Small Objects: a Literary Analysis of Lullabies for Little Criminals

1099 words 5 pages
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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It is clear that Baby is still mentally and physically a child, but has taken on the role of an adult. Since there is no longer an adult in her life, she is immediately overwhelmed. She does not think seeing Jules is a good idea (O’Neill 311), however, for some reason she is compelled to go to the shelter in which he is residing in. It seems that Baby’s situation may be hopeless. Baby’s arrival to the Mission seems to be the crucial turning point in the novel. She is presented with a family of toy mice, which baby believes to be “by far, the best gift I’d ever gotten” (O’Neill 317). An innocent and beautiful gift, which is exactly what Baby needs, something she has not had in an exceptionally long time. The mice are given along with the knowledge that she will be living Jules’s cousin from now on. The mice represent the possibilities of positive change in Baby’s life. They are symbolic of hope; the possibility that she will find what she needs.
In “Lullabies for Little Criminals,” the use of objects to create symbolic meaning is abundantly evident and illustrates the roles Baby assumes as the novel progresses. She does not experience growing up in the same way most children do. She seems to go from child, to adolescent teen, to adult, in approximately a year. The roles she assumes show her growth in a manner that is unnatural to the reader, and the use of symbolism to show how