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Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10 
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Post Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
LOST MEMORY OF SKIN

Russell Banks

Part one, chapters; eight, nine and ten



Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:39 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
We are beginning to see more indications of the crime committed by the Kid. First, his dismissal from the army for distributing porn. As a boy growing up, the Kid was exposed to promiscuous behavior by his mother as well as unlimited access to the internet and explicit porn. He was also a loner and school and his intelligence level is not that high. It is no wonder that he had no realization about the hypocrisy of the society where explicit sex was readily available to him but somehow he was supposed to know not to be tempted. His reading of the story of Adam and Eve fits in well with this.

Then we learn that, or it is hinted that, he had sex with 14 year-olds. Earlier, in the cafe scene where he is sexually attracted to young, sexy girls who are flirting with him, we see the guilt that he carries for this and he later imagines that he might somehow go down hill, being attracted to ever younger girls, until he is one of those vile men, kiddy bangers, when in fact, he is most likely quite a normal 20+ year-old with normal sexual desires that he has had no one to help him understand and deal with.

Statutory rape or corruption of a minor or one of the other names charges relating to consensual sex go by, is a confusing crime. Depending where you live, you could be a sexual offender, or a law abiding citizen having normal sexual relations. In Canada, the age now is 16 for consent, but as recently as 20008 it was just 14. In the US it varies by state from 16 to 18. There are also all kinds of close-age related clauses that also vary. Another variable is the nature of the relationship between the two parties involved. It is easy to see why we want to charge a 40 year coach who is having sex with his 15 year-old student, but it becomes more and more grey when you are charging a 20 year-old. Girls often mature physically and emotionally much faster than boys during the teenage years and so a 15 year-old girl could easily be as fully mature as a 20 year-old male. Charging that male with a crime for consensual sex becomes very uncomfortable.

Here are some examples of how different the laws can be:

Here is California: A Person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under age 18 and the actor is not more than three years older or three years younger, is guilty of a misdemeanor

Anyone who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under age 18 who is more than three years younger than the actor is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony

Any person 21 years of age or older who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 16 years of age is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony

Here is Deleware:
Fourth-degree rape to have sexual intercourse with (1) someone under age 16 or (2) someone under age 18 and the actor is at least 30 years older.

Third-degree rape to have sexual intercourse with a (1) victim under age 16 if the actor is at least 10 years older or (2) victim under age 14 if the actor is age 19 or older.

Second-degree rape to sexually penetrate a person under age 12 if the actor is 18 or older.

First-degree rape to have sexual intercourse with a person under age 12 if the actor is age 18 or older.



Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:43 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
Thanks for the information about the law around underage sex crimes - I also did a bit of reading about this and the law is very complicated and quite variable between jurisdictions. Perhaps the complexity and variability reflects the difficulty of finding 'just' ways to deal with this problem and the underlying doubts in society about how to deal with it. I was not aware that age difference was such a significant legal factor. Now that the Kid is 22, he is beyond the age range where he would get any 'break' for his own youth or closeness in age with the girl involved. And at 22 he is a man, albeit with maturation issues, but still society and the legal system will see him as a man and judge accordingly.This, and the fact that he would be a repeat offender, means he is right to fear the consequences of any slide toward involvement with underage girls, such as might have occurred when he was approached by the two roller bladers.

I think Banks has deliberately been unclear, at last in Part I, about the exact nature of the Kid's sexual crime. This may be a device to encourage the reader's liking of the Kid and our sympathy. As mentioned elsewhere, even the use of the Kid as a nickname is likely designed to curry sympathy because it suggests vulnerability and naivete.

A couple people have mentioned that the Kid may not be too intelligent. I don't see him this way. I think his horrible familiy life and upbringing, if it could be called that, ruined his chances of a meaningful education, so this may handicap him, but in his conversations with people I see some intelligent insight. Also, his lack of maturity and social development generally may cause him to make bad decisions or to say things that are inappropriate but I don't take this as a reflection on his intelligence.

I like the closing of chapter 10, when he is planning the next day where he will start by packing up his tent and move on to a new spot, I found this quite touching.



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Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:10 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
Quote:
A couple people have mentioned that the Kid may not be too intelligent. I don't see him this way. I think his horrible familiy life and upbringing, if it could be called that, ruined his chances of a meaningful education, so this may handicap him, but in his conversations with people I see some intelligent insight. Also, his lack of maturity and social development generally may cause him to make bad decisions or to say things that are inappropriate but I don't take this as a reflection on his intelligence.


You might be right about this. I see conflicting evidence, almost as if Banks is deliberately being evasive on this. It is often is hard to distinguish lack of intelligence from ignorance, and this might be what Banks is trying to point out.



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Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:51 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
The Kid is definitely a survivor. Perhaps you're right and he is more ignorant than unintelligent. However, he doesn't seem to be able to use the knowledge that he does have to make good decisions. For instance, he should have been able to deduce that he would get in trouble for handing out the pornography to the other soldiers and he knew that he shouldn't have gone to the young girls house. He seems to be his own worst enemy.



Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:01 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
I think Kid is intelligent. He just does not make the best decisions. He let his mouth cause him to lose the job he loved. He let his sexual urges ruin his whole life. He now finds himself totally alone, after Iggy was killed, and with no place to go.

We get a glimpse of Kis' offense when he questions the laws that do not allow trying to have sex with 14 year olds. He tries to raionalize what he has done by convincing himself he is not immoral, which I don't believe he is. I think he's just a mixed up kid.

He parallels his temptations with Adam's temptations to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The Professor comes to him and Kid agrees to answer some of his questions.



Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:37 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
The suggestion of explicit sexual behavior is everywhere - sometimes advertisements for simple products employ sexual matters.

..................

Somehow the idea of an 19 year old boy having sex with a 14 year old girl is NOT something I'd consider as being rape. The 14 year old girl is just as much to blame - like I say, any kid over the age of 7 knows the difference 'tween right and wrong.

My eldest daughter once got into a situation - she was about 14 or 15 when she and her sister lived with their father in a condo building with high security.

She told me herself she'd been flirting with a very young man (around 20 or so) who was on night duty as a security guard at the condo complex. She told me she'd snuck out of their unit in the late hours and joined this young man at his desk, after her father and sister had gone to sleep.

A few weeks later her father informed me he'd pressed charges and they were going to court. Seems this young man had kissed my daughter! He was newly married with a baby.

I informed my ex husband that my daughter had told me what had been going on - that she'd been visiting him at night - he hadn't exactly forced himself on her!

When she told me about all this, I thought it had been an isolated thing - that she'd gone out to the lobby of the building a couple of times or so - I didn't know it had gone that far.

Her father withdrew charges after I told him that our daughter had been part and parcel of this illicit flirtation.

The young man lost his job, of course, but I didn't think it was fair for him to be thrown in jail for it.

I was none too pleased with my daughter's part in this either. I was pretty annoyed with that one.

My daughter, of course, being the attention junkie she was, was enjoying the entertainment. She didn't realize the extent of the trouble she was causing till it was about to go into court.


..............



Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:03 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
Banks seems to be trying to show how pervasive sex is through the scenes in Benbow and the ease of access to pornography on the Internet. Where is the line drawn and how does society decide what age is legal or illegal?



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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
There is definitely an encouragement of sympathy with Kid. He is a naive young adult. He describes the prohibitions on places sex offenders can live. He also describes his lack of knowledge of the rules of man. Kid states there are things he just did not know were wrong. Her views getting in trouble with porn in the military as breaking a contract where he did not read the fine print.

Noting Kid's loss of his only friend in Iggy, I wonder if and how this may effect Kid's relationships. He already mentions he feels invisible. Well he begin to lose even more of his identity our will he seek out others to connect with?

Of interest to myself is his analogy , possibly unknowingly, of himself and Adam. He dreams that Adam has left the serpent to die at the hands of the police and is bad for this. This shows how Kid feels for the death of Iggy. He also, in the same dream, sees We've as a temptress getting Adam in trouble. Kid appears to feel he had been tempted and is a victim for his crime. I think this gives us a view into his psychology.

A few people have stated he has not made the best choices. I don't see anyone adult figure as having shown him how to make good and healthy decisions. His own mother had sex with several men in front of him. Most of his home life seems to have revolved around sex, whether his use of porn or his mother's sexual encounters.

It seems that Banks is definitely encouraging a sympathy of Kid whereas most people may automatically equate sex offenders with evil. It is often not thought about that there may be factors at play that influence people's unacceptable behaviors. This is something Banks confronts us with.



Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:39 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
Tigerlily22 wrote:
Of interest to myself is his analogy , possibly unknowingly, of himself and Adam. He dreams that Adam has left the serpent to die at the hands of the police and is bad for this. This shows how Kid feels for the death of Iggy. He also, in the same dream, sees We've as a temptress getting Adam in trouble. Kid appears to feel he had been tempted and is a victim for his crime. I think this gives us a view into his psychology.

A few people have stated he has not made the best choices. I don't see anyone adult figure as having shown him how to make good and healthy decisions. His own mother had sex with several men in front of him. Most of his home life seems to have revolved around sex, whether his use of porn or his mother's sexual encounters.

You've raised a good point here. I think the Adam thing is about 'original sin' as well as temptation. Perhaps Banks is hinting that the Kid sees himself as 'fallen' and potentially irredeemable, or that society has judged him that way? Of course, this puts society in the shoes of God. Secondly, the 'temptation' point gives him a way of dodging responsibility, essentially by blaming someone else. The incident with the two young roller-blading girls had this same sense of temptation around it, with the hint that if something happened perhaps the girls would be to blame?

As to your comment about the extreme prevalence of sex in the Kid's early life, both the porn and his mother's sexual behavior including her virtual endorsement of his looking at porn, the message is all about sex for its own sake, as an end in itself.



Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:17 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
realiz wrote:
We are beginning to see more indications of the crime committed by the Kid. First, his dismissal from the army for distributing porn. As a boy growing up, the Kid was exposed to promiscuous behavior by his mother as well as unlimited access to the internet and explicit porn. He was also a loner and school and his intelligence level is not that high. It is no wonder that he had no realization about the hypocrisy of the society where explicit sex was readily available to him but somehow he was supposed to know not to be tempted. His reading of the story of Adam and Eve fits in well with this.


Yes the story of Adam and Eve does fit in well. He has had no guidance from his mom regarding acceptable sexual behavior. It appears she will bang anything that comes along and he doesn't know any different.

Oh nooooo....I am already starting to feel sorry for the Kid.



Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:10 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
realiz wrote:
Here are some examples of how different the laws can be:

Here is California: A Person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under age 18 and the actor is not more than three years older or three years younger, is guilty of a misdemeanor

Anyone who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under age 18 who is more than three years younger than the actor is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony

Any person 21 years of age or older who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 16 years of age is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony

Here is Deleware:
Fourth-degree rape to have sexual intercourse with (1) someone under age 16 or (2) someone under age 18 and the actor is at least 30 years older.

Third-degree rape to have sexual intercourse with a (1) victim under age 16 if the actor is at least 10 years older or (2) victim under age 14 if the actor is age 19 or older.

Second-degree rape to sexually penetrate a person under age 12 if the actor is 18 or older.

First-degree rape to have sexual intercourse with a person under age 12 if the actor is age 18 or older.


Wow. Talk about rules eh?

I have a brother who is 10 years older then his wife. He started going out with my best friend when we were 14, he was 24. They got married when she was 16 he was 26. They are still together after 30 years. He didn't have ADD nor was he border line retarded.

Thanks Realiz for looking that up.



Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:20 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
giselle wrote:
A couple people have mentioned that the Kid may not be too intelligent. I don't see him this way. I think his horrible familiy life and upbringing, if it could be called that, ruined his chances of a meaningful education, so this may handicap him, but in his conversations with people I see some intelligent insight. Also, his lack of maturity and social development generally may cause him to make bad decisions or to say things that are inappropriate but I don't take this as a reflection on his intelligence.



I agree with you. He has made bad decisions alright. Loosing his job because of his mouth. But I did think that was kinda funny. The Kid didn't know his boss's wife was from Nicaragua, otherwise he wouldn't of said that he thought everyone from Nicaragua was a soccer player or a hooker.

That boss had no sense of humour.



Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:31 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
smileyface123123 wrote:
He parallels his temptations with Adam's temptations to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The Professor comes to him and Kid agrees to answer some of his questions.


Yes and the Kid really gets interested in the Bible story when the serpent gets involved. He can relate with Adam and Eve being tempted by the snake. He knows how they feel. He even wants to warn them to not listen to the snake. He knows how they feel because he has been there.



Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:42 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 8-10
Tigerlily22 wrote:
It seems that Banks is definitely encouraging a sympathy of Kid whereas most people may automatically equate sex offenders with evil. It is often not thought about that there may be factors at play that influence people's unacceptable behaviors. This is something Banks confronts us with.


And he is doing a mighty fine job to.



Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:45 am
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