If you have yet to read my first post about “lullabies for little criminals” then read it now before this one because you will be missing important information.
Baby is a very complex character, because she displays many different archetypes throughout the book. The ones I will be talking about in this post are: The Fool, and The Loner.
Baby represents The Fool, because she is young in age (13) she loves her freedom, and she seeks a playmate (which she found in Theo, and Alphonse). Theo is the jokester, and reminds Baby of her father because they would joke around all of the time, which was apart of their relationship. “Who knows why I found that funny, but I did.” (O’Neill, 109). Baby found Theo’s joke where he got hit by a car, and calling the driver a pervert because he was struck by the car in his butt. “He just lay on the ground. The driver of the car came out of his car all traumatized. Theo lay there writhing in mock pain. “You hit me in the a** man! How am I ever going to sit down on a toilet now? You hit my a**, you pervert! You touched my no-no zone.” ” (O’Neill, 108). She is drawn too Alphonse, a pimp, because if he liked a girl in their neighbor hood, they were the prettiest girl there. Additionally, he ignored Baby when she was younger, and was one of the few adults in her world that did. She wanted his approval, so she perused his attention, which she successfully got. She was a fool, because she wanted the approval of a pimp. She could have tried to better her relationship with Jules, or maybe Theo, but instead she chose a pimp. This can also be viewed in a feminist point of view (which I will do next blog post) because she feels like she needs the approval of a man to feel beautiful, even though she is beautiful just the way she is.
Baby also represents The Loner, because she finds it hard to fit in with others, and will often try to fit in with a crowd, even it means doing something that makes her extremely uncomfortable. While Baby was in the detention center, the kids only had one rule “Everyone stripped when their name came up.” (O’Neill, 196). Baby felt that she couldn’t say no, because they would exile her like they did to Bing. “Once a boy named Bing had refused to go to the room to strip. Everybody ignored him now and wouldn’t even look at him in the cafeteria. He sat in his black t-shirt looking sadly out the window.” (O’Neill, 196). She was peer pressured into stripping in front of everyone, and didn’t even think of the fact that she could have joined Bing, and not stripped in front of the others, because she was hoping her name wouldn’t be drawn. “I had been dreading my name coming up, but I was glad to be able to get it over with.” (O’Neill, 196). She had the choice to not partake in the stripping, however she decided to suck it up so she could avoid being the loner.
I still love this book, because I am able to live vicariously through Baby, because of how contrasting our lives are. I can however relate to her wanting to “grow up” and be a woman instead of a little girl. When I was 13, I couldn’t wait to be 17. I thought it was the perfect age; i would be past the “sweet sixteen” and it would be just before 18 where I felt that I would have to grow up instantly. Baby also was lacking a protector” in her life, because Jules, her father, no longer showed Baby the love that he once did, and blamed her for literally everything. I had and still have protective parents, but my past relationships have not been so “peachy”, so now I subconsciously look for someone who can protect me.
I really appreciate Baby’s character, because of how complex she is, even at such a young age. O’Neill is an amazing writer, especially since she could come up with such a diverse character that every reader will be able to connect to in some way shape or form. I am excited to continue reading, because I will be analyzing the text in a feminist lens.