Wednesday, September 4, 2019
The Motivation of Lester in Child of God :: Child
The Motivation of Lester in Child of GodÃ Ã In the novel, Child of God. Lester Ballard committed heinous crimes against innocent victims. He murdered people in cold-blooded fashion and raped women when they were dead. What makes a human being do this may tell us a lot about criminals and humans themselves. In this paper I will try and analyze some of the core issues that lie at the heart of this story. Why did Ballard do what he did, to what extent is he responsible and what should have been his punishment. From birth, Lester Ballard seemed to have been cursed with misfortune. His mother had run away from home when he was an infant and his father hung himself when he was about nine or ten years old. Lester actually had to see his father hanging from the ceiling. That would leave a permanent scar on any child, including Ballard, as the author notes, "They say he never was right after his daddy killed hisself." (21) From then on, Ballard seems to have gone where life took him. What he suffered from was a total lack of awareness. Ballard was a well before he understood what that word meant and he never learned the concept in his entire life. He did not know what things meant, did not even know what happened. Every signal he got from the outside community was telling him that he did not belong there, that he was not accepted. Even when Ballard enters a church service, a setting where people are accepted and loved, he was rejected for who he was. People spoke about him in whispers, "A windy ruffle of whispers went among them." (31). His community, through rejection victimized Ballard. Rejection may well be the most potent form of victimization since it cuts off the air to out most cherished need of connection and love. Connecting Ballard's background and childhood to his crimes is a difficult task. Other than his parents, we are not told too much about what else he went through when he was a child. From the bizarre nature of his crimes, he seems to have to have been through intense suffering and agony. A lot of his crimes were committed against women. He raped women, but only after killing them. A living woman might have been too much for Ballard to handle; the risk of rejection would have been too great for him.