The Complex Character Of Lester Ballard's 'Child Of God'

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The protagonist of "Child of God," Lester Ballard has an undoubtedly more complex character than others around him but it does not necessarily define him as mentally ill. Even though his actions give the impression of being a sociopath, who lacks empathy and his appearance is similar to someone that does not have conscience and not so hygienic, often times the townspeople and even the third person narrator suggests that he may be mentally ill. Lester’s actions are devoid of any logic and unaccepted by almost everyone. Throughout the story, he has been called names that may be associated with people that are truly mentally ill, lacking a conscience; it illustrates him as someone actually being mentally ill. For instance, the narrator says, “He looked half crazy.” (McCarthy, 15) In this case, something as simple as his appearance was enough to draw a conclusion that he is “crazy.” He does strange things that almost no one considers acceptable and may appear as mentally ill behavior. For example, when interrogating him after the murders, one of the first questions that he is asked about the dead bodies was “Was you fuckin em?” (McCarthy, 182) Since the townspeople are aware of his unusual behavior, it came to them easily that it is possible for him to do such sickening deed to the dead bodies. He has been stamped as being troubled from very early age in his life. “They say he was never right after his daddy killed hisself” (McCarthy, 21) It shows that Lester may have suffered

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