Essay on Lullabies for Little Criminals

1582 Words Dec 10th, 2012 7 Pages
Childhood: the most delicate period of our lives. Taylor Shaw 5/4/2012

Childhood is a crucial time in a person’s life and it needs to be kept innocent and pure for the child’s well-being later in life. The most important recurring theme in the novel Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill is the loss of innocence at a young age and the profound complications later in life. The complete loss of innocence is built-up with multiple different experiences over time. For Baby, these experiences are: when she is first exposed to drug use, when she spends time in foster care and when she becomes engaged in prostitution.

The first experience that Baby has which causes her loss of innocence is her first exposure to the
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This experience demonstrates her lack of innocent thoughts, since an innocent child would never ask that question. When Baby asks a boy named Johnny if he would be able to find her some “magic mushrooms”, his response demonstrates how young she really is. He makes fun of her, asking “Are you not just out of diapers?” (76). This quotation shows how she asks questions a twelve year old should never ask, but it also shows how other people see her as a young, innocent child when she really is not. She is not taken seriously by Johnny or any of the people who are older than her, apart from the drug dealers. Consequently, the fact that Baby is exposed to drugs at a young age combined with her early drug use lead to the disintegration of her innocence.

The second experience that Baby has which causes her loss of innocence is being placed in foster care while her father is in the hospital. First of all, while Baby spends time in foster care she is exposed to many sad, disheartening realities about life and her own childhood. Baby is forced to come to terms with many sad realities and she sees things that children should never see while living in foster care. For one, she watches as a boy is beaten up by some bullies and then yelled at by his uncle. After that, the boy sinks into a deep depression, showing Baby a sad side of life. Also, the boy’s uncle asks Baby “...Is he [her dad] still selling weed?” (33). Baby is forced to come to terms
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