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Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7 
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Post Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
LOST MEMORY OF SKIN

Russell Banks

Part one, chapters; five, six and seven



Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:40 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
I'm curious whether people see the Kid as more victim than perpetrator or the reverse? Some details of his young life are revealed in these chapters and, given these, I think its possible to see him as a 'victim' of a terrible home/family situation, no friends except an iguana, lonely etc. yet we know he becomes a perpetrator .. maybe becoming a perpetrator (eg: offender) make him less of a victim in our minds? Or maybe he is not a victim at all but rather a young pervert who made deliberate choices and hurt others, became a convicted offender and we should not feel sorry for him or be concerned with his victimization. Given the content of the first 8 chapters, I could make an argument for either interpretation, but I wonder what others think.



Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:02 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
At this point in the book, I feel Kid is not a pervert. I feel that whatever he did was not so bad. I feel sorry for him because he had such a rough life.

[Reveal] Spoiler:

In these chapters he is faced with his world being turned upside down. He lost his home and any stability he had obtained. He has seemed to accept his life the way it is, but he shows a moment of hope for change when he calls the real estate agent. It is just a tiny sliver of hope that dies as soon as he gets off the phone.

He is accosted by two young teenage girls who he is attracted to. This may be a symbol of what his offense was. He gets away from them, but finds out he was being watched which brings out his guilt.



Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:38 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
I think we are seeing the Kid as more a victim so far as even though we know he was convicted of a sexual crime, we do not know what it was yet. I also believe that a good percentage of perpetrators of sexual crimes were themselves victims of neglect or abuse. As for being a pervert, or having perverted desires society changes its mind all the time about what that means. A homosexual was, and still is in some cases, thought of as a pervert.

So, far we have seen (I am only up to chapter six at this moment) that the Kid spend most of his time alone and much of it on the internet. He spent time looking at internet porn. He was missing good role models in his life and could have easily been misled about what acceptable sexual conduct was. I guess I'll have to read on to find out more.



Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:01 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
I agree, in the early chapters Kid seems to be a victim and someone who is on the outer edges of society. He really doesn't seem to function with any knowledge of how social and political situations work. His family life is pretty non-existent and he doesn't really socialize with peers. He seems to be emotionally and socially handicapped, and may also have learning disabilities.



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Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:05 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
realiz wrote:
As for being a pervert, or having perverted desires society changes its mind all the time about what that means. A homosexual was, and still is in some cases, thought of as a pervert.

I think this is true, the definition of a 'pervert' changes and I think justification and rationality have little to do with how it is defined or how that definition might change ... I think the definition falls into an irrational arena and the one constant there is 'fear'. The raid on the sex offenders encampment and the presence of the media was all about fear in my view ... a fearful population who wanted to see them busted and the camp broken up, possible a 'revenge' element too, a way to strike at a group they do not like. This is completely irrational from the point of view of managing the risk of further offense because the effect would be to scatter the offenders and, although some might spend a short time in jail, they will be back out and then they'll be living all over the place in unknown locations, which might increase the risk.



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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
What are your thoughts on the Professor? He seems to have some secrets of his own and I'm wondering if his motives should be questioned.



Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:42 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
I think the professor sees Kid as an object, instead of a person. He looks at him as if he were a bug under glass. The professor appears to care what happens to Kid, but I think it is for his own selfish reasons.



Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:44 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
smileyface123123 wrote:
I think the professor sees Kid as an object, instead of a person. He looks at him as if he were a bug under glass. The professor appears to care what happens to Kid, but I think it is for his own selfish reasons.


I agree and I'm also wondering if we're going to find out something more about the Prof. The Prof. won't even tell his wife about his past. Do you think that Banks is showing us that everyone has something to hide?



Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:55 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
smileyface123123 wrote:
I think the professor sees Kid as an object, instead of a person. He looks at him as if he were a bug under glass. The professor appears to care what happens to Kid, but I think it is for his own selfish reasons.

I made a comment on this but moved it to the Part II, chapter 1-4 thread.



Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:34 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
I'm hoping I'm going to find out that he is NOT really a pervert - that he is innocent, a victim of justice himself. But something tells me it will not be so.

The thing is, there's an old saying - every child over the age of seven knows the difference between right and wrong and he obviously paid no attention to the difference.

His mother? Sounds like she's something of a misguided child herself.

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

About the two young teenage girls - I don't suppose anyone's going to agree with me on this, but I think there should be some law preventing women, young and old, from flaunting their bodies in public. They're just asking for trouble.

Seems these two girls are deliberately throwing themselves at the kid.

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

Society tends to expect a sex offender to get outta town after prison time. Yet the sex offender cannot do so - 'specially on parole.

I don't think parole should be given - it is impossible for the offender to live without harassment. The offender cannot just leave town, shed his skin and turn over a new leaf.

I once did a short course on penology - where there was some idealism about building communities instead of prisons - where offenders can live thereafter. I wonder if that's ever going to be considered. Expensive idea, but might be better than releasing offenders to the public where they get into more trouble.

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

Society seems to encourage the TV reporters to follow these people around upon their release from prison - I wonder why they don't do the same with such offenders as

l) drunk drivers who have killed;

2)wife/child beaters.

To my way of thinking, these are just as bad as sex offenders.

And again, I think women and young girls who flaunt themselves by appearing on the streets half naked are just as guilty as the sex offenders.

I really don't see the two young girls on roller blades, skirting around this guy as being sweet young things - I think of them as being brazen hussies in the making.

(Sorry - guess I've got prudish streak)



Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:45 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
The kid has now lost his only friend in Iggy and has lost his consistent human contact of the other encampment members. He has looked for housing before as we can see by his awareness of being rejected due to his charge and the apartment being within range of so many places where there are children. He has lost his stable living situation as well as his "friends". It will be interesting to see where kid ends up and if he reaches out to anyone for friendship or if he can even find Iggy again.

As for now knowing his age and race, which I had previously mentioned, I feel like his race no longer matters now that the character feels well established. I feel like his age however shows where he may be coming from. With the poor child rearing done by his mother, as well as his relatively young age, it may be worth thinking about his age and upbringing as factors in his having committed a sexually based offense. He mentioned himself in the beginning of ch. 5 that he is a "fake man". Does he feel defective only as a man or does he feel defective as a person as well? It will be interesting to see if this is discussed.



Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:37 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
giselle wrote:
Or maybe he is not a victim at all but rather a young pervert who made deliberate choices and hurt others, became a convicted offender and we should not feel sorry for him or be concerned with his victimization. Given the content of the first 8 chapters, I could make an argument for either interpretation, but I wonder what others think.


I think either arguement could be made and I think either may be partially correct. This person has seen his mother in casual sexual relationships pretty regularly. His mother seems to have ignored his incessant porn consumption and he has had no significant relationships with either children his own age or male, or even female, adult role models. He does not appear to have much on which to base an I appropriate social life on.

However, he also seems to be repulsed by other sex offenders and certain sexual thoughts that come up for him. He chose to act on a thought that he had. If he knowingly committed this act realizing the inappropriateness of his actions, then he is much less the victim.



Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:48 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
Tigerlily22 wrote:
I think either argument could be made and I think either may be partially correct.

My impression of Banks' book is that he wants us to be in the dark about the 'crimes' the Kid is guilty of for a significant portion of the book. I think he wants us to ponder deeper questions, both individual and societal, that arise when someone is convicted of a sex offence and then ostracized and penalized for many years, for life really, because the offender will always be on the sex offender registry ... the Kid did some time in jail but he is really doing 'life' .. is this fair? just? even reasonable? Well, maybe fairness depends on what he did ... but generally we reserve life sentences for only the most heinous crimes. Some might argue that society is just being cautious by imposing this sort of sentence to protect future victims, but again Banks story structure (unless you skip ahead) doesn't allow us the luxury of knowing the facts, so we tend to fill in assumptions about the facts, at least, that's what I've done when reading this. And assumptions (including mine) are sometimes wrong. Perhaps Banks is testing us, getting us to explore the way in which we make assumptions or stereotype people when we lack the facts and that this can be quite destructive?



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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 1, chapters; 5-7
I again agree with you Giselle. There are several reasons why someone may be on the registry and are we right in assuming that all of these people are somehow "less than" or acting "more heinous than" someone else just because they happen to be on this list where we think there must be something wrong with them or they are perverted or choose to be evil. We see in Kid's life that there are circumstances that happen to him that are detrimental to his persona and we don't often think shot this when we think of someone who commits a crime. When is someone "evil"and when are they a victim of their circumstances? Does Kid have the ability to have made a different choice?



Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:04 pm
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