by George Orwell
Animal Farm Benjamin (a donkey) Quotes
A few days later, when the terror caused by the executions had died down, some of the animals remembered– or thought they remembered– that the Sixth Commandment decreed "No animal shall kill any other animal." And though no one cared to mention it in the hearing of the pigs or the dogs, it was felt that the killings which had taken place did not square with this. Clover asked Benjamin to read her the Sixth Commandment, and when Benjamin, as usual, said that he refused to meddle in such matters, she fetched Muriel. Muriel read the Commandment for her. It ran: "No animal shall kill any other animal WITHOUT CAUSE." (8.1)
We could let the "sleep in a bed with sheets" revision slide, but this one? This one seems a bit less harmless. In fact, it seems downright harmful. Pretty soon, the commandments are going to be as complicated as… well, the U.S. Constitution.
"Fools! Fools!" shouted Benjamin, prancing round them and stamping the earth with his small hoofs. "Fools! Do you not see what is written on the side of that van?" (9.19)
Well, they do… they just can't read. But being illiterate doesn't exactly mean that they're foolish. In fact, we're thinking Benjamin might be the real fool here: he's known all along that the Revolution is going nowhere good, but he can't be bothered to do anything about it.
Old Benjamin, the donkey, seemed quite unchanged since the Rebellion. He did his work in the same slow obstinate way as he had done it in Jones's time, never shirking and never volunteering for extra work either. About the Rebellion and its results he would express no opinion. When asked whether he was not happier now that Jones was gone, he would say only "Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey," and the others had to be content with this cryptic answer. (3.4)
Benjamin seems convinced that nothing is going to change—and with good reason: donkeys live 30 to 50 years, while pigs and sheep usually max out at 15. (Horses can make it about twice as long.) Try telling a 140-year-old how excited you are about your new gluten-free diet and watch her roll her eyes.