Child of God Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the scene created by McCarthy at the beginning of the novel.

At the beginning of Child of God, a group of townsfolk gathers at a plot of land that is up for auction. The auctioneer sets up on the back of a pickup truck with a microphone, and a set of musicians plays in the background. The entire scene his the atmosphere of a carnival.

2. Describe Lester Ballard.

Lester Ballard is a short, filthy, unshaven man of English-Irish descent. He is antisocial and derelict, and he carries a rifle with him at all times. As such, an aura of danger hovers around him, as he profanely shouts at people and seems drawn by his libido to uncouthly stare and antagonize.

3. How is Lester Ballard's neck injured?

Lester Ballard interrupts the auctioning of his land, threatening the auctioneer and cursing the crowd. He grows progressively more unruly, until Buster, a man in the crowd, punches him in the face, knocking him unconscious. The blow does some sort of damage to Ballard's neck, rendering him unable to turn his head easily.

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