What are adjectives that describe Benjamin's character that encompass his entire characterization in Animal Farm?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One adjective that I think I would use to fully embrace Benjamin's character is "reflective."   Benjamin is reflective of Orwell, himself, and all that he represents in terms of understanding the true meaning of what is happening, but recognizing all too late his own helplessness in it.  Benjamin lacks the spirit of activism to do anything, preferring to disengage.  He only realizes too late when Boxer is condemned to die that his own silence emboldens those in the position of power, something that is evidenced in breaking his own promise of not speaking aloud his ability to read when Boxer is about to be taken to the Knacker's.  I think that another adjective that could be used to embrace his own complex state throughout the book is "awkward."  I think that Benjamin has an awkward relationship with his own beliefs of the animals on the farm.  Throughout the narrative, he simply does not care about the animals on the farm and seeks to withdraw from them.  Yet, when Boxer is sick and when he is gaining in age, it is Clover and Benjamin who urge him to stop working so hard and stand by him.  When Boxer falls sick, it is Benjamin who tries to rally the other animals to recognize what is happening.  Benjamin has a complex and awkward relationship to the other animals and his place amongst them.  He has an awkward time reconciling his own disillusion and a sense of hope that emerges regarding the few friendships he has on the farm.


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