Grew up… in hard times. The fatherless Ben never had a stable life, though even as a child he displayed miraculous healing powers. He spent most of his youth drifting between his mother’s barren Oklahoma farm and the local jail. When he got word of his mother’s fatal illness, the daring Ben broke free of his chain gang to be at her bedside while she died.
Living… with a traveling carnival. The troupe of carnies serendipitously found Ben at the moment he needed them most, and graciously took him aboard despite their paucity of food, fuel and supplies.
Profession… hired hand at the traveling carnival. Ben is at first seen as nothing more than a nuisance to the rest of the troupe, another hungry body to feed. Though he is kept on by the insistence of “Management,” the mysterious spiritual force that leads the motley crew. Management’s interest may be because Ben’s healing abilities and strange dreams and visions mark him as a potentially extraordinary force.
Relationship Status… drawn to the young fortune-teller, Sofie. Ben is much desired among the female members of Carnivàle’s troupe, but he finds himself attracted to (and partially disturbed by) Sofie and her catatonic mother, Apollonia. It seems that they were destined to cross paths.
Challenge… discovering his purpose. Ben, despite his tumultuousness, feels that he’s run into the magical group of carnies for a reason. He wants to find out why he’s been burdened with vivid nightmares. “No, I ain’t no angel,” he admits, “that’s for sure.” But he just may be a religious figure of some kind.
Personality… quick to anger. Ben shows the defensiveness that’s common in those with troubled childhoods. He is scared of himself and the mysterious aura that follows him around. He’s been given a great power, but he doesn’t know how to use it. As he says in his Oklahoma drawl, “Everything’s impossible, ‘till it ain’t.”
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