Okay. Now that I have read through the whole novel, lullabies for little criminals by Heather O’Neill, analyzing it through: reader response, archetypal theory, and feminist theory I believe that all of the theories were great in their own way. The theories listed above allowed me to look at the text through multiple different lenses. However, I personally found feminist theory to be the most effective in enabling me to delve deeper into the text.
(If you have yet to read my feminist theory blog post I’ve linked it above)
While reading lullabies for little criminals through a feminist lens I was able to make connections to history, and our progress/recession over time. I was unable to do this with the other theories due to the fact that they did not allow me to dig deep enough into the text. With reader response it was more of a connection with the events happening throughout the novel, however, I cannot provide enough insight with this. Through archetypal theory I was able to find some archetypes but I feel as if I was unable to analyze why they were chosen properly. Instead I listed all of the archetypes I found rather than listing a few, and explaining the significance.
Feminist theory on the other hand was easy for me to delve deeper. Through this theory I was able to connect the text back to historical events/views of women and how they still linger around in present day life. Women are still paid less then men, cat called, viewed as sexual objects, and more but I will not bore you with the endless list. Throughout history women have been seen as sexual objects here to serve the needs of men. Now that we are in the 21st century we have came far along on the road to having women and men seen as equals rather than having one viewed as inferior.
The one question I really have for O’Neill would be “Why was there no strong feminine role in the novel?”
Due to the fact that Baby didn’t have a mother, nor did she have a female friend that stayed with her throughout the novel she grew up in a world influenced by men. There was no female role model to look up to which explains her ignorance to the fact that she was being used by Alphonse.
Baby could have greatly benefited from this because she would have had a role model in her life that she could look up to and ask for help. The only constant’s in her life were males, who I feel did not understand her well enough, as well as the fact that they did not understand what it is like to be a girl, and the pressures put on us to meet certain standards. Baby really needed a Katherine Hepburn in her life to look up to. She stood up for what she believed in, and did not let anyone tell her what to do. Hepburn did what she wanted, because she wanted to. “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” (2). Remember that Katherine Hepburn was born in 1907, so she grew up in a society that told women how they were supposed to act and how they should look. This is still an issue in the 21st century, however, it is not as apparent as it was back in the early 1900’s. She showed the world that you can do what you set your mind to, and that you can be n independent woman. If Baby had someone like her in her life, she may have been less dependent on Alphonse throughout the majority of the novel (3).
And finally, I personally believe that Feminist theory provided the most insight into the text due to the fact that sexism is so common in every day life. Everyone experiences it at some point in their life; wither it is happening to them, they are the ones being sexist, or they witness it. Therefore, this is the easiest theory to connect with.
(1) http://gifboss.com/go-either-way (first gif)
(3) lullabies for little criminals by Heather O’Neill