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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.
The flag was green, Snowball explained, to represent the green fields of England, while the hoof and horn signified the future Republic of the Animals which would arise when the human race had been finally overthrown. (3.5)
Notice that Snowball is a forward-thinking dude (er, pig). Instead of patting himself on the back for achieving rebellion on Animal Farm, he dreams about spreading it all over England.
Benjamin was the only animal who did not side with either faction. He refused to believe either that food would become more plentiful or that the windmill would save work. Windmill or no windmill, he said, life would go on as it had always gone on– that is, badly. (5.11)
Question: Benjamin comes off as a Debbie Downer, but is he right? Or is Orwell saying it's just as bad to have no hope as to have too much hope?