What is Babalu the Bad's background in Daughter of Fortune?

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Daughter of Fortune is a novel by Isabel Allende. Babalu the Bad is an important character—a bouncer and handyman at madam Joe Bonecrusher's brothel.

Babalu the Bad is from Chicago and he has been to prison for stealing cattle. He had already walked across the country before such long treks became common during the Gold Rush. He is almost illiterate and can barely sign his name. However, he has picked up several Indian languages during his cross-country treks.

Babalu the Bad has tried his hand at different jobs. He has worked as a strongman in a traveling circus where his feats of strength included lifting a horse over his head or pulling a wagon filled with sand with his teeth. For a period, he works as a stevedore on the docks in San Francisco. It is here that he gets acquainted with madam Joe Bonecrusher and decides to work with her, protecting the traveling business from unruly and unscrupulous customers.

Readers learn that he was once a decent and timid person who got picked upon despite his height. He changes things around for himself by lifting weights to gain bulk and adopting a meaner attitude. This change in his personality occurs when he is around twenty years old.

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