Like most of the authority figures in Angela's Ashes, Mr. Benson isn't portrayed in a particularly flattering way. He's an angry man, constantly shouting at the boys, inadvertently spitting at them as he does so. Frank is worried that he might be spreading tuberculosis. Though a new teacher, Benson is an old man, rigid and set in his ways. He sees his job as not so much to teach as lay down the law. A devout Catholic, he seems to feel himself as infallible as the Pope. As far as he's concerned, what he says goes, and his students should accept that. So not surprisingly, he hates answering the boys' questions. The appropriately nicknamed Brendan "Question" Quigley gets into trouble for his ceaseless curiosity.
Mr. Benson is overbearing and domineering, ready to lash out and assault his students at the drop of a hat. Toby Mackey gets a good hiding for offering Frank his sister in return for a raisin. Just for good measure, the old man has an irrational hatred of America, and if any of the boys don't share his prejudice, then he'll hit them.