The novel Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill is narrated by Baby -- the 12 year old protagonist and daughter of a single father and heroin addict, Jules. Baby never knew her mother and is unaware that she has any other family. They live in various dilapidated hotels in Montreal’s red light district.
As Karl Marx famously said “[People] make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past." Likewise, the foundation that affected Baby’s development was fractured prior to her birth. Baby was born in an unstable and derelict environment, paired with minimal parental support from a heroin…show more content… This significantly affected the choices she made -- especially during the formative years of twelve and thirteen years old. Consequently, her understanding of social and moral values deviated from societal norms. This paper is an exploration of the pathway effects caused by lack of familial support and how Jules addiction created a milieu that leads to Baby being ostracised by society. Suggestions are offered to alleviate their struggles.
Baby strongly believes a mother will make a positive difference in her life sadly; her ideal qualities of a mother were likened to a pimp. Baby remarked “When Alphonse came into my life, it strangely felt a little bit like he was a mother figure. Every good pimp is a mother. When Alphonse spoke to me his voice always had the same tempo as a lullaby” ( O’Neill, 2006, pg 186). When children are neglected, they accept and follow those who take interest in them. “Children look to their environment to decide what is right” (Johnson, A. G. 2008, pg 15) . Baby’s examples of acceptable behaviours were derived from an environment inundated with prostitutes and drug addicts which negatively impacted her well-being. By her own admission