Beartown

Benjamin Ovich (Benji) Character Analysis

17 years old, Benji is one of the mainstays of the junior hockey team, known especially for his fierce fighting and reliable defense of Kevin on the ice. Kevin is also Benji’s best friend. Benji grew up with his mother and three older sisters, Adri, Katia, and Gaby, who adore him but are also quick to scold him when he messes up. Benji’s dad, Alan Ovich, committed suicide when Benji was small, and Benji has never gotten over it. Like his father, Benji is a tormented soul with “sad eyes and a wild heart,” and he often gets in trouble—smoking pot, cutting school, and ditching practice—but he’s so important to the hockey team that he rarely faces consequences. Unlike some of his teammates, especially Kevin, Benji is quick to notice when other people are hurting, and he avoids going along with the crowd. He is kind to Maya after the rape, and his friendship with Kevin ends once he finds out what happened. Benji is gay, although only his family seems to know it; he has a brief romantic relationship with an unnamed bass player who performs at Katia’s bar. Benji stays in Beartown at the end of the novel, joining the new A-team and teaching children’s skating.

Benjamin Ovich (Benji) Quotes in Beartown

The Beartown quotes below are all either spoken by Benjamin Ovich (Benji) or refer to Benjamin Ovich (Benji). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Beartown published in 2017.
Chapter 50 Quotes

None of them sees the first skate of the child who’s the last one out. She’s four years old, a scrawny little kid in gloves that are too big for her, with bruises everyone sees but nobody asks about. Her helmet slips down across her eyes, but the look in them is clear enough.

Adri and Sune come after her, ready to hold the girl up, until they realize that there’s no need. The four boys at the center circle will build a new A-team next season, but that doesn’t matter, because in ten years’ time it won’t be their names that make the people of this town stand taller.

And they’ll all lie and say they were here and saw it happen. The first skate of the girl who will become the most talented player this club has ever seen. They’ll all say they knew it even then.

Related Symbols: Bears, Cherry Blossoms
Page Number: 415
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Beartown quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire Beartown LitChart as a printable PDF.
Beartown.pdf.medium

Benjamin Ovich (Benji) Character Timeline in Beartown

The timeline below shows where the character Benjamin Ovich (Benji) appears in Beartown. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...doesn’t mean he’s the most important. On the video he sees Benjamin Ovich. Like David, Benji is prepared to do whatever’s necessary to win. Benji lives with his mother in a... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
As David brews his coffee for the day, he watches the video of Benji hitting a defender with his stick to stop him from overtaking Kevin on the ice.... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Once Benji has biked out of sight of his mom, he stops to smoke a joint. David... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Benji goes to Kevin’s house. Nobody remembers how they became best friends, but they’re inseparable. When... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
As Benji passes through the perfect living room, he subtly messes up a couple of photos on... (full context)
Chapter 7
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...the rink, he’s always part of a group, but at home, being alone feels natural. Benji is waiting for Kevin outside the house. Kevin wants to hug him, but his impulse... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...a game and was beaten up by the older brothers of some players he’d defeated. Benji showed up and took on all three of the older bullies. Later, when they rejoined... (full context)
Chapter 8
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
...what’s missing from his team is speed. The junior team’s first line consists of Kevin, Benji, and a strong, slow player named William Lyt. David has always been able to compensate... (full context)
Chapter 10
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Benji is sitting in the headmaster’s office, being told off for being late so often, but... (full context)
Chapter 12
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...asks Kevin if he has any chewing tobacco. Kevin says that he doesn’t. Later, when Benji asks the same, Kevin willingly fishes out a can of tobacco and gives it to... (full context)
Chapter 13
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Bobo pursues Amat in “blind fury,” but Benji stops him. David decides to include Amat in tomorrow’s game. It takes Amat half an... (full context)
Chapter 15
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Benji wakes up early, bikes to the forest, and walks the last few miles to the... (full context)
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Separately, Benji bikes to the cemetery and sits against Alan Ovich’s headstone. He smokes joints “until the... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...test. He’s always thinking two moves ahead, constantly pursuing perfection. Once, when Kevin complained that Benji’s mother always comes to the hockey games, Mr. Erdahl replied: “My job is to be... (full context)
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...he won’t become spoiled, but today, he looks like “the loneliest boy on earth.” Soon, Benji finds Kevin and doesn’t ask about the fact that Kevin has tears in his eyes.... (full context)
Chapter 18
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
...has the realization that he lacks the speed and strength to perform on this level. Benji, however, plows through a pile of players’ bodies and manages a goal, tying the game.... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...his life, as he realizes that everybody is now looking at Kevin—including Maya. But then Benji skates past and says, “She’ll notice you when we win the final.” As Kevin returns... (full context)
Chapter 19
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...paper. He is calm and professional, giving neutral answers to each question. When asked about Benji concussing one of the opponents, Kevin just says that he didn’t see it happen. (full context)
Chapter 20
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
...He’s having trouble winding down, so he’s firing shots in his garden rink again while Benji sits nearby, rolling joints. (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...into the crowd. When Maya arrives, Kevin goes straight over to greet her. Seeing this, Benji irritably leaves, and all the older girls at the party look hatefully at Maya, too.... (full context)
Chapter 21
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...them wishes they could be like the other. Ana stops drinking quickly. She’s disappointed that Benji has left, and she feels that no matter how hard she tries to “sandpaper” herself,... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji smokes in the middle of the lake for a while. The ice is getting thin... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji winds up at the bar where his sister Katia works, The Barn. Katia can see... (full context)
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
The bass player comes to the bar, and he and Benji talk a little. He tells Benji he’s more interested in something smoking than in alcohol,... (full context)
Chapter 22
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
...abruptly stops ahead of her, she braces as if to be attacked again. But then Benji gets out and comes within ten yards of her. He sees that she’s crying and... (full context)
Chapter 23
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...bothered him, but today, the scratches on his hand are throwing off his shots. When Benji comes over, Kevin is furious that Benji didn’t answer his calls sooner. Benji asks him... (full context)
Chapter 24
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
...morning, a burglar alarm goes off at the school. Jeannette searches the school and discovers Benji sleeping on a couple of desks. He blearily recalls having drunk a lot the night... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...if he’s ready to walk to school. Lyt is overjoyed, since Kevin always walks with Benji. He pulls out a hundred-kronor note and laughs when Kevin takes it. He’s delighted to... (full context)
Chapter 25
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji is startled to see Kevin exiting a school bathroom. He and Kevin have always understood... (full context)
Chapter 26
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...He ends up wandering into the forest, all the way to Adri’s kennels. He sees Benji smoking but doesn’t comment, just praises Saturday’s game. He tells Benji he’s thinking of getting... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Benji tells Sune that just because the team loves David doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have been... (full context)
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
At training that afternoon, Benji doesn’t show up. The players are mostly silent as Lyt lies about a sexual encounter... (full context)
Chapter 27
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Lars wants to discipline Benji for ditching practice, but David says they can’t win the final without him. David picks... (full context)
Chapter 28
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Benji goes to visit his dad’s grave and finds the puck David left there. David started... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji remembers certain crude jokes that Lars told on the team bus, when David laughed along.... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
The puck David has left for Benji only has one word written on it: “Win.” The next day, he returns to practice. (full context)
Chapter 30
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...the way that they do, or perhaps there are thousands of other reasons.” Amat and Benji are the only players who stay quietly seated during the uproar. (full context)
Chapter 31
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Before David can make up his mind what to say to his players, Benji stands up in the middle of the bus and speaks to various teammates in turn.... (full context)
Chapter 32
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...into the rink, but they discover that the corridor is completely dark. Soon they find Benji standing in the doorway of their locker room. He’s not moving. Benji begins systematically punching,... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
When the game starts, the opposing team is so scared of Benji, the “violent lunatic,” that they brace for a collision when he skates toward them, and... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...opposing player. The mother who protested takes her two children to sit further away. After Benji gets a goal in the third period, he immediately skates over and tosses the puck... (full context)
Chapter 33
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
...as they can. Amat blocks shot after shot with his helmet. Bobo collapses in exhaustion. Benji seems to be everywhere at once, playing through pain. But at the end of the... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
Benji lingers on the ice for a long time and, once he makes it back to... (full context)
Chapter 35
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji goes to Hed to see the bass player. After they’ve drunk beer together for a... (full context)
Chapter 36
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
Benji isn’t among the group of junior players. He’s sitting on a wall about 20 yards... (full context)
Chapter 38
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
Benji sees Maya go into the bathroom and hears the sound of shattering glass. He goes... (full context)
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
...bleeding knuckles. A moment later, she hears an explosion of noise from the bathroom as Benji rips a sink out of the wall, destroys a toilet, and throws a trash can... (full context)
Chapter 40
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji goes to the bass player’s rehearsal space in Hed. They spend hours singing drinking songs... (full context)
Chapter 44
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
As Benji, his mom, and his sisters are getting ready to eat dinner together, the doorbell rings,... (full context)
Chapter 46
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji is about to go to Hed to meet up with the bass player, whom he’s... (full context)
Chapter 47
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
David stops at Katia’s bar in hopes of finding Benji there. He’s decided he wants to pass down his own father’s heirloom watch to him.... (full context)
Parents and Children Theme Icon
David longs to drive back to Hed and embrace Benji, but he knows he can’t force him to tell him something he doesn’t want to... (full context)
Chapter 50
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji limps into the Beartown rink on his crutches and finds Peter. He tells Peter that... (full context)
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Later that year, four teenagers are teaching a kids’ skating class: Amat, Zacharias, Bobo, and Benji. Ten years from now, two of them will be professional hockey players, one will be... (full context)