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The Victims in McCarthy’s Child of God

The Victims in McCarthy’s Child of God

In Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, Lester Ballard is a recluse who is shunned by the people of his community. Because of his morose nature and his bizarre habits, he stands out among the small rural community. The rejected Ballard turns from being a harmless recluse to a murderer. While he is clearly a victimizer, he is also a victim himself. He is the victim of his own ostracization from the community that he was a part of. While the victimization that he suffers cannot justify his violent actions, it provides some explanation of how Ballard has reached the point of being a victimizer himself.

Lester Ballard is a loner who is forced off his property and takes refuge in an abandoned barn hidden in the woods. He does not have a job and often has difficulty in his associations with the people of his own town. He supports himself from day to day on what provisions he can find in the woods and what he can manage to afford from town. He spends his days wandering through the woods or through town. He rarely associates with any locals and he takes more delight in whisky than in the presence of others. A couple of stuffed animals that he wins at a fair take their place as his only company. The corpse of a young woman that he stumbles upon in the woods becomes his first sexual companion. Ballard treats the corpse as he would a wife, buying clothes for her, whispering into her ear, and laying her down beside him when he goes to sleep. While these actions seem deranged, they also seem to be his way of finding the nearest replacements to the social company that he has been denied in life. Unlike the young women in town, the dead corpse of a woman cannot make fun of him or be insulted by his …

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…e would suffer. The people of his community always had low expectations of Ballard to begin with, and they gave him no reason to fear what they might think of him.

Lester Ballard is a victimizer of innocent people, and this is the result of his own isolation . Although little insight into his mind is provided, the existing evidence of his way of life has provided some explanations into why he has committed these crimes. The members of his community, wanting to distance themselves from any association with Ballard, has coincided with the evolution of his bizarre actions. Thus Ballard is completely unrestrained by any concept of helping society. He is the product of a society that has turned its back on an individual that they would rather look down upon than be associated with.

Works Cited:

McCarthy, Cormac. Child of God. New York: Vintage Books, 1973.

feminaw Feminist Reading of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

A Feminist Reading of The Awakening

The Awakening is not new to me. However, in the class when I read it before the instructor refused to entertain a feminist criticism. The theory presented was that Edna knew what kind of man she was marrying and all these things she went through: her friendship with Madame Reisz leaving the house, entertaining her friends at the party, her situation with Robert and Arobin were all selfish efforts toward the ultimate freedom which is death.

I feel Chopin faults Leonce as much as Edna for Edna’s problems. He is a cold fish. He is controlling and he puts on a show for friends and neighbors “proving” he is a model husband which he is not. He is Creole and I think Edna, being as reserve as she is, is not the best mate for him. He possibly needs an outwardly passionate woman to keep him interested and alive as a husband. For a Creole he is reserve and he does not know how to respond to Edna’s reserve.

By the end of chapter V we know the Pontelliers have problems and we know Robert is sympathetic towards Edna merely because she is a woman and he likes women. We have also seen the “ideal” woman in the person of Madame Ragtignolle. Chapter VI is very different. Chopin lets us know that Edna has begun to realize her world and its relationships are less than desirable. She and Leonce don’t have a happy, fulfilling marriage. She is not the mother-earth type and can not appreciate her children. Although, some of the problem here is because Leonce undermines her mothering efforts and has done so from the beginning. His mother epitomizes motherhood and no one can measure up. I doubt she would have been a demonstrative mother but she would have been a loving one. The last paragraph of Ch…

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… the very end of the story just before Edna enters the ocean for the last time End watches the coast. There is no living thing all along the beach, but there is a bird, a wild free bird, with a broken wing who ”was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water .” Even the wild birds need support. End had no support, just like this bird and her fate is the same “down, down into the water.”I’m hung up on the lack of communication between Edna and Leonce. I wonder if Leonce has a comparable story of misery.

In the first several chapters Edna says four lines and they are in response to someone or something else. They are not ideas originating with her. Leonce’s words to Edna are aimed at control. He goes off to the hotel and says he’ll be back whenever This leaves her waiting for his next move, his next demand (request).

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