Boxer works too hard eventually leading to his downfall. Isn’t a hero meant to know when to stop?
Fourthly, although he is a major character, we never know Boxer’s thoughts apart from his two frequent maxims. Finally, an arguable point is that Boxer never set himself up to be hero, which tells us that he was doing what he thought was right. Snowball Snowball has one huge quality that separates him from the likes of Boxer, this is, his brains. Although Snowball isn’t as strong as Boxer, his cleverness proves to be a far more powerful weapon. Snowball helped save the farm during the battle of the cowshed since it was he who devised the means of defence through a combination of books and his own cunning.
Snowball, who had studied an old book of Julius Caesar’s campaigns which he had found in the farmhouse, was in charge of the defensive operations. ” Snowball also fights very bravely during the battle of the cowshed, being brave is an important quality of a hero. After the battle of the cowshed, the animals acknowledge the heroism of Snowball, “The animals unanimously to create military decoration, ‘Animal Hero, First Class’, which was conferred there and then on Snowball and Boxer”. This proves that the animals like Snowball and that he did fight bravely.
It tells us that Snowball did well to get the same award as Boxer and Snowball has a good combination of brains and brawn. Unlike Napoleon, Snowball is actually concerned with the welfare of the animals, he an optimist and the ideas he thinks about are all to do with making the animal’s lives easier, “so much labour would be saved that the animals would only need to work three days a week. ” The whole attitude of Snowball is friendly; he adopts the idea of more food less work. Snowball gets more support than Napoleon because of the pro-welfare ideals. Snowball opposes Napoleon who is anti-hero.
Snowball is also very good at uniting the animals. “Now comrades. To the hay field! Let us make it a point of honour to get the harvest more quickly than Jones and his men could do”. This extract explains the suggestion that Snowball is a very enthusiastic, uniting and optimistic pig. No wonder most of the animals liked him. Although it looks like Snowball could be the hero of animal farm, there are very strong points that contradict this being the case. Firstly Snowball is only in the first half of the book (this is much less than how long Boxer is in the book).
He is only a major character in this half of the book; we don’t know what he does afterwards. Secondly, he starts to fall into the power corruption trap; he uses extra privileges like the milk incident. Finally, Snowball makes no attempt whatsoever to regain control the farm if he knew the kind of conditions the animals were subjected to after his disappearance. Clover Clover is the motherly figure in the novel, “the animals huddled about Clover”, it shows that the animals feel safe around her. She protects some animals. It is feat that Boxer or Snowball didn’t do.
The reader can easily identify with her and see the unhappiness she is going through. She opposes Napoleons way of doing things in her thoughts, “If she herself had any picture of the future, it had been of a society of animals set free from hunger and the whip, all equal” It definitely shows she opposes Napoleon because her vision of the future is the opposite of reality and it also shows she is selfless because she has an idea of equality and she actually means it. We know much more about Clover’s thoughts than Boxer’s thoughts.
Clover is the one always noticing changes in the commandments but annoys the reader by not understanding what to do about it. A good point is that Clover is in the whole novel, something that Boxer and Snowball aren’t. Clover has also made it through the worst times and lived to tell the tale, which is quite extraordinary considering what she has been through. Clover is a much more subtle character than Boxer and Snowball, therefore Orwell hasn’t associated her with any particular big feat and although she is cleverer than Boxer, she just cant grasp what deception is being employed by Napoleon.
Boxer, Snowball and Clover are all very good candidates to be called the hero of animal farm but really I think there can be only one hero, Boxer. Purely on his strength, determination and fearlessness Boxer has managed to get the farm out of every laborious difficulty and battle. If it were not for him the book might not even have gotten past chapter 3. Time after time we are told that everyone is inspired and admires Boxer, everyone, including the reader, adores him. The point that states Boxer isn’t in the whole novel that is against him being a hero, I say that he is in most of the novel anyway.
It is not Boxer’s fault he doesn’t do anything to stop Napoleon – it is Benjamin’s. Benjamin knew full well what was going on and yet didn’t tell anyone, if he told Boxer, Napoleon could be stopped. Boxer has a large number of heroic deeds to his name and the largest number of positive points out of the three individuals, that’s why Boxer is my hero of animal farm. I think Orwell didn’t intend to have a hero in the first place, simply because he is concerned with politics in this book, not individuals.