What makes Benjamin so different from the other animals in Chapter 1 of "Animal Farm"? Is there anything to admire in him?

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Benjamin the donkey is a stoic. He doesn't get involved and does not even voice an opinion one way or another concerning the management of Animal Farm. Whenever questioned, he is purposefully evasive, giving such nonsense off-beat answers as "Donkeys live a long time."

Benjamin's "zen attitude" is hard to decipher. It is hard to know whether he is really that indifferent to what happens at the farm or if he is afraid of reprisal if he speaks his mind. Since he is so old, perhaps he has seen enough of life to know that the other animals' idealism cannot be practically applied and endure in the long run. Perhaps he is simply fatalistic, pessimist by nature, but doesn't want to be a "party pooper" and spoil the other animals' enthusiasm and joy. So he just keeps quiet.

Benjamin's silence is perhaps wise. He knows more than the other animals, but what will that knowledge change? Bejnamin's silence is a reprieve from a sentence yet to fall; Benjamin's silence is a foreboding of things to come.