Small Objects: a Literary Analysis of Lullabies for Little Criminals

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Small Objects:
A Literary Analysis of “Lullabies for Little Criminals”
In “Lullabies for Little Criminals,” there are many small objects that are relevant to Baby’s life. Objects can have remarkably profound effects on a person’s life, whether they are of sentimental value or another form of personal meaning, they have an impact on us. An object can mean many things to different people. An abandoned doll in a trash bin could be seen as old and ugly to an average person, but to the person who originally owned the doll; it could have been particularly special. In the novel, Heather O’Neil illustrates the effects of such objects on Baby and their symbolic meaning. In “Lullabies for Little Criminals,” there are three objects that
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The gift is a pair of dainty knee-high socks. Baby wants nice things, and these socks were, according to baby, “the first pretty things I’d ever owned” (O’Neill 155). This gift is exhilarating for her. It is an acknowledgment from someone who believed she was attractive, especially coming from Alphonse. According the others in the neighborhood, it was known that Alphonse only looked out for good looking women, so if he took notice of someone, it meant something (O’Neill 148). It is particularly clear to the reader that Alphonse likely has ulterior motives, but to baby Alphonse is simply someone who likes her. The socks remind Baby that she is pretty, and she is proud of the fact that an older man found her attractive. In turn, this causes baby to trust Alphonse and fall for his manipulation, leading towards what could be a life of prostitution. The socks are symbolic of Baby being forced into adulthood. Baby is still young and naive; she has no way of understanding what Alphonse is attempting to do. Therefore, the socks may also represent Baby’s vulnerability and lack of ability to judge character. At this point in the novel, Baby has not had a proper childhood or even learned any of what it means to be a teenage person, and now she is already being pushed into adulthood. After Alphonse dies in the hotel room, Baby does not know what to do. She is lost without an

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