After completing the novel and seeing how the story came to close, I believe that the feminist literary theory is very prominent in this book. In the story anti women and pro men are the outstanding themes and although the novel portrays good morals, these themes should not factor in on how you look at the reality of life. The feminist theory focuses on the way the woman are being treated in the novel, what roles they were involved in, and whether or not the men or women hold power in the story. All of which is very important in the novel.
The story Lullabies for Little Criminals, Baby’s personality was built from a very young age when her mother died before she was born, which is clear why she has such a strong and loving connection towards her aggressive father develop into an unfortunate series of sexual, emotional, and psychological hardships, this helps Baby believe that men are more superior than women. Baby’s world is surrounded by drugs, hardship, and prostitution. From my last post I introduced a pimp, Alphonse. He manipulates Baby into selling her body for sexual intentions. She ends up losing her virginity at an extremely young age because of the man who hold power over her.
Prostitute on the job
Alphonse first met baby by forcing her into a vehicle with a stranger, while in the car the man asks for her name and age, where she lies and says she fifteen, but she is only thirteen at that time. He then says, “I want to have sex with you, I’ll give you a hundred bucks.” (O’Neill 219) The men in the novel take advantage of females despite their age and the man Baby associates herself with. Alphonse spends time to objectify her and to use her to collect his earnings from her as she is selling her body for sex. One day Baby thought to herself, “I didn’t even feel like a prostitute. A prostitute stands there all night looking for people. A prostitute wears a sparkly silver jacket and high heels, not a tacky winter hat and snow boots” (O’Neill 227). Alphonse is a huge negative impact on Baby’s life he makes her believe that everything that she’s doing is okay, and in fact is normal. He also makes Baby believe that since she isn’t financially stabled, this is the only logical way of having a sustainable life. Alphonse is also very abusive towards Baby when she doesn’t listen to he has to say, he would hurt her in many violent ways, “He jumped up, grabbed my arm, and started pulling me down the hall… He pushed me into an opened closet in the hall and slammed the door shut” (O’Neill 275).
In the novel the female characters are portrayed as sex icons, essentially all the working women are prostitutes or caregivers who Baby has lived with in the past. An example of this is when Baby lived with a woman named Isabelle, she is a care giver at a foster home and nothing more. This is an accurate example of a female doing a “traditional” female job.
The most unmistakable role a few women played in the novel was the sex icon. Baby is not only a prostitute that works for Alphonse but she is also very intimate with him as well. He forced her into doing sexual activities with him when they were watching a movie “Alphonse reached over and took my hand. He guided it between his legs, and I had to rub there during the movie. I hoped it would make up for having shown up late” (O’Neill 238). Baby says she, “felt dirty and uncomfortable” (O’Neill 238) It was very obvious that people around her were uncomfortable and judging her, she didn’t want to upset him but this wasn’t just a one time thing it made baby feel very bitter with Alphonse presence “He was too close to me, and I felt as if I was suffocating” (O’Neill 255). Alphonse manipulates baby and makes her stay in his house to “keep her safe” their relationship is unfair and makes baby feel like she’s suffocating.
Baby suffocating in her relationship
In this story it clearly demonstrates that men are more superior than women it also makes it seem like it is a disgrace to be a female. This novel may be set in a impoverish society, but women shouldn’t have to sell their body to have a sustainable lifestyle.
O’Neill, Heather. Lullabies for Little Criminals: a Novel. HarperCollins, 2006, New York. Prin