What are some negative character traits for Ben from Incident at Hawk's Hill?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ben is barely  six years old and slightly autistic, so character traits that might be considered negative in other characters may be dependent on his mental capabilities rather than his deliberate decisions. One trait that would be considered negative is Ben's anti-social outlook. He is not willing -- or capable -- of fully connecting with other human beings, and prefers the company of animals; he finds animals simpler and more directly honest with their intentions, while people are confusing. Despite the nature of his mental condition, he is also deliberate in his choice to embrace animals while avoiding people:

"We'd like it, Ben, if you'd start taking an interest in people as well as animals. And I'd like it if you'd shake hands with him like a little man. Will you do that for mother?"

Ben's glance shifted to the rider and then back to her. He shook his head once...
(Eckert, Incident at Hawk's Hill, amazon.com)

Ben is not acting out of malice, but instead acting in reaction to the things that give him comfort. Another negative trait is Ben's acceptance of animal instincts in killing for food. While it is human nature to kill animals, Ben in acting animalistic would be expected to think of animals as brother creatures. Instead, he is ready and willing to kill the creatures that he might think of as family in order to survive. Again, this is not presented directly as negative, but without the context of Ben's condition, his actions could be seen as callous.