I have finished reading Lullabies for Little Criminals and I can honestly say that i was one of the better books I have read. The novel is about this girl named Baby who goes through a lot for a girl who is still every young. But like most good books it ends off with a positive ending in her life. The two characters the story revolves mainly are Baby and her father Jules, who isn’t the greatest father. Throughout the book Baby is trying to make better with her life but instead she is perceived in a typical women role and because of that no one believes in her due to her gender. As I got deeper and deeper into the book feminism was starting to play a bigger role in the story line. Baby is being seen in two roles that are considered “typical” for a woman. She is seen as a servant and a sex object. Baby is still valued as a human don’t get me wrong, but she is valued at a low level with the two main influences in her life being men she is taken advantage of time and time again.
You don’t have to be an expert to see the Jules is not a good father for Baby. constantly being in and out of rehab, moving from apartment to apartment, going from job to job. But overall Jules was absent for most of Baby’s childhood whether it was being in rehab or off doing drugs. But the worst part out of all of this is that Jules sees his daughter as if she was his own personal assistant. Jules was always telling Baby what to do. Now even though that is technically what parents do like telling their kids to clean up their room or something. But he was doing it in a very negative way. In the novel it says “Why don’t you wash these dishes!” he screamed at me[…] You try and talk to me like that to impress your friends. You want to look down on me! […] You disgust me.” (O’Neill 99) Jules isn’t seeing his daughter as he should, he isn’t viewing her as his young girl that need his love and attention. But instead he is viewing her as a bag of luggage that he has to talk with him everywhere he goes. Jules takes advantage of his daughter because he knows he has all the power over her and she can’t defend herself from her own father. Unfortunately Baby is now viewed as a ‘housewife’ in her very young age, which isn’t right for a woman of any age especially if they want to be something more.
Throughout the book Baby also got involved with a guy named Alphonse. Alphonse is a well known pimp in Montreal and he has a way to persuade women to come and work for him. The way Alphonse is keeping Baby on his ‘team’ is by constantly buying her gifts. Alphonse believes that if he keeps giving her gifts that she will just be like putty in his hands. Alphonse says ” I think that you should trust me. I got a nice place and you’ve always got a place to come to if you need some time to get away from things.” (O’Neill 161). Baby is being treat as an item that can be bought into doing things of his pleasure. As their relationship starts to build Alphonse starts to make Baby do some negative activities that she isn’t comfortable with. Activities that include doing drugs and drinking alcohol, it is due to Alphonse’s negative influence on Baby is what turns her into a prostitute. The most difficult part about this is, is that Baby is only 12 years old! This just simply isn’t right, she is just to young and naive that people are taking advantage of her in multiple different ways and in this case it is in the form of making money. Alphonse is treating Baby as a sex object and is taking advantage of her gender and how young she is. He keeps her happy by constantly giving her gifts to distract her from what is really going on.
The image of the women in this book is that they as a gender are seen as objects that are placed in stereotypical roles. Throughout the book Baby is treated as if her thoughts and values aren’t respected. Now everything she does is influenced by two males that have don’t have Baby’s interests at heart. As the story goes on and on it is quite easy to see that women characters are viewed as ‘objects’ that can easily persuaded into doing anything the man wants. The book shows the typical roles that women are usually placed in by diminishing their power as a person.
O’Neill, Heather. Lullabies for Little Criminals: A Novel. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. Print.