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Animal Farm

Animal Farm


by George Orwell

Animal Farm Chapter 4 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:

Quote 1

Without halting for an instant, Snowball flung his fifteen stone against Jones's legs. Jones was hurled into a pile of dung and his gun flew out of his hands. But the most terrifying spectacle of all was Boxer, rearing up on his hind legs and striking out with his great iron-shod hoofs like a stallion. 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. Panic overtook them, and the next moment all the animals together were chasing them round and round the yard. They were gored, kicked, bitten, trampled on. There was not an animal on the farm that did not take vengeance on them after his own fashion. Even the cat suddenly leapt off a roof onto a cowman's shoulders and sank her claws in his neck, at which he yelled horribly. (4.8)

Yikes. No wonder the pigs start oppressing the animals almost immediately; Boxer sounds pretty scary. But, really, all the animals do—the only weapons humans have, really, is their brains. (Although, sheesh, what did the cowman ever do to the cat?)

Boxer (a horse)

Quote 2

"He is dead," said Boxer sorrowfully. "I had no intention of doing that. I forgot that I was wearing iron shoes. Who will believe that I did not do this on purpose?" (4.10)

At least some of the violence is accidental: Boxer didn't mean to kill the stable-boy. But who's going to believe him? (Also—it's easy to believe that Boxer didn't mean to kill a boy; it's a lot harder to believe that Tsar Nicholas II and his kids weren't executed on purpose. That's kind of the definition of an execution.)

Quote 3

The animals decided unanimously to create a military decoration, "Animal Hero, First Class," which was conferred there and then on Snowball and Boxer. It consisted of a brass medal (they were really some old horse-brasses which had been found in the harness-room), to be worn on Sundays and holidays. There was also "Animal Hero, Second Class," which was conferred posthumously on the dead sheep. (4.16)

We're on shakier territory with taking pride in violent military action and sacrifice, but it still seem to be working for a common good: if the animals take pride in their shared goal of running a working farm, then they don't mind a few dead sheep here or there. (Less bleating.)

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