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Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’neill

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Marc Showman

R. Lengyell


Friday, October 13, 2017

Novel Response

My novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill is one with both an intriguing title and cover. The title of my novel gives one the idea of a prepubescent criminal and with the colourful cover of a little girl jumping rope, my mind just wanted to know what on earth this girl could do that could be a criminal offence. After starting to read the book, I learned that the novel is narrated by Baby, the 13-year-old daughter of single father and heroin addict Jules. Baby’s mother died shortly after giving birth and not much has been mentioned about her. As far as relating to myself I would have a very difficult time as I do not have a heroin-addicted father or a deceased mother. I can, however, relate it to the American TV show “Shameless”. The TV show is all about a family of 7, with a mother is “dead to me” according to the whole family as she disappeared when the kids were a young age and would come and go as she pleased. Frank, who is the father of the 5 kids on the shower, is a severe alcoholic and like Jules, is a very on and off affectionate father. Both Jules and Frank have substance abuse problems and love their kids very much, but they contrast as Frank hates his kids when he is drunk whereas Jules loves his daughter when he is high on heroin. The show Shameless has 7 seasons, and when you binge watch a TV show so much you feel like you are apart of their world, and you feel the same intensity of emotions as the characters in the show. Although I can not relate to having a substance-abusing parent, I feel connecting it to Shameless helps me relate to Baby and understand how she feels.

The theory of Marxism is quite clear in this text and is shown in the relationship of characters Baby and Jules. Baby is so clearly in the subordinate class in the novel as everything that comes out of her mouth is completely ignored by the dominant class, the adults. Baby has no control over her life whenever Jules is involved, or any adult for that fact. When Baby is staying at a foster home, the guardian in charge of the children intellectualizes the idea that these children might actually have something important to say. The title of this book gives the reader the idea that the criminal mentioned in this book, who is supposedly Baby, is evil or an unpleasant character. But after reading this book in the first person and knowing all her thoughts and seeing her world through her eyes and trying to relate to it, the proposal that this innocent little girl going from foster home to foster home can be a criminal becomes more realistic. Marxism is not the only theory present in this novel, the Psychoanalytical theory is also existent throughout the book. In the novel, Baby suffers Electra complex, despite the fact that she has no idea who he mother is or what she looks like, it does occur with Baby’s “love” interest (or might I say like-like interest), Theo. No, Baby does not like-like a heroin addict, but she is “dating” a young boy named Theo, who



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