This is an 11th or 12th grade text, not for its difficulty--it's in fact a very easy read--but for its subject matter. Child of God is a sparse, beautifully written novel, but it is also quite brutal.
Throughout the reading students struggle to determine how Ballard can be, as the novel tells us, "...a child of God much like yourself perhaps"(4), yet they are continually asked to view Ballard in just that context, and their final essay asks that they take up McCarthy's challenge and defend him, in spite of evidence that speaks loudly to the contrary, as a child of God. If they cannot, students must then oppositely show Ballard to be a symbol of evil.
Critical Essay: "The Cave of Oblivion," by Dianne C. Luce.
Essay: Lester Ballard, Child of God?
Silence of the Lambs, Dir. Jonathan Demme.
Child of God is a four-week, day-to-day lesson plan. Note: bolded headings in the plan are transitional points within the class period. All homework/handouts are copy-ready (see Blood Meridian preview and description for an example).