One of the novel’s most impressive accomplishments is its portrayal not just of the figures in power but also of the oppressed people themselves. Animal Farm is not told from the perspective of any particular character, though occasionally it does slip in to Clover’s consciousness. Rather, the story is told from the perspective of the common animals as a whole. Gullible, loyal, and hardworking, these animals give Orwell a chance to sketch how situations of oppression arise not only from the motives and tactics of oppressors but also from the naïveté of the oppressed, who are not necessarily in a position to be better educated or informed. When presented with the dilemma, Boxer prefers not to puzzle out the implications of various possible actions but instead to repeat to himself, “Napoleon is always right.” Animal Farm demonstrates how the inability or unwillingness to question authority condemns the working class to suffer the full extent of the ruling class’s oppression.
My favorite character was boxer because he epitomizes all of the best qualities of the exploited working classes: dedication, loyalty, and a huge capacity for labor. He also, however, suffered from what Orwell saw as the working class’s major weakness: a naïve trust in the good intentions of the intelligentsia and an inability to recognize even the most blatant forms of political corruption. Exploited by the pigs as much or more than he had been by Mr. Jones, Boxer represents all of the invisible labor that undergrads the political drams being carried out by the elites. Boxer’s pitiful death at glue factory dramatically illustrates the extent of the pigs’ betrayal. It may also, however, speak to the specific significance of Boxer himself: before being carted off, he serves as the force that holds Animal together.
In my opinion, the most important sentence in this book is,
“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
The ultimate example of the pigs’ systematic abuse of logic and language to control their underlings, this final reduction of the Seven Commandments, which appears in Chapter X, clothes utterly senseless content in a seemingly plausible linguistic form. Although, the fist clause implies that all animals are equal to one another, it does not state this claim overtly. Thus, it is possible to misread the word “equal” as a relative term rather than an absolute one. The revision of the original phrase also points to the specific form of corruption on Animal Farm. The initial, unmodified phrase makes reference to all animals, its message extending to the entire world of animals without distinction. Similarly, Major expresses ideals that posit the dignity of all, the comradeship of all, the inclusion of all in voting and decision-making, so that no one group or individual will oppress another. The revised phrase, however, mention an “all,” but only in order to differentiate a “some” from that “all,” to specify uniqueness, the elite nature, and the chosen status of that “some.” The pigs clearly envision themselves as this privileged “some”; under their totalitarian regime, the working animals exist only to serve the larger glory of the leadership, to provide the rulers with food and comfort, and to support their luxurious and exclusive lifestyle.