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The Victims in McCarthy's Child of God Essay

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The Victims in McCarthy's Child of God

In Cormac McCarthy's Child of God, Lester Ballard is a recluse who is shunned by the people of his community. Because of his morose nature and his bizarre habits, he stands out among the small rural community. The rejected Ballard turns from being a harmless recluse to a murderer. While he is clearly a victimizer, he is also a victim himself. He is the victim of his own ostracization from the community that he was a part of. While the victimization that he suffers cannot justify his violent actions, it provides some explanation of how Ballard has reached the point of being a victimizer himself.

Lester Ballard is a loner who is forced off his property and takes refuge in an abandoned barn
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Ballard's unusual tendencies seem to have been accelerated by his social isolation. Many of his actions reveal that he is attempting to deal with the loneliness that he suffers as a result of his isolation.

It is because of the unusual qualities of Ballard that his community has both consciously and unconsciously acted to isolate him. Lester Ballard stands out, and most of the people do not want themselves to be compared to him or associated with him in any way. Ballard's early life is what has shaped him into the ostracized loner that he has become. During his early childhood his mother left home, and his father hung himself. Upon discovering the body, Ballard spoke of the discovery in a manner that "you'd tell it was rainin out"according to the narrator. At this early age, Ballard was exposed to the morbidness that would become commonplace in the later years of his life. In the years that followed Ballard attended school where he would get into fights with some of the other students. Throughout his life Ballard shows his preference for living as a loner on his family's farm. After he is arrested for some petty offenses, the county confiscates Ballard's land. Ballard protests this and is dragged away from his land while holding a shot gun in his arms. Having lost his land, Ballard loses the security of the life that he once knew.

Not having anywhere to go, and being a social outcast, Ballard takes refuge in the old barn within the
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