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Murdering Heroism The Advent of Immoral Heroes In Graphic Novels (the EssayMurdering Her

l. If Childress did not structure the plot in this way, the reader might be tempted to dismiss Benjie as merely a thief and an addict. As the author suggests, however, Benjie's situation is quite complicated. While he is, admittedly, a drug user, he also has a number f admirable qualities that make him a likable character. (Koppleman 20-25)In the second monologue, Butler Craig indicates that Benjie's use f drugs is more extensive than Benjie has indicated. Butler mentions that Benjie is now "into stealin" and has sold items belonging to his own family in order to support his habit. Though Butler does not condone Benjie's behavior, he does express genuine affection for the boy. One by one, all the characters interpret Benjie's problem in terms f their own relationship to him. Jimmy-Lee Powell reflects upon the close friendship that he and Benjie once had; he regrets that Benjie's use f heroin has caused a gulf to form between them. Benjie's grandmother feels that the use f drugs can only be cured through prayer and intense religious faith. Nigeria Greene, one f Benjie's teachers, sees addiction as resulting from the oppression imposed by whites upon all African Americans. Benjie's mother is saddened by her son's inability to speak openly about his problem; at the same time, she reveals her own inability to convey her true feelings to Benjie. (Killens 20-21)All the characters grasp some part f Benjie's situation, but none f them sees it in its entirety. Childress wants the reader to understand that many factors have caused Benjie to experiment with drugs. While he cannot solve his problems until he admits his own responsibility, the poverty and violence f his neighborhood have also been a major factor in making drugs available to him. When Benjie arrives at school one day obviously under the influence f drugs, Nigeria Greene and Bernard Cohen set aside their personal differences in order to help the boy. They take Benjie to the principal f the school and arrange for Benjie to enter a drug-treatment program. This quick action brings about a temporary improvement in Benjie's situation. Nevertheless, Benjie still finds it difficult to accept Butler as a replacement for his natural father. He regards Butler as a failure and treats him with contempt. The two f them quarrel, and Benjie again begins to think about buying heroin. Finding no money in the house, he pawns Butler's only overcoat and suit. This theft proves to be the last straw for Butler. He leaves Rose and moves into a different apartment in the same building. This decision deprives Benjie f one f the few male role models from whom he could

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