Question: Describe a negative or positive relationship in a written text you have studied.
Explain how the relationship was portrayed as either a negative or positive.
George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ highlights how humans tend to take advantage of others, simply to gain power. A negative relationship that demonstrates this is between Napoleon and Boxer. Throughout the text Napoleon is portrayed as a selfish leader who takes all the wealth and privileges for himself and the pigs. Boxer, however, is a very innocent and uneducated horse who has no doubt in Napoleon and truly believes that he has the animals best interest at heart. To make things worse, Boxer is later sent to the ‘Knackers’ for whiskey money.
Napoleon and Boxer’s relationship is very unhealthy. Boxer is a very strong and powerful horse which Napoleon takes full use of. After the expulsion of Mr Jones, the pigs took full control of the farm. They made it clear that all animals are equal and were making efforts to get Animalism across to each animal. In fact, they wrote the Seven Commandments on the side of the barn. The first being ‘Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.’ This is ironic due to the fact that Napoleon treats Boxer quite the opposite. The farm is in need of a windmill and requires the help of the animals. Due to Boxer’s great amount of strength, Napoleon encourages him to work the hardest. Boxer would be working on the windmill everyday as he believed it would benefit each animal. The reality was that Napoleon would overwork Boxer, with no care for his well-being, and still be the only one benefitting. Orwell uses this relationship to highlight the theme of exploitation. It shows how Napoleon uses Boxer’s innocence to make him do the majority of the work. It is very similar to how the rich would exploit the proletariat.
Boxer’s naivety and innocence is something that Napoleon thrives on. His lack of understanding leads him to believe that Napoleon is a trustful and loyal leader wanting nothing but the best for the animals. This is evident when he adopts a new mantra, ‘Comrade Napoleon is always right.’ This tells the reader that Boxer is absolutely clueless and has no idea what is actually going on. The phrase ‘always right’ shows the total confidence Boxer has in Napoleon and doesn’t doubt him for a second. Boxer has no problem in spreading Napoleon’s word to others, but Napoleon doesn’t care about Boxer’s loyalty and continues to overwork him. Due to his lack of knowledge, Boxer is unaware of the distorted truth being told to him and believes every word of it. This is how Napoleon brainwashes Boxer which ultimately causes Boxer to admire Napoleon.
A final reason as to why this relationship is negative, is how after everything Boxer did for the farm, he is then sent away. Boxer worked endlessly everyday until eventually his body couldn’t handle anymore. Napoleon said that he would send Boxer to the vet and arranged a van to pick him up. As he was leaving, Benjamin (an old donkey), read the name on the van. It read ‘Horse Slaughterer,’ Boxer was being sent to his death. Unfortunately the animals were unable to save him so he was boiled into glue. Boxer was Napoleon’s most loyal companion and was paid back by death. To make it worse Napoleon used his death as a way to get money for whiskey. This is ironic when a commandment, which was previously broken, was, ‘No animal shall drink Alcohol.’ This proves that Napoleon had absolutely no care for Boxer, or any animal, and would rather drink alcohol than save someone’s life.
Napoleon and Boxer shared a very negative relationship. Napoleon would take full advantage of Boxer’s strength and naivety, while Boxer would have every faith in Napoleon’s leadership ability and his intent with the farm. The fact that Boxer is so clueless allows Napoleon to walk all over him. If only Boxer knew that he had the strength to overthrow Napoleon.