Study Guide

Ben in The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1)

By Patrick Ness


Thank goodness for Ben, Todd's kindly surrogate father. Key word here is kind. Why? Because Ben's from Prentisstown, that's why, and in Prentisstown, kindness makes you pretty exceptional.

When Todd describes Ben he says, "I can't describe [him] much further without seeming soft and stupid and like a boy, so I won't, just to say that I never knew my pa, but if you woke up one day and had a choice of picking one from a selecshun… then Ben wouldn't be the worst choice you could make that morning" (3.47). Which is Todd's way of saying that he loves Ben beyond measure.

Ben is peaceful and kind, unlike the other men in Prentisstown, and unlike Cillian, who has helped raise Todd, too. Ben's somehow able to rise above the misery of his fellow townsmen. This is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that, unlike the others, his Noise is "like laying down in a brook on a hot day" (3.52). To really appreciate this contrast, be sure to read up on Todd elsewhere in this section.

Thanks to Ben, Todd has an example not only of goodness in Prentisstown—but proof that goodness, in fact, exists.