Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

April 7, 2009
By Carter Danko BRONZE, Canfield, Ohio
Carter Danko BRONZE, Canfield, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 0 comments


The book Lullaby is a very interesting one. This piece of literature tells the story of a man who finds out that there is magic is saying a poem or lullaby. However, this lullaby a “culling song,” used to ease the death of dying people in foreign countries. Carl Streator, a newspaper reporter, finds a certain coincidence and power to this poem though. The book Lullaby goes through the events that follow and some of the most shocking and surprising reading in a book.

The plot in this book is like none other, the first chapter was boring but after that, it started to become more and more interesting. Plot in this book really focuses around the main character, Carl Streator, who is a newspaper reporter and is trained to pick up the most details possible. Carl once had a son and wife but had died shortly after reading the “culling song” to them. This is a chant used in Africa to ease the pain of death. While investigating crime scenes where there had been an infant death, Carl notices something odd. Every household has the same book and the same chant in it, the culling song. After memorizing this chant it becomes very powerful to Carl, as he is under a little stress, too powerful at points when things start to happen which he did not intend to happen. For instance when he memorizes the lullaby, he does not even have to say it and bad things occur. When someone dies because the person elbowed their way into the elevator, he thought of the chant and ended up killing the person. The person he turns to is Helen Hoover Boyle, a real-estate agent. With the help of two other friends, they attempt to go cross country and destroy every page of every book that has the culling song written in it.

There is more plot detail in the book and very exciting, and yet calm. It was very interesting in a way most people do not expect to find. It was surprising, but yet the reader will always have a sense of what will happen next, except for a few parts of the novel. Parts of the book were hard to understand and comprehend, but in the end it was a good story and written by a great author.

There are four characters in this book, but really only focuses on one. The four main characters are Carl Streator, Helen Hoover Boyle, her assistant Mona Sabbat and her boyfriend Oyster. Carl Streator is the main protagonist without a doubt in this book. Lullaby is centered on his past and then works its way forward. At points in the book it was a little hard to believe that this could actually happen to such a man like Carl. It was interesting though to follow his past and where he came from and why this story about such a simple culling song, had so much to do with Carl's past.

There is not one certain theme in a book like this with so many different characters and changes in the plot. At first glance, it looks like a novel about recollection and love loss and growth of a human being, but at second glance, the theme can change drastically. The culling song is both innocent and harmful, the author also talks about how man is getting to be relied on media and their viewpoints. Chuck Palahniuk also suggests that maybe the world is addicted to its own destruction and always wants more attention. Either way someone may look at it, this novel can have two completely different themes depending on how one looks at it.

The setting of the novel is constantly changing, mostly because the story is told from past to present tense. In the beginning Carl's apartment neighbors are symbols of the types of people he hates in the world, but then after meeting Helen and starting their cross-country road trip, the setting always changes. Even though the physical settings always change, the mental and symbolic changes stay the same as they move from small town to small town, it shows what the culling song really means.

The style of Chuck Palahniuk is very unique he uses many rhyme schemes and repeats the same things over and over. He also writes in a style that some people may find rather rude. For instance, he uses writing styles to almost make fun of the world today for always wanting more attention, or self destructing itself. He makes fun of people being alcoholics or anything that ends with –olics. Chuck believes that anyone who calls themselves one of these is not only self-destructing, but also craving attention from the people around them.

In this book is not only relevant to today's world, but can also relate to the past. With this story's plot, characters, and the author's style of writing, this book is a good read for anyone especially for someone who can agree with the author's philosophies and really understand the bigger picture in the book.

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